Combating Harmful Lifestyle Effects on the Skin

PART I
 It’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle is essential to feeling and looking good. Diet, exercise and stress management are essential considerations for whole-body wellness.  Unfortunately, in a fast-paced culture that consists of multitasking at lightning speed, people often neglect their health by making poor lifestyle choices. The skin is the largest organ of the body and yet often the most neglected.

Everyone wants beautiful skin, but those who suffer from imperfections often focus solely on quick fixes before considering the internal and external factors and long-term commitments to improve the skin’s appearance.  Skin is an organ of the body, and is effected, both inside and out, by what is put into the body.

The American diet is full of simple sugars, carbohydrates, and “bad fats,” including saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in whole milk, cheese, red meats, poultry skin, and even in some plant foods, such as palm and coconut oils. Trans fats are man-made; created to allow liquid fat to solidify and last longer before spoiling to increase the stability and shelf life of snack foods. They are most commonly seen in processed foods, listed on labels as hydrogenated oils. Most fried foods and processed meats, chips, and margarine contain high levels of these trans fats and are associated with triggering inflammation. Inflammation is a major culprit in cancer, aging, poor skin health, and disease.

The intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates also should be limited in order to avoid negative effects on the skin’s appearance. Soda, white bread, and candy raise blood sugar levels rapidly, which leads to inflammation and, eventually, cellular injury. Excess sugar consumption is speculated to cause glycation, which is the result of sugars attacking the body’s cells and attaching to proteins. Glycation may result in sallow, dull and eventually sagging skin. Collagen and elastin are proteins responsible for keeping the skin plump and youthful.

Stress has been shown to have many adverse reactions in the body. Besides anxiety, depression, and illness, stress can have harmful effects on the skin. Existing skin conditions, including psoriasis and rosacea, can be aggravated from an increase in stress. However, the most common visible presentation of stress is an acne breakout. Stress can increase sebum production through hormone responses and cause inflammation; two of the main factors that lead to acne.

Receiving a facial once a month with your skin care therapist will stimulate collagen and elastin, improve skin texture, help eliminate toxins, improve circulation, and help to relieve stress and tension resulting in a smoother, healthier-looking complexion.

Check out Part II: Do! next Thursday.

By: Wendy Schemper
Sources: Skin Inc., Self Magazine, Discovery Health, Real Age