By: Amy Lindsay
Created on 25th March 2010
Our lifestyle has a direct, visible impact on our skin. By the time we hit 30, too much sun, smoking and stress will be taking their toll and our skin will be the first suffer. Amy Lindsay looks at the vices damaging your skin, and how to prevent and treat them
Cause: When we're stressed, the body releases adrenaline, which restricts blood flow to the skin, slowing cell turnover and giving us a pasty, dull complexion. Tension also causes the body's sebaceous glands go into overdrive, causing an unattractive oily sheen.
Symptoms: Symptoms of stressed skin include redness, irritation and breakouts. If stress has you scowling, repetitive frowning can also lead to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Prevention: Take time out to relax, whether having a hot bath, reading or practicing yoga. Supplement your diet with antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, tomatoes, garlic and green veggies, and make sure you're eating plenty of vitamin C to protect stressed skin cells.
Products: Products containing vitamin C, green tea or coenzyme Q10 like Nivea Visage Q10 Ant-Wrinkle Cream (£7.19; www.superdrug. com) give stressed skin a boost. Roc Multi-Correxion Day & Night Cream (£29.35, 0845 600 4477) contains retinol to increase blood flow to the skin, encouraging cell renewal and refining skin texture.
Treatments: The visible effects of stress can be remedied with LED treatments (from £100 to £300 per session) to rejuvenate the skin and stimulate collagen production. Frown lines can be improved with some plumping Botox injections. To find a practitioner in your area visit cosmeticsurgerytoday.co.uk.
Cause: Exposure to UV rays accounts for 90 per cent of the symptoms of premature skin ageing. Without protection, just a few minutes of soaking up the sunshine each day can damage collagen fibers and cause noticeable changes to your skin over the years.
Symptoms: Freckles, age spots and an uneven complexion are a clear indication of sun damaged skin. Fine wrinkles, spider veins and loose, rough or leathery skin can also be traced to sun exposure.
Prevention: Protect your skin by staying in the shade from 11 to 4 when the UV rays are at their strongest. If you have to be out in the sun, wear loose, longsleeved clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and protect your skin with a minimum SPF15 sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection.
Products: A high SPF sunscreen should be worn every day; we like Ambre Solaire Clear Protection Gel SPF30 (£13.49, available nationwide). SK-II Whitening Source DermDefinition Serum (£65, 08000 721 771) contains high doses of vitamin B3, antioxidants and vitamins to tackle pigmentation problems and alleviate age spots.
Treatments: Infrared Laser Skin Tightening treatments (from £300 to £500 per session), give skin a tighter, smoother appearance and evens out skin tone. Laser treatments remove sun-damaged cells from the skin's surface and stimulate the body to make more healthy cells.
Cause: Fluctuating hormones can play havoc with our skin. When we have PMS, a boost of oestrogen causes a surge in oil production. Conversely, a loss of oestrogen during the menopause causes a decrease in oil, leaving skin dry and saggy.
Symptoms: Expect nasty breakouts and oily skin when you're pre-menstrual. The lack of moisture in menopausal skin tends to deepen lines and wrinkles.
Prevention: Exercise boosts circulation, increasing blood flow to the skin which prevents congestion. Ensure you also wash and cleanse thoroughly to prevent blocked pores. For menopausal skin, increase your intake of skin-friendly foods such as berries (to fight wrinkles), carrots and spinach (for a boost of carotene).
Products: Origins Spot Remover (£10; www.origins.co.uk) is an oil-free treatment gel that gives an instant matte finish to shiny skin, reducing redness and banishing blemishes. For menopausal skin, look for products with hyaluronic acid or collagen to give an intense
moisture boost, such as Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (£75;www.timetospa.co.uk).
Treatments: Microdermabrasion or a thorough facial just prior to your period can help clear dirt and debris out of the pores to leave skin fresh and rejuvenated. For menopausal skin, Thermage treatments use non-invasive radiofrequency technology to boost collagen production, which plumps and firms sagging skin (from £1,500; www.thermage.com).
Cause: Faddy diets can cause chaos for the skin. A good dose of daily vitamins and minerals are necessary to maintain a healthy cellular metabolism, so skimping on nutrients and ‘good' fats will starve the skin.
Symptoms: Weight loss results in a lack of subcutaneous fat beneath the skin, which leaves skin saggy, thin and fragile. Skin can also become dehydrated and pale when lacking in vitamins.
Prevention: Protect your skin by eating foods that are rich in vitamin A (to reduce fine lines), vitamin B (to hydrate), vitamin C (to counteract free radicals) and vitamin E (to reduce sun damage). Eat plenty of ‘good' fats in nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocados, and switch usual drinks for water or antioxidantrich green tea.
Products: Evelle is a natural supplement for skin with silicon, plant extracts and bundles of vitamins and minerals. It will boost collagen production, provide valuable antioxidants and increase skin's elasticity. (£35 for 60 tablets; 0800 591756). Combine this with Weleda Skin Food (£8.50; www. weleda.co.uk) - a replenishing cream for nutrient-starved skin that repairs everyday surface damage.
Treatments: Boost your skin with a non-invasive LED treatment that activates skin cells with pulses of low-level light energy to restructure damaged skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. From £100 per session.
Cause: Late nights, a few glasses of Merlot and the odd social cigarette can lead to serious trouble for your skin. Cigarette smoking constricts the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the skin, while alcohol depletes the body's supply of vitamin A which is essential for healthy collagen production.
Symptoms: Smoking accelerates ageing, resulting in wrinkled, leathery skin and an unhealthy yellowish hue to the complexion. Alcohol leaves skin dull and dehydrated with an enhanced risk of redness, blotchiness and broken blood vessels. Sleep deprivation leaves dark circles around the eyes and makes us more prone to breakouts.
Prevention: Eat more vitamins, drink more water, rest before you party and schedule a lie-in to catch up on sleep when you get back.
Products: Use products with antioxidants, such as Biotherm Hydra-Detox Moisturizing Cream (£28; www.biotherm.co.uk), which counters the effects of environmental damage. Indulge in detoxing masks such as Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask (£39, www.blisslondon.co.uk) which instantly brightens dull, tired skin.
Treatments: Superficial chemical peels remove the dead outer layer of skin, resulting in improved skin tone and less noticeable fine lines. Injectable dermal fillers can remedy cigarette-induced wrinkles around the mouth and crows feet around the eyes that result from a lack of sleep.