A lot of people assume the quality of a person’s skin is determined exclusively by age and genetics. In fact, lifestyle can have just as much of an impact on the health and appearance of a person’s skin. Read on to find out what lifestyle factors impact skin quality the most.
When it comes to learning about your skin, the best place to start isn’t on the surface. It’s inside. What people eat and drink have a dramatic impact on how their skin looks. The most important aspect of maintaining good skin health through positive dietary choices is drinking enough water, but that’s only the beginning.
Some foods, such as berries, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, can keep skin looking healthy because they contain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and essential vitamins. These are the types of foods people who want to keep their skin looking beautiful should eat.
Foods that are highly processed or contain a lot of sugar are on the opposite end of the skin health spectrum. They promote inflammation, which can both dry out the skin and exacerbate some existing skin conditions.
Everyone knows that spending too much time in the sun without adequate protection can lead to sunburns. What many people don’t realize is that excessive sun exposure, with or without an accompanying burn, can worsen skin health. Over the years, repeated sun exposure breaks down collagen and changes skin pigment, accelerating the aging process and encouraging wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and sagging skin to begin at a younger age.
Drinking and Smoking
Drinking too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes both have negative impacts on a person’s entire body, including the skin. Alcohol has dehydrating effects, leaving skin looking flaky, dry, and dull. Smoking produces dangerous chemicals that decrease oxygen in the blood and increase premature signs of aging by breaking down collagen and elastin. It can be hard to quit smoking or drinking, but there are resources that can help.
Level of Physical Activity
Research shows that living a sedentary lifestyle generates an excess of health risks, yet many Americans still don’t get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week suggested by the CDC. Sitting all day without taking breaks to get up and walk around or setting aside time in a busy schedule for workouts leaves the blood pumping slower than it should, depriving the body, including the skin, of oxygen and vital nutrients. It’s this reduction of oxygen and nutrients that contribute to premature skin aging.
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important yet overlooked lifestyle factors contributing to skin health. While people sleep, they secrete human growth hormones that promote collagen production. Getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep per night leaves skin looking dull and can also cause the body to release excess cortisol, which acts as an additional source of inflammation and irritation.
A Healthy Lifestyle Leads to Healthy Skin
The good news for people who want to improve the health and appearance of their skin is that all of the lifestyle factors listed above also impact other aspects of people’s health. Quitting smoking or drinking, eating a healthier diet, getting more sleep, and becoming more active reduce a person’s risk of developing serious diseases and boost his or her mood. It’s well worth making the necessary changes.
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