Well-known fact: the best ‘makeup’ is healthy, glowing skin. What you may not realize is that, on the road to clear complexion, your habits are your biggest adversary. The easiest way is by taking care of what you’ve got, but your routine could be getting in the way. Ever sleep with your makeup on? Skimp on sunscreen? Maybe go stretches without monitoring your sugar intake? Subtle but substantial, beauty saboteurs hide in our habits, and what you do daily can add up in the long run. Here’s why you should cut the cord on bad beauty habits.
Though a tan may be on-trend, and give the appearance of glowing skin, there’s nothing “in” about inflammation. Turns out, extended exposure to the sun can trigger some truly negative skin processes. Unknowingly, many of us experience photosensitivity, an immune response prompted by sunlight. This is often expressed through itchiness, redness and overall inflammation of the skin. While this doesn’t always show on the surface, since sun damage is stored in your skin’s memory, it always catches up in the end. Externally, this translates as wrinkles and discolouration, but below, it’s damage to your DNA. Although sun damage is permanent, the good news is, you can work on helping reversal through diet! Filling your plate with foods like fatty fish and different veggies (remember, can help stop premature aging in its tracks.
When it comes to beauty, white sugar almost always shows. Not only does it lack in the nutritional department, but it can trigger glycation, a process in which sugar binds to protein to form advanced glycation end products (AGE). When this happens, your body gets defensive and inflamed, causing damage to the protein in the skin responsible for keeping it plump and youthful. Too many AGEs also make the skin more prone to damage caused by environmental factors such as UV light. Not long afterwards come the wrinkles (and in many cases, acne and breakouts). An easy solve is opting for whole grains and fruits, as well as collagen-boosting, anti-inflammatory foods as often as possible.
It’s no coincidence that the random breakout you can’t get control of is in perfect sync with that presentation you’ve been working on. The name of the game is stress. The effects of stress on the body are well documented. From gastric to cardiovascular, the physical ways your worries impact your well-being are a constant point of research. What’s known is that stress triggers inflammation as well as hormonal imbalance. This can jump-start sebum production and can lead to cystic flare ups, sensitivity, rashes and pimples. Notice that mound has multiplied? That’s because when we get stressed, it spreads. Since this one’s mental, remember: don’t stress over what you can’t control.
Dermatitis neglecta, a condition used to describe under-washed, under-cleansed skin, is more common than it seems. Research has confirmed conditions like rosacea, eczema and acne to be directly correlated with the skin’s exposure to dirt. Big cities are a polluted hotbed for free radicals ready to wage war on your skin. There are a few work-arounds. One of the best? Antioxidants. Affectionately coined “nature’s own anti rusting agents”, antioxidants neutralize free-radicals to help combat oxidative stress, which can lead to premature aging. A good way to make sure you’re getting enough is by eating foods rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene. Another way that’s proved tried and true is by ensuring your skin regimen includes toning, cleansing and exfoliating, as well as always making sure to cleanse your face of the day’s debris. While slipping up one night may not be the end-all, continuous neglect here would mean pores clogged with yesterday’s face. This can result in acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and a lacklustre complexion overall.
Charred foodsWhile we may all enjoy the charred bits of a BBQ, it’s important to note that they aren’t the best for our health. Charred foods help create AGE substances in the body, accelerating the signs of aging and triggering inflammation that are terrible for your health. Always remember: everything in moderation. While enjoying once in awhile may not do a world of harm, keep an eye on frequency and make sure to incorporate fresh foods wherever possible.
Though every day life is filled with “inevitables”, when it comes to beauty, knowing your nemesis is a good way to avoid them overall. While we can’t always hide from stress, sugar and BBQ, when it comes to skin damage, less is better than more.
- Ahlgren, M. (2018). Beauty food: 85 recipes for health & beauty from within. London: Mitchell Beazley.
- Rao, T. (2017, January 24). Charred, Browned, Blackened: The Dark Lure of Burned Food. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/dining/burned-food-charred-browned-blackened.html.
- Beaver, Hilary MD. (2000). "Take Eye Makeup Off Before Bedtime." University of Iowa.
- Acne. (2018, December 27). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047.
- Saha, A., Seth, J., Sharma, A., & Biswas, D. (2015). Dermatitis neglecta -- a dirty dermatosis: report of three cases. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4372914/.