Are these 4 daily habits wreaking havoc on your skin?

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  • Is Netflix making your skin age?

    There are some habits we indulge in every day that can become seriously harmful to our skin, without us even knowing it. In fact, most of our skin problems come down to our own behaviour. So before you try to combat skin issues with a whole lot of topical creams, check whether one of these common habits is to blame…

    Screen time

    ‘There seems to be emerging evidence that light from cell phones and computer screens, which is referred to as high energy visible light (HEV wavelength of 4-500 NM), can in fact penetrate into the deeper levels of the skin’, says Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall from The Harley Medical Group. 

    ‘This results in free radical damage that is up-regulating an enzyme MMP-1. This enzyme breaks down skin collagen and elastin, the structures that keep the skin firm and youthful, leading to the development of fine lines and wrinkles, not to mention sagging skin.’

    ‘It is also worth noting that using a laptop or phone outdoors causes an increase in exposure to UVB and UVA light due to the reflective qualities of the screen’, says Dr Hextall. ‘This increased concentration of UV exposure along with the exposure to HEV light is prompting experts to strongly recommend covering up skin and wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen whilst using them outside.’

    How to fix it? Wear sun protection every day. (Our edit of the best sun cream should help if you’re stuck for inspo.) Even if you’re sitting inside, UVA (the ageing rays) can penetrate through glass, breaking down the collagen in your skin.

    Drinking coffee
    Like most things in life, all good things should be had in moderation, including your morning brew. Small quantities of caffeine may actually be beneficial for your skin but if you’re downing several cups of the stuff a day, you might be causing damage to your skin. 

    ‘Caffeine junkies who regularly guzzle tea and coffee throughout the day are more prone to dry and dehydrated skin as caffeine has a diuretic effect and draws water out of our cells’, says Dr Anita Sturnham. ‘This can leave you with dull and lifeless looking skin.’

    Caffeine can also trigger off a condition called rosacea, where sufferers experience redness, dryness and skin sensitivity.

    How to fix it? For approximately every 100 milligrams of caffeine you consume – for instance, the approximate amount in one cup of coffee or two cups of black tea – you should drink an additional cup of water to compensate for the diuretic effect.

    Your daily commute
    ‘We now know that pollution can have detrimental effects on our skin and many specialists believe that pollution could be even more damaging than UV rays,’ explains Dr Sturnham. 

    Studies have found that women who live in the city can age up to 10% faster than those living in a rural area.

    ‘When it comes to living in a city, smog, dirt and environmental chemicals and dusts can have an irritant and drying effect on the skin, can clog pores and stimulate bacterial growth, increasing the risk of acne and rosacea along with irritant skin conditions. Free radicals can deplete oxygen in skin cells and reduce collagen production. This can lead to premature ageing and the appearance of pigmentation, sunspots, lines and wrinkles, along with dry, dull and lifeless skin’, says Dr Sturnham.

    How to fix it? Wear an anti-oxidant rich moisturiser like Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil, £29.50, whichcombines the concentrated benefits of Glycablend™ with antioxidant co-enzyme Q10 and tamanu, macadamia and black caraway seed oils to boost collagen and elastin production, while protecting against free radical damage. Find the best moisturiser for your skin type by taking this quiz.

    Skipping the gym
    Exercise reduces our risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes but we also know that it can be vital for healthy and radiant skin.  

    ‘When we exercise we improve our vascular health and every organ in our body, including our skin, gets a healthier blood supply as a result’, says Dr Sturnham. ‘Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin and helps to reduce the free radicals floating around in the skin. This in turn helps to speed up skin cell repair and reduce damage.’

    Exercise also reduces stress, which can cause skin issues like acne.

    ‘If we don’t exercise, our stress hormone “cortisol” can be extremely high and this increases our risk of developing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, oily skin’, says Dr Sturnham. ‘It’s also been linked to a breakdown in our healthy collagen supplies.’

    How to fix it? Sign yourself up to a class, so you’re locked in. If you can’t bear the thought of running on a treadmill, book into TRX core at Heartcore. The moves will get your heart rate up and work every muscle in your body.

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