Without meaning to panic you or sounding too melodramatic, your skin is under attack daily. A near-constant onslaught of pollution, grime and stress can make you appear old before your time; but only if you let it. Look after your skin and watch out for the factors that are harming your complexion.
Here we round up your skin’s biggest enemies, and what you can do to defeat them.
The grime from your daily commute literally clogs up your pores. More than that, microscopic toxins from traffic, power plants and other sources of pollution can cause oxidative stress (which ages your skin permanently) and can even cause tiny holes in the skin’s surface.
SEE ALSO: Is it okay to go grey?
Tip: As well as washing and moisturising every night, city boys should keep wipes at their desk. You don’t need water, and they work a bit like a sanitiser to refresh your skin. Cleaning your face is both a physical and psychological thing. You will feel better once you have cleansed your face (trust us!). Don’t forget to moisturise afterwards to stop your skin from feeling tight.
2. The Sun
Summer is coming! While that is undeniably a cause for celebration, dancing, late afternoons in the pub and street parties spare a thought for any unprotected skin cells, which are burned by the sun.
The sun causes 90% of skin ageing and your risk of skin cancer is magnified if you regularly let yourself bake in the sun!
Tip: Use an SPF any time your skin is exposed to the sun, but during the height of the summer, use a higher SPF.
Don’t fall into that (sun) trap of putting on a high sunscreen and thinking you are set for the day. You will need to reapply often (at least every 2 hours). You can often miss patches and it washes off when you sweat or swim.
While you may be thinking that stress is just a psychological issue, it can have profound effects physically on your heart, blood pressure and gut health. It also impacts on your skin big time, with research linking stress to a range of skin issues such as; acne, eczema, hives and even psoriasis.
Tip: Unwind before bed times, leaving your phone and computer away from your bedroom. Try breathing exercises to help relax the body and focus the body on any muscle tension.
In cases of chronic stress, you have to identify the source and find a way of dealing with it. If, for example, your workload is the root of it all, meditation, yoga and other tools can only help so much.
As the sun shines, the swimming pool is waiting for you to jump in! But unless you are swimming in the wild, every dip you take exposes your skin to high levels of chlorine. This can cause your skin to become irritated, dry, itchy and patchy.
Tip: Shower properly before you get into the pool as this reduces any toxic reactions you could potentially have with the chlorine from shampoos, fragrances and skin products you may be using.
Wet your hair with non-chlorinated water prior to swimming, which also lessens the amount of the element that can be absorbed.
When you leave the pool, thoroughly rinse your hair and body. If you have any repeat reactions, use special formulated shampoos to help with chlorinated water. Moisture again when you are thoroughly dried off to replace and hold in moisture.
5. Drinking coffee
Before you pick up your next ‘on the go’ coffee before heading to the office you might want to read this. Caffeine is a major culprit when it comes to dry skin and the magnification of wrinkles and fine lines.
Tip: Limit your caffeine intake to 2 cups a day, as this is more than enough for your skin to handle!
Quench skin by drinking lots of water (at least 2.5 litres a day and especially more in the summer months). Add fruit slices such as orange or lemon to enhance the flavour.