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Are Your Habits Making Your Skin Unhappy?

Are Your Habits Making Your Skin Unhappy?

As the largest organ in your body, your skin performs highly important roles for you like body thermoregulation and prevention of fluid loss. It protects you from the harmful effects of the sun's radiation and keeps you safe from harmful toxins. It's your first line of defense.

Your skin takes care of you.

If you're not happy with how your skin is behaving, it may be time for you to change your habits.

The way you take care of the rest of your body (or don't) has a huge impact on the health of your skin. What's going on in your life and the state of your health are all reflected in the mirror. Your habits, whether good or bad, will tell all. According to Kimberly Snyder, author of The Beauty Detox Solution, your skin "functions like a mirror of what is going on inside the body." If you're dehydrated, never exercise, and rob your body of essential vitamins and nutrients, your skin is one of the first places the effects will show up.

Are Your Habits Making Your Skin Unhappy?

Habit 1: Eating An Unhealthy Diet

Just like the rest of your body, your skin requires good nutritional support in order to function at its peak. According to Elizabeth Lipski, the author of Digestive Wellness, good digestion is directly related to healthy skin. On top of that, certain foods are associated with skin damage. Research is suggesting that a diet high in processed sugars and other carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promotes skin aging.

When we don't eat well, it shows up in our skin. Snyder advises, "When our skin has to pour out so many toxins that it erupts into acne, that is a red flag." Certain foods can damage the skin by causing breakouts, inflammation, or redness. Sugary foods trigger a surge of insulin, which can contribute to inflammation. Digested sugar attaches to collagen in skin, contributing to aging, acne, and other problems like rosacea. Processed fats and oils (corn, vegetable, canola) can cause inflammation which generates enzymes that damage the collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles and other problems.

Change your habits!
Change your eating habits! Follow a skin-healthy diet that is rich in a variety of antioxidant-providing foods and pre- and probiotics. Avoid foods that are up there on the glycemic index charts like sugars.

Are Your Habits Making Your Skin Unhappy?

Habit 2: Being a Night Owl

During sleep, your body goes into repair and replenish mode, regenerating skin, muscles, blood and brain cells. It also produces new collagen. People categorized as poor sleepers had increased signs of premature skin aging and a decreased ability for their skin to repair itself at night from things like sun exposure. Even worse, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a negative impact on skin function and aging.

Change your habits!
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep seven to nine hours every day (seven to eight if they're over 65). If you're having trouble falling asleep, try to incorporate relaxation techniques before bed time and settle on a bedtime routine so that your body gets into the habit of winding down and relaxing. Put away your phone and ipad before crawling into bed, as they've been linked with keeping your brain active and interfering with the sleep/wake cycle.

Habit 3: Not Drinking Well

Brittle, parched skin can be a sign of dehydration or other serious health concerns.

Many people do not drink enough water through the day (no, your diet soda doesn't count!) to stay properly hydrated. This can have a negative impact on many of your body's functions from your kidneys to your skin.

Change your habits!
This one is easy. Just drink more water and less of the other stuff that contains unhealthy ingredients. Plain water, either warm or cold. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that women get about nine cups of water per day. That's 2.7 liters! Moisture intake from fruits, vegetables, and soups does count.

Habit 4: Soaking Up Too Much Sun

Most wrinkles are the result of aging, but premature wrinkles can be a tattle-tale that you've spent too much unprotected time in the sun, which will speed up the aging process by damaging skin cells.

Change your habits!
This may sound painful, but limit your time in the sun to hours that fall when the sun is not at its peak. Stay in the shade between 10am and 4pm when possible. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, even in the winter or on rainy days since those damaging UV rays can still get through. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.

Are Your Habits Making Your Skin Unhappy?

Habit 5: Dealing With Too Much Stress

This may be a hard pill to swallow. According to Harvard Medical School psychologist Dr. Grossbart, as many as 60% of people who seek a doctor's help for skin problems have significant stress in their lives. Things like acne, alopecia, rosacea, hives, profuse sweating, eczema, dermatitis, and other itchy conditions can have a physiological basis that is worsened by stress and emotions. If you're suffering from any of these conditions, you may want to take a closer look at your mental state.

Change your habits!
Could there be some stress or worry that you can remove from your life? Take a step back and work on some strategies that can help you declutter your brain or try some stress-relieving activities like meditation or tai chi. Getting plenty of exercise is not only healthy for your skin, but it's a great stress-reliever.

You'd be surprised just how much your daily habits affect your body as a whole, and your skin in particular! Tweaking some of those things even just a little bit could have a great positive impact on your skin.

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