At CHARLíS, we like to focus on the positive. And in this article, I am going to give you a rundown of five things that are absolutely, positively worse things you can do for your skin.
Do you want beautiful, healthy, vibrant, youthful-looking skin? Then don’t do this!
#1 Smoke Cigarettes Regularly
Hands down, the very worst thing you can do for your skin is to smoke cigarettes. Research to prove this has been around for years and the connection is definitive.
Investigations at the University of Oulu in Finland, as well as elsewhere, have found that cigarette smoking significantly inhibits ascorbic acid absorption. Ascorbic acid (i.e. vitamin C) is the key ingredient needed for collagen production. (1) In addition, smoking chronically deprives the body of other key substances needed for health and vitality. The most important of these is oxygen, the very essence of life itself. Across the board, regular cigarette smoking can lead to an increase in fine lines and wrinkles (especially around the eyes, lips, and forehead), bags under the eyes, increased blemishing, break outs, and rashes, sagging skin, and a higher risk for skin-related diseases, including skin cancer. (2)
#2 Be Stressed All the Time
If you are feeling stressed pretty much all of the time, then you may be suffering from “chronic stress.” The biochemical mechanisms of chronic stress, such as higher than normal cortisol production, can be brought about by many things, including emotional crises, unhealthy habits, or deep trauma from childhood. Research has shown that there is a direct connection between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and ongoing biochemical stress responses in the body, including systemic inflammation, sleep disturbances, and low immunity. (3)
In addition, new research has discovered a direct connection between the nervous system (where “fight or flight” responses reside), the endocrine system, and the skin. The writers of a 2009 report published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology describe the skin as an “endocrine organ,” i.e. one which “possesses the capacity to generate several hormones and substances with hormone-like activity.” (4) Imbalances within the HPA axis and its peripherals especially are often at play in skin-related disease, according to a 2012 review report written by researchers at the University of Northern Texas. (5)
Whatever the reason for it, chronic stress, if gone unchecked, can be the catalyst for skin ill health. Chronic stress can impair barrier function and inhibit blood circulation as well as accelerate skin aging. (6) (7) It can also lead to acne breakout and blemishing, more defined wrinkled, dry skin, and higher risk for skin-related disease. (8)
#3 Stay Out in the Sun Too Long
In past articles, I have explained the difference between “tough skin” and “rough (and dry)” skin. Tough skin means healthy skin, i.e. skin that has just the right amount of healthy collagen, vitamin C, hydration content, and other factors for protection against threats in the atmosphere, internal stressors that might be coming at it, and more. Getting “just the right amount of sun” exposure every day helps to create tough skin by encouraging the catalyzation of vitamin D. According to a fascinating report published in the November 2015 edition of The Journal of Advanced Research, “Vitamin D was primarily acknowledged for its importance in bone formation, however; increasing evidence point to its interference with the proper function of nearly every tissue in our bodies including brain, heart, muscles, immune system and skin.” (9)
However, too much sun exposure can have the opposite effect when it comes to skin, especially collagen levels. This news is nothing new. A Mt. Sinai School of Medicine investigation conducted over twenty years ago found that people with sun-damaged skin can have up to 20 % less collagen content when compared with those who do not have sun-damaged skin. (10)
#4 Eat a SAD Diet Day after Day
“SAD” stands for the “Standard American Diet”, and it is a sad (no pun intended) fact that many Americans actually eat this way—as well as suffer the consequences.
A SAD diet is one that consists, for the most part, of highly processed foods and foods that also tend to be high in unhealthy types of fat, refined sugar, simply carbohydrates, and sodium. Someone eating the “SAD” way also eats very little in the way of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and healthy sources of protein (like lean meats or safe, organic plant-based proteins). (11)
Health experts often describe this way of eating as an “affliction” or a “condition” in and of itself, because the SAD inherently does not give the body all that it needs to fully function in a healthy way. Disease risk is much higher on the inside with the SAD diet, but SAD also does not satisfy our “outer nutrition” needs as well. (12) “Outer nutrition” is all that is required to keep our skin, hair, and nails healthy, according to skin experts. (13) Nutrients needed for adequate collagen synthesis, moisture retention, UV protection, and cellular repair are simply not there. This leads to premature aging, wrinkling, and a higher rate of breakouts. It can also lead to a higher risk of skin-related disease.
#5 Settle for Low Quality, Toxic Skincare Products (At All)
Finally, going with the “trend” and buying the next big thing in luxury skincare just because it comes in a shiny package (and the label may say it can work miracles) is another thing you absolutely do not want to do for beautiful skin.
