BROUGHT TO YOU BY BUPA GLOBAL
Measuring up to two square metres if laid out, our skin is the largest organ in the body1 – and it needs a lot more looking after than you might think! What with pollution, long working hours, and elevated stress levels, our skin quickly becomes an outward indicator in reflection to the lifestyle we live. But don’t give up all hope just yet, all you need to do is feed your skin with the right “fuel”, take on a protective, pre-emptive regime, and your skin will be glowing in no time. Don’t believe us? Check out what beauty editor, Stephanie Maylor, has to say as she offers us some top tips on how to have healthier looking (and feeling) skin.
What Affects Your Skin?
Plummeting temperatures, wind, and central heating impairs the skin’s barrier function, leaving it open to dehydration, dullness, and sensitivity.
Eat: Oily fish is full of essential fatty acids, which reduces moisture loss and helps to plump up the skin
Use: A rich, cleansing balm is sometimes all it takes to help skin adjust to the colder, drier weather. Don’t forgo a daily SPF (15 minimum with four-star UVA protection2), especially if you’re taking a winter vacation – nearly 80 percent of UV radiation is reflected from snow, versus 25 percent from sand3.
Increased oil production can cause congestion, while air conditioning strips vital moisture in the air. The heat can also trigger sensitive skins and eczema, so try to avoid overheating.
Eat: Tomatoes – a study by Newcastle University found that people who consumed a quarter cup of tomato paste a day experienced less sunburn, owing to the UV-fighting lycopene4.
Use: A light foaming cleanser will purify sweat and excess sebum from pores. Look for serums and moisturisers with hyaluronic acid – this magic molecule holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Use non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) skincare products and make-up where possible, particularly if you have oily, acne-prone skin.
Flying: Cabin humidity can be as low as 10 percent5, compared to the average UK humidity of 50 percent. This dry air leads to a dip in your skin’s moisture levels, meaning you can disembark feeling “tight-faced” and flaky.
Car: While windows filter UVB rays – the ultraviolet light that causes skin to burn – they don’t defend against UVA. These long-wave rays are responsible for skin ageing and increasing the risk of skin cancer6.
Computer: Computer screens emit high-energy visible light (known as blue light), which can cause hyperpigmentation.
Smartphone: In 2016, smartphone users spent at least an hour a day, on average, glued to their devices7. This repetitive, head-down activity commonly referred to as “tech neck”, can accelerate ageing across the neck and décolletage, causing creases, wrinkles, and sagging.
Skin Conditions in UK
Despite skin issues being one of UK’s top confidence killers, a BUPA Health Clinic survey8 found that 89 percent of Brits don’t actually seek out expert advice on treatment, even though 34 million people in Britain have difficulty dealing with complicated skin conditions in their lifetime. Not only that, it’s also been calculated that the British population spend roughly £369 million every month on short-term solutions to issues such as eczema, dry skin, and acne.
What’s Your Skin Type?
With any skin regime, it is important to find out what skin type you are first in order to sooth and treat your skin accordingly. Not only does skincare differ between skin types, but also gender too. While men have larger pores and increased oil production that results in longer-lasting acne, their skin is also 25 percent thicker than women9, who tend to have a lower collagen density that causes their skin to appear as much as 15 years older10 than men of the same age. Women also have to deal with hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause that contribute towards skin discolouration (hyperpigmentation).
Maintain optimum skin health with a daily application of sunscreen.
Check the ingredients list of any products for linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that helps repair barrier function and lock in moisture.
Use alcohol and fragrance-free formulas to prevent flare-ups.
Cleanse with micellar water, which unclogs pores while maintaining the skin’s moisture barrier.
Use an oil-free moisturiser to hydrate without exacerbating excess sebum.
Ways to Boost Your Skin’s Health
Seek expert help
Don’t let a persistent skin condition affect your quality of life. Book an appointment with your GP or dermatologist.
Use daily SPF
Light exposure accounts for 80 percent of premature ageing11. Look for products that contain sunscreen, even if it’s not sunny.
Exfoliate once or twice a week
A face scrub manually loosens dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid, slough the surface and stimulate cell renewal.
Double-cleanse in the evening
The first wash removes make-up and dirt, while the second cleanses pores.
Use targeted day and night products
The skincare you apply in the morning should be geared towards protection. At night, skin is better able to absorb the products, so opt for serum, eye cream, or a rich night cream.
As well as damaging your general health, smoking has an enormous impact on the appearance and health of your skin. However, the effects are reversible to a certain extent, so damage can be minimised.
Drink plenty of water12
Your skin is an organ made up of cells that need water to function efficiently. Dehydrated skin reveals itself through fine lines and flakiness, but drinking (and eating) the equivalent of 11.5 cups of water a day for women, and 15.5 cups for men, can help your skin thrive.
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