You already know this is a bad habit for a multitude of health reasons, but do you know what it can do to your skin? You may notice aging signs sooner than normal, because smoking causes tiny blood vessels to narrow in the outermost layers of your skin, decreasing blood flow. Plus, it exhausts the skin of nutrients and oxygen—both important for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which destroy the skin’s collagen and elastin—the fibers that help keep your skin strong.
Puckering your lips and squinting your eyes while smoking may also lead to visible results such as lines on or around eyes and lips. In addition, smoking may deprive the skin of nutrients and oxygen so that skin color can become paler.
But there’s good news! Once you quit, blood flow through the body improves within just a few months, and over time damage some internal damage can be reversed. Your skin will start receiving more oxygen and nutrients, allowing it to function better, and you to look healthier.
2. Ignoring stress
When stress builds up, your skin can become more sensitive and reactive and existing skin conditions can have a tendency to flare up. Plus, if you’re feeling stressed, you may be more likely to neglect your skin or ignore your regimen.
Overall, the mind and skin are connected on many levels—nerve endings are connected to the skin, so as emotions come out, they can be expressed through the skin in negative ways.
Learn to cope and manage stressful moments. Try yoga or meditation—or just enjoy some solo time to breath and reinvigorate. However you choose to take control, your skin will thank you for it.
3. Noshing on fast food and sugary drinks
AAs we get older, our skin becomes thinner and the outermost layer loses lipids (fat-like substances), making it drier and unable to retain as much water. Nix the soda and pay more attention to drinking water consistently throughout the day to keep moisture in and flush toxins out.
Don’t forget about your daily food choices too. Foods high in antioxidants, such as green tea and blueberries, can have a protective effect on your skin. A diet high in processed or refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats may contribute to aging skin, so avoid those fast food options and consider foods like carrots, apricots, tomatoes, lentils, salmon, mackerel and nuts.
4. Being in the sun and skipping the sun protection
Sun protection is essential at every age. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet light damages the skin’s tissues (collagen and elastin fibers) and can cause deep wrinkles, dark spots, loss of firmness and sagging. You may also see more freckles, dark spots and patches on your face, neck and chest as a result of the fiber breakdown as well.
Avoiding the sun whenever possible is important. If it is impossible to avoid the sun, it’s important to wear hats, protective clothing, seek shade, and apply SPF 25 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours—even on cloudy days—to avoid damaging sunburns. Be sure to check the SPF count in your facial moisturizer to determine if it provides enough protection—and opt for a wide-brimmed hat for extra coverage.
ANEW SOLAR ADVANCE Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 45, formulated with RepairShield™ Technology, is a great product to use as it not only protects you from harmful rays but also reduces the look of wrinkles and skin discolorations.
5. Doing nothing
Whether we like it or not, time goes on and our skin does age, but the truth is it’s never too early to start caring for your skin—and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a great cleanser, use it correctly—without over or under washing—and a moisturizer with UVA and UVB sun protection.
Over time, as your skin changes, build a routine according to what your face needs, adding more products like night creams and serums as necessary. If you’re ready for something more regimented, try the ANEW regimen best suited to your skin’s needs for a great morning and night routine that cleanses, moisturizes and treats. Once you start caring for your skin on a daily basis, it will show, and others will be looking for your secret!