Of the thousands of chemicals available for the “proprietary blends” that cosmetic manufacturers have access to, only a fraction have ever been tested for safety. Many more continue to be included in commercial formulas even in the face of mounting evidence of risk to health. Here are just a few:
- Fragrance, a term commercial skincare and cosmetics manufacturers use to describe proprietary formulas. “Fragrance” can actually represent any number of the over 3,000 largely untested and potentially harmful chemicals currently available for use in these formulas. (14)
- PEGs, or Polyethylene Glycol Polymers, are used as thickening agents and stabilizers as well as moisture retention enhancers in skincare products and cosmetics. Byproducts from PEGs include ethylene oxide, a highly carcinogenic substance connected to both lymphoma and leukemia.
- Oxybenzone, a strong xenoestrogen that is often found in commercial sunscreens as well as cosmetics and skincare formulas.
Do This Instead!
If all the above sounds like a real bummer, that’s because it is! Sometimes, however, it helps to have at least a little bit of knowledge about what not to do and why. That is why you can stay out of the “bummer zone” and make healthy choices in key areas that can directly affect your skin health.
- Instead of smoking cigarettes, get support to kick the habit! In most regions, hospitals, health clinics, and even some community centers will have smoking cessation programs. Not sure where to turn? Reach out to “Quitline,” an online resource put out by the US Center for Disease Control. (15)
- Instead of stressing out, learn easy tools to calm stress while at the same time finding support to heal deep-seated wounds that may be at the basis of ongoing stress-related imbalance. Some specific modalities include deep breathing, Emotional Freedom Technique, talk therapy and/or faith-based therapy, EMDR, and eating a mood-balancing diet.
- Instead of staying out in the sun all day unprotected (or using harsh sunscreens that may do even more damage), make a plan before you go out in the sun. Schedule some time– experts say about 15-20 minutes is all you need– to expose as much of your skin to the sun as possible.
Then, if you must stay out longer, take healthy precautions. Wear a sun hat and loose, long sleeves. In addition, you can use healthy sunscreen options, such as CHARLíS Neutral Tinted Skin Moisturizer with SPF 25 sun protection. This one-of-a-kind formula includes Mugwort extract for natural vitamin C UV protection as well as allatoin (extracted from comfrey) designed by nature to soothe and moisturize the skin.
- Instead of eating a SAD diet, turn your health, and the state of your skin, around by choosing an antioxidant-rich, colorful, whole foods diet. Include lots of vegetables and fruits that can supply much-needed nutrients like vitamin C and A. These foods also contain carotenoids which can help fight free radical damage and, according to some studies, directly improve the texture of the skin. (16) As part of a healthy skin diet, eating lean proteins that can provide your skin with healthy omega 3 fatty acids and drinking enough fresh, filtered water are absolute musts.
- Instead of choosing commercial skincare that may put your skin and your overall health at risk, rely on the deep healing and nourishing power of nature. Choose brands that use only lab-tested, 100% non-GMO, organic, wild-harvested ingredients.
Here at CHARLÍS, we believe that you do not need to give up luxury in order to work with nature for the health of your skin. At the same time, you don’t have to put your health at risk for the sake of luxury! We believe you can have both! Give CHARLÍS Luxury Skincare Products a try today – because you are SO worth it!
(1) Smoking decreases the synthesis rates of type I and III collagens in skin in vivo and alters the balance of extracellular matrix turnover in skin
(2) Effect of cigarette smoking on skin aging
(3) Inflammation in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Review of Potential Correlates of PTSD with a Neurological Perspective
(4) The skin as an endocrine organ
(5) Psychological Stress and the Cutaneous Immune Response: Roles of the HPA Axis and the Sympathetic Nervous System in Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis
(6) Mental stress-induced constricted blood vessels more likely in women
(7) The Link between Chronic Stress and Accelerated Aging
(8) Psychological stress perturbs epidermal permeability barrier homeostasis: implications for the pathogenesis of stress-associated skin disorders
(9) Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review
(10) Collagen alterations in chronically sun-damaged human skin
(11) Overview of Health and Diet in America
(12) The Standard American Diet and its relationship to the health status of Americans
(13) Foods to Nourish Your Skin and Hair: Understanding Outer Nutrition
(14) 3,163 ingredients hide behind the word “fragrance”
(15) Five Reasons Why Calling a Quitline Can Be Key to Your Success
(16) Carotenoids in human skin