The killer 4 S’ on your skin and how to deal with them

The sun, sleepless nights, smoking and stress are killing your skin. This quartet has no good intentions for your skin. They will give you fine lines, wrinkles, puffy eyes, dry, flaky skin, age spots, and sagging skin.

Let’s start with the most dangerous of them all:

1) The sun

Chilling on the beach and sipping margaritas is one of the best feelings in the world. To top it off, the nice warm rays of the sun make you stretch like a lazy cat, lounging on the sofa with no care in the world.

Not to spoil the good vibes, the sun is damaging your skin. You see, the skin is made of cells, just like any other body part. Those cells are made up of atoms. If you can remember your science class, an atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

However, when exposed to excessive ultraviolet rays, the atom loses the electron. Without an electron, it is called a free radical.

The danger with a free radical is that it goes on “stealing” electrons from other healthy atoms. While those that have been “stolen” from, go on to steal from other atoms. It creates a continuing domino effect. Scientist calls it the free radical effect.

The problem is that it breaks down the connecting tissue of the skin known as collagen. This is the protein that holds up the skin making it look supple. When it breaks down fine lines and wrinkles appear.

Fortunately, we are not at the mercies of the sun. For protection, always apply sunscreen before hitting the outdoors even in cloudy weather. Secondly, wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves shirts, wear pants vis a vie shorts, carry an umbrella and don a pair of sunglasses. It may dull your fashion, but you and I know you don’t want wrinkles.

2) Smoking

Puff, puff, pass! Puff, puff, pass! Imagine once upon a time smoking was considered cool. Wow! Thank God times have changed. Did you know cigarette smoking is one of the most aging vices you could ever indulge in?

For starters, tobacco smoke has over 7000 chemicals. Carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, tar, and nicotine are among them. These chemicals have been linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and pulmonary diseases.

It does not stop there, nicotine causes the blood vessels on the outer most part of the skin (epidermis) to be narrow. Unfortunately, there is reduced blood flow on to the skin. Add onto that, carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen circulating in the skin, the effects are disastrous.

As a result, the skin becomes dry, it is not able to repair itself because vitamin C does not reach it as it should, the skin looks lethargic and gray, and sadly it loses its natural glow. The worst part is that the skin begins aging prematurely and wrinkles show up. The horror!

On the whole, smoking is one of those bad habits that is difficult to kick. However, not to despair, there are treatment programs that can help to treat the addiction. The good thing is you can kick the habit and regain your good looks. Also, for social reasons. Research has shown most people would not date smokers. I hope love will nudge you to drop the butt.

3) Sleep

The third killer S is sleepless nights. Believe you me, beauty sleep is very real. And you want to get at least 6 hours of Zzz’s. Note that, the body repairs itself during the night. The skin is also included. New collagen is produced while we sleep and maintain the skin to be supple and plump. Additionally, a good night sleep also gives your skin that natural glow that we all want.

On the hand, the classical puffy eyes will be your morning face if you skip on some shut-eye. Those bags under the eyes are unfaltering, to say the least. Also, it speeds the appearance of crow’s feet around the eye. Which is one of the most telltale signs of aging. The good news is that with a good night sleep, you can prevent those lines from appearing before their time.

4) Stress

Sadly, stress is the silent killer of our time. The pressures of life have become too much in this day and age. From pursuing careers to raising families, to dealing with life challenges such as divorce, joblessness and even poor health have greatly affected people’s well-being.

The anxieties have a toll on the body. It follows that when the body is stressed it produces cortisol hormone. One of the effects of the hormone is that it triggers excess production of oil from the sebaceous glands in the skin. Being the case, breakouts of acne are very common during stress. Moreover, it worsens other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

This stress hormone further interferes with the quality of sleep. Consequently, it aggravates the skin condition and continues in a vicious cycle.

It is important to note that stress is going to be part of our day to day lives. We cannot run away and hide. However, we can take up coping strategies to deal with it.

Firstly, do not isolate. Always have a support system that you can draw fortitude from in this journey we call life. Secondly, get moving. By exercising, you release the feel-good hormones (endorphins) that make you feel positive about life.

Having a good night rest and eating healthy will greatly improve the condition. However, it feels overwhelming; seek professional help from a counselor who can guide you on how to manage the condition.

Something to keep in mind

These 4’S are dangerous for your skin. They will cause you to age before your time. It is important to be aware of them and start on ways to manage them. Above all, maintain a healthy lifestyle; eat healthy, exercise, and have time to connect with the ones you love.




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