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5 Surprising Factors That Could Be Affecting Your Skin Health

written by Skye Sherman - Sep 24, 2018

The importance of taking good care of your skin cannot be overstated. After all, it’s the largest organ of your entire body! Though your skin is constantly renewing itself, at the end of the day, you only get one set of skin. It’s important to care for it as if it will be with you for a lifetime -- because in many ways, it will be!

In addition, your skin is a large part of the first impression that you make on people. It’s a major part of your visual appearance, and having unnecessarily unhealthy skin can send off a bad impression that could reflect negatively on the way that others perceive your levels of self esteem, hygiene practices, and general capability in life.

In other words, taking care of your skin and making sure it is well nourished and well cared for should be a priority in your life. Unfortunately, at times we face skin issues and we may not understand their cause or origin. Suffering from skin conditions or poor skin health can be both unsightly and uncomfortable. You can avoid this in most cases by cleaning your skin daily, using skin medications when needed, exfoliating weekly, moisturizing every day, and using sun protection, but sometimes, even these preventative steps are not enough. (Of course, it goes without saying that you should also avoid contact with substances that are acutely harmful to your skin, like poisonous plants, fire, etc.)

But if you have a balanced skin care routine and still suffer from poor skin health, what can you do? There may be other unexpected or unseen circumstances at play. In this article, we’ll discuss five surprising things that could be affecting the health of your skin. Read on to learn more about potential threats to your skin health and what you can do about them.

1. Diet: pizza, sugar, and dairy, oh my!

It’s no surprise that your diet affects your skin. This is not groundbreaking news; people have known for generations that eating healthy with fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water does great things for your skin. (Drink a big glass of fresh lemon water every morning and see how you feel!)

But what everyday food items are you eating that may be causing breakouts or ongoing acne?

For a time, people suspected that pizza could be part of the problem. This greasy, cheesy delight is not a healthy choice by any stretch of the imagination, but it sure does taste good! It probably doesn’t help your skin in any significant way, but in recent years, we’ve discovered that it’s not as bad for your skin as once thought. Instead, it’s now believed that a major ingredient in processed foods is primarily to blame: sugar.

According to Rajani Katta, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Texas at Houston, “Multiple studies have now found that diets with a high glycemic load can trigger acne in certain persons.” Anne Chapas, the founder of a dermatology practice, agrees: “The spikes in blood sugar which arise from eating high-glycemic foods causes oil production, which in turn causes acne. We know that those cause a harmful hormonal environment.”

So, perhaps it is the blood sugar spike that comes from eating certain fatty, starchy, or sugary food that’s causing an increase in skin breakouts and other unhealthy conditions. Many people are also reporting increased skin health by going dairy free. There is a limited body of evidence linking dairy consumption to breakouts and poor skin health as of yet, but the anecdotal evidence is convincing. Dairy products include a wide range of common foods, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, whey, lactose, and more, so it can be hard to avoid.

According to an article published in BioEffect, “While drinking milk has evident health benefits—from helping you reach your daily intake of calcium to replenishing your body after a workout—there’s more to dairy’s impact than you might think. Dr. Firas Al-Niaimi, consultant dermatologist at Sk:n, told the Huffington Post UK: ‘It is generally largely known that in a subset of patients, a dairy-free diet certainly improves their skin and in particular skin’s appearance.’”

If you’re struggling with achieving healthy skin, try talking to a dermatologist about how you may be able to alter your diet to see improvement.

Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

2. Where you live and work

Believe it or not, where you live may playing a big part in your skin issues. Environmental factors can cause a variety of skin issues but may not expressly present themselves as the culprit.

Things like air pollution and major environmental events like wildfires, volcanos, and more can all play a part in the health of your skin. This makes sense when you think about it -- pollutants in the air coming in contact with your delicate skin would make for a perfect storm -- but it’s not usually something that people consider first when they’re trying to figure out what’s causing their skin problems. The outside world may play just as much of a part in your skin health as how you are treating your skin and body internally through things like diet and stress.

According to Bustle, “Recent studies have shown that chronic high exposure to air pollutants have been associated with premature skin aging and inflammatory or allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and acne… If you live in an area with a higher concentration of air pollutants, try to limit your exposure and select skincare with antioxidant properties to help fight free radicals.”

In fact, did you know that air pollution has recently been

linked to diabetes, another major health condition that can affect the health of your skin? The pollution emitted from cars, trucks, and exhaust may be actually producing diabetic reactions in people. This is because tiny pollutant particles in the air contain toxic metals, which upon entering the bloodstream, can travel to different organs and cause inflammation. This inflammation can increase insulin resistance, eventually resulting in full-blown diabetes.

In addition, your skin could be unhealthy because you’re spending too much time indoors at work! Yes, believe it or not, hanging around too long in treated indoor air can be wreaking havoc on your skin. Air conditioned air -- whether it’s indoor heating during the winter or cooled air during the summer time -- can dehydrate your skin, leaving it dry and irritated. This is also why many people break out after taking a trip on an airplane. The dry, recirculated air could be causing your skin to lack moisture and react by overproducing oils to compensate.

