How active are you in your personal skin care? Our culture has shifted to be very health conscious, which is great. We wear devices that track our heart rates and steps. We try trendy diets and join niche exercise classes. But proper skin care might not always be at the top of our lists. Fortunately so many goals and habits that stem from popular New Year’s resolutions can also positively affect the health of your skin. Let’s take a closer look at how some of your potential New Year’s resolutions will ultimately lead you to having a more active role in your skin care.
Life in general can be pretty stressful. Mix in the sometimes unrealistic pressure that comes with New Year’s resolutions and you may be quick to ditch any new changes. Managing stress and mental health should always be a priority, as it plays a large role in so many other aspects of life and physical health.
Stress also takes its toll on your skin. We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re nervous for a first date. Or you have an important presentation to give during a meeting. While your mind is moving a million miles per minute figuring out everything that could go wrong, you notice a large pimple appeared seemingly out of nowhere. It’s not a coincidence.
A Stanford University study showed that stressed students preparing for exams were more likely to breakout in severe acne than those who felt a lot less pressure. High stress may lead to the body producing more sebum, which blocks pores. Blocked pores then leads to the likelihood of developing severe acne breakouts.
Additionally, the body produces more hormones under stress like cortisol. Cortisol makes your skin more oily and greasy and decrease its ability to defend itself from bacteria that causes acne. If you think your acne days are behind you, high-stress can also lead to excessive sweating, hair loss, rashes like eczema, and general skin irritation.
Use the new year as a chance to develop healthy, stress-management techniques like meditation or yoga. Or manage your stress with regular exercise in the form of running, lifting weights, or playing sports.
Quit Your Bad Habits
In addition to picking up “good” routines, New Year’s resolutions are also often used to kick less healthy habits. Now we know it’s likely you may be enjoying a few alcoholic beverages during your holiday celebrations. And if done so responsibly, there’s nothing wrong with that! However, consider moderating your alcohol intake.
Not only will you find that reducing or cutting alcohol has a myriad of health benefits, but it can also reduce your risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers. Higher alcohol consumption may be tied to basal cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, so do yourself a favor and monitor your alcohol intake!
And if you’re a smoker, there’s no better time to quit than now. It may feel like the only damage you’re doing is to your respiratory system (which isn’t good either!), but over time you’ll notice more negative effects on the outside of your body.
Smoking can reduce the collagen and elastin levels in your body, which gives your skin its natural elasticity. Over time the elastin and collagen levels will breakdown, and the body’s ability to naturally produce them will reduce.
On top of that, smokers often make the same facial expressions during the actual act of smoking. Think pursed lips and furrowed brows, mixed with lowered elasticity, and smoker’s faces are more likely to be wrinkled and aged.
There are plenty of methods and resources to help you quit smoking. Quitting is the only way to prevent and reverse the health risks associated with smoking, including improving your overall skin health.
Get Enough Sleep
Many people don’t take into account how much sleep affects their health on a daily basis. And how, overtime, sleep habits (good and bad) compound to influence your overall health. As far as your skin health goes, a lack of sufficient sleep can lead to diminished, unhealthy skin complexion, dark circles under the eyes, and lead to problems with how your skin ages and function, particularly premature skin aging, and a decreased ability for the skin to naturally repair itself when damaged.
Getting consistently less sleep than required has also been linked to:
- Immune deficiencies
- Certain types of cancer
- Chronic fatigue
When you sleep, the body has a chance to naturally repair and heal. For skin that means regeneration and collagen production, which helps prevent skin from sagging. Beauty rest also helps your body heal and regenerate muscle as well as your brain cells and blood cells. Most physicians recommend getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
At times, everyone gets busy and consistently getting the right amount of sleep can be difficult. Additionally, some people feel that they still function at a high level on less sleep. However, for your health, sleep deprivation is simply not sustainable. It’s important to prioritize proper sleep habits and the right nighttime routine to help you consistently sleep enough to maximize your overall health. Including retaining healthy skin.
No New Year’s Resolutions are complete without the goal of a completely modified diet! And so often skin health starts from the inside out. Proper hydration and a well-balanced diet has as much to do with your skin health as the right moisturizing and cleansing routine.
For instance, research has shown that tomatoes and kale are linked to protecting your skin against UV damage and skin cancer. The high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in kale and lycopene in tomatoes are thought to give them their protective properties.
Mangoes and green tea, both high in anti-oxidants, help boost your skin’s collagen production. Their rejuvenating properties will help keep your skin young and radiant while helping it to heal and repair quickly.
And for those of us with a sweet tooth, try switching to dark chocolate. Studies have shown that cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate help support increased skin hydration, decreasing rough or dried skin. Dieting doesn’t always mean cutting out what you love!
The point is when you’re eating right, and leading a generally healthy lifestyle, your whole body is affected. Therefore, as your body’s largest organ, it’s not exactly surprising that your skin health is directly related to your everyday habits and choices.
Big changes, especially the high-pressure of New Year’s Resolutions, can seem scary and daunting. But knowing that the right, healthy choices have such a positive effect for your health should make things easier. Your skin will thank you!
Schedule an Appointment
The best New Year’s Resolution you can make for yourself is to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. While making new, healthy choices is the right start, only your dermatologist can determine any lifestyle adjustments, products, and treatment options that may suit you and your skin health best. Reach out to us at the Dermatology Center of Acadiana today and schedule a consultation! If your New Year’s Resolution is a healthier you, then that starts with getting back in the habit of regular, annual appointments with your dermatologist.