In the world we live in, it’s impossible to avoid every single thing that could damage your skin. Aging is normal, and we don’t like to give too much weight to the concept of anti-aging. We aren’t anti–the inevitable, and we tend to think aging is really beautiful. We like to age supportively— graceful aging doesn’t necessarily mean fighting it completely.
That being said, there are factors out there that expedite signs of aging, making us feel more dull, saggy, uneven, congested, inflamed, or wrinkly before we’ve paid our dues and earned them through our golden years. It’s possible to age and still have a luminous radiance. These five factors will slow your glow big time, so we suggest avoiding them or protecting oneself from them at all costs.
Hi! Captain Obvious here. Getting a little sun is healthy, and enjoying time outdoors in the warm, vitamin D–giving rays is important for a life of longevity and healthful happiness. However, many skin actives can make our skin super-sensitive to the sun (hello vitamin C, vitamin A, aka retinol, AHAs, and more) and can cause much more harm than good when we don’t take care of our skin properly. Think fine lines and wrinkles, sagging from deteriorated elastin, dark spots, and of course, the risk of skin cancer.
In short, we love a good layout session, but we believe in hats and SPF. A chic sun hat, cap, or visor will give your skin some necessary shade, and SPF will double the function. Reapplying can feel like a messy job, so we suggest a zinc or serum-based sunscreen in the morning, and finding a mist or powder to reapply throughout the day, especially if you’ll be outdoors.
Neglecting to hydrate properly can cause a cascade of health issues, but we’re going to see it on our skin first and foremost. We won’t necessarily immediately shrivel up like a raisin right away, but our skin will appear dull, uneven, patchy, and flaky, and fine lines will become more prominent. Over time, chronic dehydration will deepen these creases long before they naturally would deepen with proper hydration.
It’s more than just creases, though. Dehydration affects the skin barrier, which is our number one defense against environmental particulate and toxic material. When the skin is plump and hydrated, a protective barrier is far less permeable, keeping our skin more clear, resilient, and a defender against pollution and irritants. When we are severely dehydrated, the skin is cracked, open, and porous, which can result in irritation, rashes, breakouts, congestion, and infection.
It’s important to drink soothing herbal teas, at least two liters of water a day, and eat hydrating foods like cucumbers, watermelon, leafy greens, and other fruits and veggies. Adding electrolytes to water is also a smart idea to replenish minerals and make sure our bodies hang on to the water we consume to thoroughly hydrate our cells before expelling it as waste.
Many fragrances, including those from totally natural, organic essential oils, can be very irritating to the skin barrier. They can cause contact dermatitis, eczema, photosensitivity (making the skin more sensitive to light and UV rays), and burns.
Essential oils, especially when they have not been diluted, can be extremely volatile, and aren’t recommended for direct contact with the skin for any reason. Synthetic fragrances are often a slew of toxic ingredients that are deemed safe in small quantities—however, when we use fragranced products many times a day, every day, that has an accumulative effect on our skin barrier that can cause irritation, or even disrupt our hormonal balance, which may also manifest on the skin.
We are huge fans of exfoliating here at Poosh, and we love the soft, radiant glow we get after smoothing away dead skin with some of our favorite acids and scrubs. However, like all good things, exfoliation must be done in moderation. We should only exfoliate once or twice weekly depending on the strength of the formulation. Our skin barrier is composed of a layer of dead cells and bacteria, much like its very own microbiome.
The thin layer of cells and bacteria is a vital part of our skin’s lipid barrier as well as its clarity. When we exfoliate, we eat away at this barrier. It does rebuild rather quickly, but if we constantly erode at it all week, every week, we destroy a super crucial part of our skin’s natural protection.
Believe it or not, that layer of bacteria does not cause acne but fights the bad acne-causing bacteria, holds in a layer of moisture, and creates a shield against environmental aggressors like dirt and pollution. It’s important that we keep our skin balanced, rather than constantly stripping it—we may see more breakouts, inflammation, and irritation otherwise.
We love a sweet treat every once in a while, and we f$#*ing deserve it. But a diet high in processed sugar actually accelerates the development of fine lines and wrinkles and makes us more prone to inflammation and infection. It does this by creating a reaction called advanced glycation end products, aka AGEs, which are “non-enzymatic modifications of proteins or lipids after exposure to sugars.” In other words, processed sugars cause our skin to be more prone to oxidative stress.
This is the idea that these reactions can cause irreversible dehydration to our DNA by instigating a loss of protein function, which will manifest in reduced elasticity of tissues like our skin, blood vessels, and tendons. So yes, have that cookie. Drink that wine. Just maybe don’t binge it every day, and make sure to flush the body with optimal hydration before and after.
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