With the recent wildfires in California, Colorado, and Hawaii, many people are realizing just what environmental factors can do to the health of your skin. This huge increase in air irritants and pollutants through the release of smoke, ash, and debris is a nightmare for the skin. It’s best to avoid these areas altogether, especially if you have sensitive skin, because it’s very difficult to prevent the damage caused by these natural disasters, and they are sure to affect other elements of your health as well, such as your lungs, eyes, and more.

Volcanoes have the same effect. When they erupt, they release clouds of ash and debris into the air that can affect people for hundreds of miles around. People in neighboring or even faraway countries could be affected by the volcanos or fires happening miles and miles away, without even realizing the part that these negative environmental factors are playing in their poor skin health.

Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

3. Sleeping?!

Yes, believe it or not, your sleep habits -- or lack thereof -- could be the root of your poor skin health.

For one, not getting enough sleep can be a major cause of skin issues. Not having a balanced sleep schedule or not getting enough sleep can both lead to chemical imbalances, hormonal changes, and worse. All of these combine to cause some serious stress to your skin. Skimping on sleep or not following a healthy sleep pattern can disrupt your skin’s pursuit of equilibrium, causing it to look dull and drab or leading to stress and exhaustion that result in pimples galore.

In addition, poor hygiene habits like not changing your sheets, linens and pillowcases often enough -- as well as going to bed with your makeup on -- can lead to buildup of bacteria on your skin and cause irritation, clogged pores, breakouts, and more.

To achieve healthy skin, it’s best to change your linens regularly. Some even recommend changing your pillowcase every one to two nights, and you should never go to sleep with makeup on. Get into a healthy skin care routine by cleansing and moisturizing your face before bed, then make sure you crawl into bed and lay your head on clean, fresh sheets for optimal skin health.

Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

4. Age

-- even if you’re young

Sure, it’s common knowledge that skin is often one of the first things to show your age as you progress in years. People who are growing older know the effects of age on skin health, and often blame their increasing years for their decreasing elasticity and the overall decline in their skin’s appearance.

But people who are young do not often consider age to be a factor in their poor skin health. However, as surprising as it may seem, people as young as 20 may be seeing a decline in their skin health due to the effects of age.

According to SkinPen, the aging of the skin can happen at surprisingly young ages.

“As you age, your skin undergoes several natural, intrinsic changes, including:

● Decreased collagen and elastin, leading to fine lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity

● Skin becomes thinner and more fragile

● Reduced oil gland activity, which impairs the skin’s ability to stay moisturized, leading to dry skin

Though you can’t reverse all these age-related skin changes, you can slow the aging process by taking good care of your skin. … Though 20-something skin is plump, your skin is already starting to age. Beginning at age 20, your skin produces about 1 percent less collagen each year. In your mid-20s, your skin starts to turn over more slowly, meaning that dead skin cells build up and your skin becomes more prone to discoloration and loses its elasticity and glow. By your late 20s, you may already begin to see fine lines.”

Popular anti-aging products like Retin A may help with age’s effects on skin health. Practicing safe sun habits is also essential for the health and durability of your skin; allowing your skin to get sunburned or spending too much time in the sun can cause premature wrinkling and harm to your skin’s overall texture, tone, and appearance.

Though you can’t prevent growing older -- and you wouldn’t want to! -- it’s important to continue proactive skin health habits as you progress in years if you want to keep your skin as healthy, supple, and fresh as it can be.

Photo Credit: by @CPOHealth
Photo Credit: by @CPOHealth

5. Your cell phone

Spend a lot of time on the phone? This may be leading to a decline in your skin’s health.

Think about it: your phone hardly ever gets cleaned. As you go through life -- whether you’re commuting, walking outside, using public toilets, or just going about your routine -- the daily wear and tear your phone endures builds up quite a bit of dirt, debris, bacteria, and more on the screen and earpiece of your phone.

Now think about what you do with that same dirty phone… You press it to your face all day long, sometimes for hours at a time! Is it any wonder that your skin is suffering? Holding this hot, metal device covered in bacteria onto your delicate and fragile skin is bound to lead to some breakouts. If your skin irritation is taking place in areas where your phone typically touches when you use it, then there’s little doubt that your cell phone may be at the root of your poor skin health.

Try using your phone on speaker phone instead of pressing it to your face and see what happens. Also, give your phone regular wipedowns with a cleaning wipe to kill any bacteria or foreign debris. You may find that after a few weeks of implementing more healthy patterns with your phone, your skin health improves noticeably.

If you have any questions about skin health or products we recommend to take good care of your skin, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us. We’re happy to help however we can.

Consider implementing the healthy skin practices we recommend here and see how your skin health improves or changes. We hope to hear your feedback and whether these tips worked for you!

Photo Credit: by Adam Fagen,
Photo Credit: by Adam Fagen,



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