When we see beautiful, healthy skin it’s easy to chalk it up to genetics – “oh she just has good genes!” That might be true. Genetics are responsible for the intrinsic or naturally occurring parts of skin health and aging like thickness and color of the skin, predisposition for skin conditions and to some extent, how well we do as we age. But there’s good news. It is well accepted now that up to 80% of factors (yes, I said 80%) responsible for the condition of our skin and how well we age is extrinsic or external! That means they are considered preventable, in our control and a direct result of our lifestyle. THAT’S GOOD NEWS! Even if you do have a genetic predisposition to a certain condition, you can make some positive changes in a few key areas that have an amazing impact on skin health.
- Control your UV Exposure. This is a biggie. Long-term sun exposure leads to inflammation in the skin, period. Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and aging have at their core inflammation. While smaller amounts of natural sunlight are helpful and necessary, long-term it is damaging. The basic rule here is to avoid prolonged exposure during peak hours (10am to 4pm) and when you do go out, wear a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) coverage with an SPF of at least 30. A physical/mineral ingredient like zinc works well. Managing UV exposure helps to keep skin young and healthy.
- Control your diet. What you eat does matter with skin health. We gave some good general tips last week – check it out! I’ll leave it with this: Feed yourself and your skin well rather than just grazing at random. Your body and skin will start showing you gratitude.
- Control your lifestyle. Besides UV exposure, smoking is the biggest extrinsic factor in skin health. It dramatically effects wound healing as well as accelerates aging. Drinking in moderation is imperative in avoiding dehydration, interrupted sleep and everything else that comes along with too much imbibing. Sleep – need I say more?? This elusive activity is vital to good skin. You may think there’s not a lot going on while you’re sleeping, but it would take a year of blog posts to describe the cleanup, clean out, repair and rebuild that is happening while we sleep – its amazing! If you’re not getting enough sleep, take a look at these tips for great sleep so you can start enjoying all the benefits of good sleep. Exercise is necessary for glowing skin too. Its benefits include increased blood flow/oxygenation, better wound healing and increased lymphatic movement, which also helps to carry wastes from the skin and supporting tissues.
While it’s easy to blame genetics for how we look, you can see that there is a lot we can control. Try changing just one thing this month. Old habits might die hard, but when you’re ready to make changes, you’ll be pleased with the outcome – especially when you look in the mirror!