Healthy Skin, how to get it

The skin is considered the largest organ of the body and has many different functions: regulation of our body temperature, protection from our environment, metabolic functions, and sensation. Without our skin we would die. Fortunately, most of us are born with healthy skin, but from the moment of birth our skin is exposed to a variety of factors that can have harmful effects. Factors that affect the health and endurance of our skin, making it susceptible to illness and premature aging, can be physical, biological, and/or chemical. Our genetic skin type, hormonal status, and immune system’s health are also important factors in the way our skin ages.

While many of us focus on topical and cosmetic products to improve our skin, more basic biological determinants play an overwhelming role in determining skin health and appearance. The eight major causes of poor skin condition, premature aging, and disease are:

1. Sun exposure
2. Malnutrition and poor food choices
3. Smoking
4. Air pollution
5. Infections
6. Food Allergies
7. Contact allergies
8. Contact irritants and toxins

The two worst environmental aging factors are sunlight and smoking. The third is nutrition; poor food choices over a lifetime can accelerate skin aging and promote a variety of disease conditions that spoil skin appearance. Excessive exposure to sunlight results in premature aging of the skin, which is often called photo-aging. As people are living longer, adding to cumulative sun exposure, avoiding and decreasing the effects of photo-aging is becoming more important. Smoking increases levels of MMP-1 (matrix metalloproteinase 1) in the skin, according to a study in 24 March Lancet. MMP-1 is a zinc-dependent metalloproteinase that degrades collagen, which is important in maintaining the mechanical/elastic properties of connective tissue in the skin.

Tips for Healthy Skin:

  • Drink plenty of water, to ensure proper hydration in your cells.
  • Try to get eight full hours of sleep a night so that your body has time to regenerate itself.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, as alcohol can dehydrate your cells.
  • Wash your face twice daily with a cleanser that is gentle on your skin.
  • Moisturize your skin, as dryness will cause the skin to produce more oil.
  • Exfoliate skin twice a week; this process helps to remove all of the dead skin cells.
  • Exercise! Do we need another reason to do this? Exercise is very important to healthy skin, because perspiration releases toxins from the cells and releases them from the body.

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