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All you need to know about your skin Part 5

All you need to know about your skin Part 5-Slow down!! (skin ageing that is!)

Last month we talked about the dangers of sugar on your skin. This month we’ll look at how to slow down and potentially reverse the signs of skin ageing.

  1. Protect your skin from the sun EVERY day. Sun protection is essential whatever you are doing, at the beach, nipping around town and even at work.  Most workplaces will not have UV protection on their windows.  You can protect your skin by covering with clothing, using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30, and water-resistant and to some degree by seeking shade. Apply sunscreen every day to all skin not covered by clothing.  The SLIP (on clothing and into shade), SLOP (on sunscreen), SLAP (on a hat) and WRAP (some sunglasses on) mantra should help you remember all this.
  2. Apply self-tanner rather than get a tan. Tanning from the sun, or tanning beds all emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.  The only safe way to tan is from self-tanning products.
  3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.  As a reminder see the twin photos on this page.
  4. Try to minimise repetitive facial expressions (such as frowning). Every time you make a facial expression, you contract underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines around the eyes caused by squinting.
  5. Eat a healthy diet. Scientific studies suggest that eating vegetables may help prevent damage that causes premature skin aging. Also, as mentioned in last month’s column, a diet containing lots of sugar and other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging.  Eat no more than 5-7 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
  6. Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates your skin, and eventually, damages the skin, causing lines and other signs of ageing.
  7. Exercise at least 6 days per week. Scientific studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost immunity. Both of these can make the skin look more youthful.
  8. Be gentle with your skin. We covered this in Part 2 but just to remind you-Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate it, which accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing and then patting dry helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances.
  9. Wash your face twice a day and after sweating. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin; so wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
  10. Apply a medical quality, natural facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, making it appear more youthful.  Medical quality moisturisers also stimulate skin rejuvenation which helps slow down, and if using medical quality serums, can reverse ageing.
  11. Stop using skin care products that damage your skin.  A lot of skin care ranges contain chemicals that damage your skin.  The most well known example is SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), which is also found in floor cleaners!  Damaged, irritated skin ages faster.  Also beware ranges that are advertised by celebrities, they are being paid to do so!
  12. Reduce stress. There is a new field of medicine called psychodermatology. This medical specialty studies how our emotional state affects our skin and how to reduce these stress related skin diseases by managing the underlying cause.

Next month we’ll look at psychodermatology in more depth.  Stress has a huge impact on our bodies and it’s worth exploring it in more detail.  In the meantime relax and unwind in the knowledge that The Chandler Clinic team are your local skin experts.

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