We all want our skin to look like we’ve just stepped out of a Neutrogena commercial, but let’s face it. That isn’t always the case. Whether you’ve picked up habits you didn’t know were affecting you, or you’re simply having a bad day, your skin won’t always be perfect. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump through a few extra hoops to keep it looking and feeling its best!
There are plenty of ways you can damage your skin. Many automatically assume they’re safe with a quick slather of sunscreen. But the sun isn’t the only thing that can hurt your body’s largest organ. Here are five causes of skin damage, excluding sun exposure.
Smoking cigarettes causes your blood vessels to become narrower, decreasing the amount of nutrients and oxygen that reach the skin and keep it healthy. This causes your skin to lose elasticity, meaning it won’t snap back into place like it did in your youth. This lack of nutrients also prevents your skin from healing wounds, which can lead to skin ulcers. In addition, smoking can cause lower estrogen levels in women, which can dry out the skin.
Certain chemicals in your cleaning products or laundry detergent could be irritating your skin, causing redness or allergic reactions in those who are susceptible. Ammonia and bleach are two common skin irritants. These chemicals can cause contact dermatitis, which can lead to scaling, irritation, and even chemical burns. To avoid this, try wearing gloves while cleaning, or finding all natural products to wash your clothes.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can dry out your skin. This is because alcohol acts as a diuretic, pulling water from your body and dehydrating you. Alcohol can also cause inflammation on the skin’s surface, expanding the capillaries and causing a ruddy-looking complexion, or worsening already existing rosacea.
Eating too much sugar can not only cause you to pack on the pounds, it can damage your skin, too. When you eat excessive amounts of sugar, it enters your body and attaches itself to your protein or fat molecules, resulting in a process called glycation. Glycation forms new sugar proteins called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which latch onto and damage collagen, resulting in wrinkles, loss of elasticity, stiffness, and accelerated aging.
Smiling and frowning
Your skin loses elasticity as you age, making it harder to recover from those silly faces you once made as a kid. Repeatedly contracting your facial muscles over the years leads to wrinkles that will show even if you’re not frowning or smiling. But, emotions are a natural part of life, so it’s pretty hard to avoid smiling and frowning. If you’re worried about wrinkles, try an over-the-counter wrinkle cream.