Skin Care

Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Lasting Damage

Clear, glowing skin is one of the main things that makes a person attractive. It’s also the largest organ in your body, which happens to protect all your other organs. We think that merits some extra attention!

Even if your skin already looks clear and healthy now, certain lifestyle habits can cause lasting skin damage in the long run. To protect your beautiful skin so that you can age gracefully, try implementing these five top strategies for the ultimate skin protection.

1. Cut back on the caffeine.

Coffee and other caffeinated beverages are great in moderation, but too much can leave a lasting impact on your skin. Although coffee has been linked with several health benefits, it can be both good and bad for your body’s largest organ. The good news is that coffee can actually detox your skin and increase circulation at the surface, which can reduce the appearance of puffy eyes in the morning. In some instances, caffeine is even used to treat cellulite by increasing blood flow to improve the circulation of fat cells and firm the tissues above the fat deposits.

The not-so-good news is that caffeine is also a diuretic. That means it can be very dehydrating, especially if you drink several cups throughout the day. This can cause dry skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. Additionally, if you have a cup of coffee too late in the day, it can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. This often leads to increased production of cortisol and causes sleep deprivation, which reduces the amount of time your skin has to shed dead skin cells and replace them with young, healthy ones. (Cue the dark bags and acne.)

2. Wear sunscreen every single day.

Yeah, your mom has probably told you this your whole life, but it’s worth being said one more time! UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds is the number one cause of cancer, according to WebMD. It also accelerates the effects of aging by damaging the fibers in the skin, called elastin. This can result in sagging, stretching, and more frequent bruising. Although you may get away with a nice, glowing tan now, the effects of all that sun exposure will certainly show in ten years.

To combat skin damage from UV radiation, health experts and dermatologists advise that you wear sunscreen every single day, even if you don’t plan to go outside. UVA rays (which are harmful to the skin) can penetrate glass windows, leaving any skin that is not covered by clothing exposed to danger. So whether it’s a sunny day or you plan on going outside, you should always apply sunscreen to exposed areas of skin, such as your face and arms.

3. Stop drinking, smoking, and/or using recreational drugs.

Smoking, drinking, and using recreational drugs are all very harmful for your overall health (not to mention, using recreational drugs is illegal). But these habits can also wreak havoc on your skin. Smoking creates wrinkles around your mouth, starves your skin of oxygen, and reduces circulation, which all contribute to premature aging. Cigarettes also contain harmful chemicals that quickly break down the collagen and elastin in your skin, making you look older.

Excessive alcohol consumption depletes your body of the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to maintain healthy-looking skin. As a result, your complexion can become dull and gray, making you look years older than you actually are. Alcohol is also a diuretic, which dehydrates your skin and results in more fine lines and wrinkles. Similarly, recreational drug abuse can cause infections, inflammation, sores, or even rotting of the skin. Yikes!

Unfortunately, quitting these habits isn’t always easy. If you are struggling with substance abuse of any kind and you’re having trouble quitting, you may need to ask for help. A professional drug rehab program in Austin or another location can provide the necessary structure, guidance, and behavioral treatment to help you get sober.

4. Watch your diet closely.

Eating a well-balanced diet will not only give your body the physical appearance you desire, but it will also help you maintain beautiful, glowing, and young-looking skin. Perhaps the most important habit is drinking lots of water. Doing this throughout the day helps to hydrate your skin and prevent premature wrinkles and fine lines. 

Eating foods that are packed with healthy oils like nuts, olive oil, and fish can also increase your skin’s collagen production for smoother skin, and eating lots of leafy greens can greatly reduce your likelihood of contracting melanoma (a very dangerous type of skin cancer). This is especially true if you’re consistently slathering that sunscreen on too! And of course, by avoiding high-fat and/or sugary foods and drinks, you’ll reduce the occurrence of bad breakouts, blemishes, and scarring, giving you a more even complexion.

5. Stop picking at scars and pimples.

Popping a pesky pimple may be tempting, but it can lead to infections, more pimples, or scarring. Picking at ingrown hairs or other imperfections on the surface of your skin can also cause infections or permanent discoloration. Although these things are common habits, you should avoid them at all costs if you want healthy, smooth skin.

Instead, if you suffer from frequent breakouts, try applying an acne-busting spot treatment, start getting monthly facials, or schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to get some guidance. If you suffer from frequent ingrown hairs and have scars from picking at them, you may want to consider using a different hair-removal method, such as laser hair removal.

Sadly, there’s no magic solution for flawless, beautiful skin. However, these five tips will provide long-term protection for your skin and promote a wholesome lifestyle that will contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.