When we think about skin care, the first thing to come to mind is the beauty aisle at any given store, full of creams and masks boasting their ability to make you look ‘x years younger,’ tighten and tone, refresh and clear up. While the external care of the skin is important, it’s an organ and it runs skin-deep, beyond the layers of the skin that take in whatever you’re treating it with.
We love DIY peel-off masks for rejuvenating, at-home spa days and we know about the healthiest nutrients for the skin. We love the collagen boost you get from using gelatine in your natural beauty rituals; but what are we doing to undermine our efforts on a daily basis? If you have frustrating skin problems whether it’s dry and cracking or you find yourself breaking out for no apparent reason, it might be time to look at your bad skin habits.
Additional posts in our skincare series:
1. Lack of hydration
Water is the most common ‘nutrient’ deficiency, so it’s no surprise that chronic dehydration can have pretty rough consequences. Even a few days without taking in enough fluid can cause some undesirable effects, and you’ll likely notice them first showing up in your skin.
Water can improve thickness and density of skin, and it increases blood flow to the surface, keeping colour vibrant and the skin looking filled out rather than sunken in and sullen. Because of this, it can give the effect of smoothing out wrinkles and pores or making them less noticeable. Some of the skin’s structures that support collagen – a building block of the skin – also rely pretty heavily on water, so feeding those structures is important for overall vibrancy. It can even reduce breakouts as it promotes the balance of water and oil on the skin, thus preventing the buildup of oil that could lead to acne. It’s worth noting that water is good for just about everything: it lubricates the joints, it improves digestion, and it helps us absorb nutrients. Drink up!
If you halve your bodyweight, aim to drink that much water in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you want to aim to drink 75 ounces of water. For every 12 oz. of diuretic beverage you consume, you should consumer 12 additional ounces of water.
2. Poor sleep
You’ve probably noticed the difference in the appearance of your skin after a bad night’s rest. It looks duller in colour and texture, and it only gets worse as your sleep deprivation does. A week of poor rest will put your skin’s largest organ to the test.
If we look at sleep in a certain light, we could easily classify it as a nutrient that’s equally as important as nutrition or water is. When our body is deprived of any one of these – or especially all three of these – our skin is going to show it. Beauty sleep is a real thing; at night, our bodies do a bit of detox, shedding dead blood cells and efficiently preparing for detox which is undoubtedly the most effective way to flush toxins from the skin considering it’s our body’s natural process. Poor sleep also impacts moisture levels in the skin, much like dehydration; it can lower the pH of the skin creating an imbalance, leading to less-than-desirable outcomes like breakouts, redness, and dryness. Oh, and let’s not forget about dark under-eye circles! This is the most common and obvious skin issue to boil up after slacking on zzz’s.
If you want to change your sleeping habits, consider our 7-Day Sleep Better Challenge.
Smoking isn’t good for much, and the skin plays the victim in a smoker’s life. Over time, you’ll wear that bad habit all over your face. It’s a tough addiction to beat, but your lungs, heart, and skin will be thanking you. Think of someone you know whose been smoking for a long time, and you can probably recall a more worn look to their face. There are plenty of reasons for this. If you’re making the push to quit, let this be one of them! The average smoker looks about 1.5 years older than they actually are, and over time, that adds up.
First, each drag of a smoke provides the body with a not-so-healthy dose of carbon monoxide which subsequently displaces the oxygen in the skin. At the same time, you’re decreasing the blood supply, leading to wrinkles. It even increases the chance of psoriasis, despite it being an autoimmune disease. A pack-a-day habit for 10 years increases your risk by 20% and 11-20 years will put you at a 60% chance – yikes! Another factor to take into consideration is a smoker’s need for more vitamin C. Vitamin C absorption is reduced by smoking, and vitamin C helps protect and repair skin damage.
4. Lack of exercise
The couch potato life doesn’t have many proven benefits. Of course, we believe in a little rest and relaxation when life calls for it, but humans simply weren’t designed to be sedentary. We won’t get into the negative impact on the heart and other vital organs when it comes to lack of exercise, nor will we delve into its impact on weight loss and body composition today. We’re just going to focus on how it’s impacting your skin.
Breaking out in a sweat is super beneficial for the body and its detox mechanisms. Sweat pushes toxins and excess nutrients from the skin, helping its appearance and overall health. It also goes without saying that a sedentary lifestyle is often accompanied by a rather lacklustre diet high in carbohydrates (read more about sugar below), dairy, and processed foods – all of which aren’t doing the skin any favours. Lack of exercise can also lead to antioxidant efficiency being decreased, and those antioxidants are another natural detox mechanism for the skin.
5. Too much sugar and dairy
Sound a bit like your morning cup of coffee? Considering coffee’s diuretic effect can already drain the skin, adding sugar and milk to the mix are exacerbating its negative impact on the skin. Sometimes, an elimination diet can provide all the answers we need to address lingering skin problems; that’s why so many people see improvements almost immediately with our Happy Body Formula program.
First, there’s a big link between acne and dairy. An underlying sensitivity or allergy to lactose could be the reason your skin isn’t clearing up. This could be due to a few things, namely, the quality of the dairy. Perhaps you notice a difference with raw, grass-fed dairy, but most conventional dairy is sourced from pregnant cows, meaning the milk they produce has hormones in it like progesterone and insulin growth factors. The most common symptom to look out for when identifying a dairy sensitivity is the “acne beard.” Breakouts will often be concentrated along the jawline and underneath the chin. Sure – it’s hidden from the rest of the world, but you notice!
As for the ‘sugar face,’ it’s a bit different than the acne beard although we wouldn’t put it past sweet treats causing some breakouts. If you’ve ever woken up after a night of indulgence, you might notice your face is looking rather puffy. This is partially due to water retention, but there are a few things going on behind the scenes of our skin cells when our sugar intake is high. Even a little can go a long way, and a sugar detox could do you good! First, it breaks down collagen which is crucial to our skin’s appearance. It also weakens the immune system which makes our bodies less efficient at warding off bacteria which can clog the pores. This might be the reason why chocolate, for example, is thought to cause acne. Finally, it creates more testosterone leading to larger pores, hardened blood vessels, and increased oil production. By cutting sugar, you might notice a difference in just 3-4 days.
We hope you learnt something new about the skin today. It’s worth taking care of from the inside out!