There is no point in making grand skin resolutions or investing in expensive skincare if you don’t practice a healthy lifestyle in general. Care for your skin by weeding out these easily missed everyday habits that make you age faster.
1. Hopping from one fad diet to the next
Your skin is what you eat. In fact your skin bears the brunt of your ever changing diet. According to dietitian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants, Jaclyn Reuters, fad diets often miss out important foods which high in vitamin A, Vitamin C, minerals (zinc & selenium) such as whole grains, fruit, chicken, and read meat “These vitamins improve collagen formation, protect against acute photo damage and aid in the regeneration of skin cells. Jaclyn adds that trying fad diets ever so often will restraint the constant supply of nutrients that harms the skin. “Individuals who jump from one fad diet to another also tend to have yo-yoing weight. Large swings in body weight can cause skin laxity and disrupts your hormones,” says Dr Calvin Chan, medical director at Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic.
2. Overindulging your sweet tooth
Medical studies have shown that consuming too much sugar causes a process known as glycation, where sugar molecules like glucose attach themselves to proteins and lipids. ‘This process is said to promote cell inflammation and harden proteins, such as collagen and elastin, in the skin’s structure, slowing down (reparative) processes, and ultimately causing the skin to lose its elasticity,” explains Dr Chan. Excessive sugar consumption may also build insulin resistance and cause darkened pigmentation patches on the neck underarms, and along the panty line. Besides, it can cause hirsutism, whereby women experience unwanted male-pattern hair growth on area such as the face, chest and back.
3. Overconsumption of caffeine and alcohol
Consumed in large amounts (more than four cups of regular coffee and more than 100ml of wine a day) caffeine and alcohol can have a diuretic effect, which leaves the body and skin dehydrated. When this happens, the skin can appear more prune-like faster and toxins accumulate more readily in the body, leading to dull skin or pimples, says Jaclyn. “Drinking eight glasses of water a day removes toxins from the body and promotes skin regeneration for plump, healthy skin”.
4. Overusing your smartphone
All that looking down can be bad for the eyes and neck. “What you may not know is that staring down at your handphone for extended periods of time can also cause premature neck wrinkles,” says Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director at The Sloane Clinic. “So try to maintain a good posture while checking your phone. Furthermore, squinting at the small screen can also lead to premature crow’s feet.” Using phone before bedtime wouldn’t be advisable as the blue light of handphone is capable of disrupting your sleep cycle. As a result, the increase of cortisol level would stimulate oil production leading to oilier skin and more breakouts. Sleep loss can also cause breakdown of a protein that forms the skin’s building blocks, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, laxity and a dull, sallow complexion.
5. Overdoing skin treatments such as facials
Overly enthusiastic about skin treatments can increase your risk of contact dermatitis, which shows up dryness, flakiness, itchiness and redness, says Dr Tan. Dr Georgia Lee, medical director at TLC Lifestyle Practice, suggests a two-week break between basic facials (those involving extractions and calming masks). Same goes for non-ablative lasers. As for facials involving exfoliation and chemical peels, which can sensitise the skin, wait a month before going for the next session.
6. Having a dirty, dusty home or office
We all know about outdoor pollution and how it can wreak havoc on the skin. But indoor pollution can be just as bad, causing problems such as skin irritation, rashes and itch. Sources of indoor pollution include mould and mildew from curtains and carpets as well as dust mites from upholstery and bed lines, says Dr Lee. Her solutions: avoid carpeting your home or your office, and dehumidify the space overnight the space overnight to prevent mildew formation. Also, vacuum regularly and keep air-conditioner filters clean so they can trap pollutants more effectively.
7. Having an irregular sleep pattern
If you sleep late every night but wake up at the same time in the mornings, you’re better off than someone who’s sleeping and rising times are always changing. “Irregular sleep pattern messes with your natural body clock, which has a knock-on effect on all the body’s processes, from digestion to mood, concentration and organ health,” explains Dr Chan. Four or five continuous hours of sleeping will help the self-reparative process if finding the same time of sleeping is impossible to achieve. “When deep sleep takes place-our cells start to repair themselves,” says Dr Chan. He adds that napping during the day wouldn’t be useful in rejuvenating and repairing your skin damage as the energy required for skin’s natural reparative process isn’t available then. Sleep deprivation can also result in reduced blood circulation in the skin, says Dr Lee, hindering reparative process.
8. Not sleeping on your back
Love resting on your side or stomach? Dr Low cautions: “The (constant) pressure of your face against the pillow can damage collagen fibres and cause creases that eventually become permanent wrinkles.” To prevent from that happening, sleep on your back, she says, and place a pillow between your knees; it’ll stop you from rolling over in your sleep.