We tend to look at skin like a roulette, writing blemishes off to genetics and skin types, but there’s a lot more that goes into determining the condition of your skin than just family history. Your skin condition is a result of nurture, as well as nature. Here are a few of the most important lifestyle factors that can affect the condition of your skin.
For most of us, living in a busy metropolitan setting is synonymous with elevated Air Quality Index (AQI) levels. Whether it’s the constant emission of carbon monoxide and sulfur compounds from industrial zones or the benzene and exhaust fumes from cars, polluted environments have a way of getting into your skin.
Elevated AQI is a result of the high concentration of microscopic particles left in the air by pollutants. These particles are much smaller than our pores, which makes it easy for them to get in and wreak havoc. You might not even notice the effects these particles have on your skin due to how ingrained the effects have become in our lifestyles. Rashes, inflammation, and general blemishes can all be caused by pollutants.
The bulk of the damage is done by free radical particles that are created by a variety of polluting compounds. Part of the solution is to protect yourself with antioxidant-rich foods and vitamin C treatments.
Diet plays a much bigger role in determining your skin condition than just protecting you from free radical damage. Processed food, such as refined sugar, damages your skin in multiple different ways. For example, sugar has been known to accelerate acne by altering hormonal balances and promoting inflammation.
Switching to natural foods is one of the best changes you can make to your lifestyle for your skin. This will allow your blood sugar levels to slowly normalize and also lower the concentration of insulin in your body. All that said, even natural products, like dairy, can be harmful to certain skin types, as it can cause acne through hormonal interaction. The golden rule is, as always, to consume in moderation.
An imbalanced diet and exposure to constant pollution might be some of the biggest factors for unhealthy skin, but your exercise regime (or lack thereof) could be the final nail in the coffin.
Regular exercise holds the key to reversing a significant amount of skin damage. For starters, even light exercise has the potential to boost the overall blood flow in your body. This increase in blood flow, in turn, will allow oxygen to better circulate throughout your body and nourish skin cells. The circulation will also make sure that essential nutrients get where they need to go while also flushing out toxins from your bloodstream at a faster rate.
An underappreciated benefit of exercise is the impact it can have on your mental health. Stress affects us in ways we might not even realize during our hectic lifestyles, such as through aggravated inflammation and constant breakouts. Regular exercise is an efficient stress-buster here; it’ll dampen the effect of stress, not just on your skin, but also on hair and your overall mental health. This is particularly important for those suffering from chronic conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.
Keeping up with your skincare routine is what ties everything together. From using tinted sunscreen to protect yourself from sun damage for even-looking skin to using gentle exfoliators to unclog your pores after exercise, your approach to skincare massively affects the condition of your skin.
Better Skin Starts With You
Whether it’s deciding to skip out on facewash for a week or binging on a box of Pop-Tarts, nearly every lifestyle decision you take will affect your skin. Start out by consciously making small improvements, and you’re bound to see an improvement in no time.