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While we’d all love to believe that our skin’s good health simply comes down to the creams we apply, there are a number of external and internal factors that also play a role. From our genes to our diet and even sleeping habits, here are the elements you can’t control, some that you can and the ways you can do it.
Just as genetics play a large role in determining your hair and eye colour, your skin type and its overall condition are also credited to them. If you have oily skin, it’s likely that one of your parents does too.
From puberty to the menopause, your hormones can have a big impact on your skin, whatever your age. As testosterone, which determines how much sebum the skin’s sebaceous glands produce, is at its highest during adolescence for men, this is when you are more likely to experience large pores, acne and blemishes.
Declining oestrogen levels and your body producing too much androgen (like testosterone) during perimenopause, which generally starts in women in their mid to late forties, can also cause skin that was previously balanced to become oily and prone to blemishes. Post and during menopause, oestrogen levels, which are linked to skin-smoothing collagen production, also decrease by as much as 30 per cent during the first five years, resulting in dryness and dullness.
Seasonal changes can have a significant impact on your skin’s condition. Hot days and humid climates can be particularly tricky for those that have oily skin as they encourage sweating and oil production. Thoroughly cleansing with non-comedogenic products is key to clear pores and prevent congestion.
Colder temperatures can also dry out sensitive and dry skin even more, making it feel uncomfortable and itchy. As your skin barrier needs to stay hydrated to function and protect your body from environmental factors, you’ll want to layer up on ceramide-rich products and hydrating formulas in the winter months.
As UV exposure is the biggest cause of skin ageing, sunscreen is also essential even when the sun isn’t shining in the sky. Wear a high broad-spectrum protection daily to reduce the likelihood of fine lines and wrinkles from forming.
The Wrong Skincare
Matching your skin to the right skincare routine is extremely important, as failing to do so could exacerbate your skin concern. To avoid weakening an already compromised skin barrier function, steer clear of harsh, stripping skincare and look for nourishing products that will replenish and trap moisture. Restore balance to combination and oily skin with mild cleansers and toners that clear the skin of dirt, oil and impurities without removing essential moisture. Avoid over-washing and coarse exfoliators too, which can dry out your skin and cause your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil to compensate.
Beauty sleep is a real thing. Your skin works its hardest during your body’s natural overnight recovery process. Getting a good amount of shut-eye helps your skin cells to regenerate and allows you to wake looking refreshed – especially if you have layered on moisturisers and oils with skin-replenishing ingredients before bed.
You are what you eat has never been truer than for your skin. A balanced diet packed full of vitamin-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins is as important to your skin’s health as the products you put on it.
For a healthy, glowing complexion, incorporate fruits and vegetables rich in colour (oranges and reds) and therefore vitamin A to support cell reproduction and vitamin C, which helps collagen production and protects your skin from free radical damage and premature ageing. Omega-3 fatty acids that you can get from fish and nuts are also important for good skin health and a healthy skin barrier function. You can also get your Omegas from leafy greens, tofu and chia seeds.
How To Protect Your Skin
As its name suggests, the skin barrier function plays an important role in protecting you from environmental threats. As well as trapping moisture in, it also stops irritants, pollution and UV exposure getting in. To avoid a weakened and compromised barrier function, keep your skin clean and hydrated with a gentle cleanser that removes dirt and excess oil but doesn’t strip your skin of moisture, like our soothing Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser. Applying a layer of our “ultra hydrator”, our Ultra Facial Cream, which is rich in squalane and glacial glycoprotein, morning and night can help restore your barrier function. Think of this as a superfood for your skin barrier function! It also provides lasting hydration in everyday and extreme environments.