Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skin Care

Has your skin lost the shine? Here are the do's and don'ts to curb your complexion crimes.

1. Taking hot showers
We all love languishing in a steamy shower but hot water can damage delicate facial skin.

"If you're prone to redness the heat can weaken capillaries making redness worse so aim for a tepid temperature," the Daily Express quoted Shula Starkey, founder of Ark Skincare, as saying.

2. Stressing out
It's well known that stress has a negative effect on health but it adversely affects your skin too. Try yoga and deep breathing techniques and treat your skin to a distressing product.

"The stress hormone cortisol is your skin's worst aging enemy and as we age levels rise.

"Avoid coffee and alcohol to relieve stress as it will only ramp up cortisol levels," said Starkey.

3. Rushing your cleansing routine
The new trend of cleansing in a hurry using packet wipes has many skin experts cringing.

"Inadequate cleansing can lead to bacteria build-up and skin break-outs," she said.

4. Dieting
Sticking to a strict low-fat diet can age and dull skin. Good fats are crucial for skin health, repair, moisture and flexibility.

"Essential fatty acids from oily fish, eggs, flax seeds, walnuts and dark green vegetables are particularly important," said dietitian Tanya Haffner, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

5. Eating sugary snacks
Too much sugar in the bloodstream widens your waistline and can result in wrinkles.

"Glycation is a process where sugar in the bloodstream reacts with collagen in the skin and changes its structure from springy and stretchy to hard and brittle and can lead to premature skin aging," said nutritionist Melanie Flower (natural-health care).

The process is accelerated in people with poor insulin control but Melanie advises cutting back on sugar.

"Snacks containing protein are the best option when cravings strike, especially nuts and seeds because they contain skin-friendly oils."

6. Not wearing sun protection
If you slather on SPF protection only when the sun is shining you're not doing enough, dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams (eudeloboutique) said.

She suggests using a broad-spectrum sun protection moisturizer with SPF 30-50 under make-up all year round.

7. Neglecting your neck
"You should care for your neck exactly as you do your face so apply all your facial skincare products from the hairline right down to the neck and decolletage," said Williams.

"Use an antioxidant serum under your sun protection moisturizer every day."

8. Not protecting against pollution
"Exposure to environmental pollution plus passive exposure to tobacco smoke can cause oxidative stress and damage to skin," said Williams.

"Pollutants can also make the skin more sensitive to the harmful effects of UV exposure."

9. Drinking too much
Alcohol dilates the capillaries and over time can lead to broken veins and flushing of the face, deplete the body of vitamin A, an important antioxidant for skin elasticity, and dehydrate leaving your skin more prone to wrinkling.

So drink water alongside alcohol and make sure you are getting enough daily fluid, advised Tanya Haffner.

"Six to eight glasses will give your skin the necessary moisture for a dewy look and help flush out toxins," she said.

If you are sipping cocktails on your night out fore-go the straw as the sucking effect encourages wrinkles to form round the mouth.

10. Not sleeping enough
Skin regenerates at night so make sure you get eight hours.

"Studies have shown lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels, which is associated with acceleration of the aging process, reduced collagen production and increased collagen degradation," said Williams.

When you are asleep your skin is better able to absorb products so slather on a rich, soothing night cream with a calming aroma.


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