POSTED: 7 May 2016


‘Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.’ Coco Chanel

 Coco Chanel’s quote is a reminder that at some point in our lives our lifestyle and environment starts to show in our appearance. With that in mind, this week we will share the seven deadly sins of skin care and hope that we can inspire you with our skin care advise to reduce a few or even all of them.

1. Sun beds

In our view this is the worst of the seven deadly sins and our top skin care advise is to stop using them! There is plenty of evidence to show that using sun beds causes skin cancer. Just ten minutes in a sun bed can be equivalent to spending a whole day in the sun and few people would spend a day on the beach without wearing sunscreen! The widely held view that using a sun bed before a trip to the beach will protection against further sun damage is also wrong. And since we are on the topic of UV rays…

2. Unprotected exposure to the sun

It’s true that soaking up sunshine keeps our teeth and bones healthy by stimulating the production of vitamin D in the body. UV rays, however, destroy the fibres that keep skin looking firm and supple, which leads to signs of premature ageing including dry leathery skin, freckles, wrinkles and blotches. There are even more serious risks associated with sunbathing as exposure to ultraviolet light alters cellular DNA and other skin proteins thereby increasing the risk of developing skin cancer.  If you are going out in the sun, make sure you slap on a hat and slather on SPF 30+ sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage! For advise about how you can incorporate this into your everyday routine, check out our skincare routines pages.

3. Smoking

If you smoke, you probably already know that you need to quit. Smoking causes mouth, throat and lung cancer as well as increasing your risk of heart disease. Need more motivation to go cold turkey? Here you go…smoking irreversibly damages your looks. Puffing on a cigarette constricts blood flow which starves our skin of oxygen and causes premature ageing. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and many of them are damaging to collagen and elastin, which are fibres that give your skin elasticity and suppleness. Smoking also depletes our body of vitamins and other nutrients, which impedes the production of collagen in the body, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Repetitive pursing of the lips when sucking on a cigarette can also contribute to hollow cheeks, crow’s feet and a wrinkled upper lip. Thankfully, there are a number of ways and a lot of support out there for help quitting smoking.

4. Alcohol

Spring is here and summer is near! While you’re lying on a beach this summer, enjoying a glass of wine or sipping a cocktail, you should be aware that your skin is at risk from both the sun’s rays (see our first deadly skin above) and that delicious alcoholic beverage in your hand.

Alcohol is a diuretic that sends water to your bladder instead of your organs. Since the skin is the largest organ in the body, if it is starved of water it is more likely to wrinkle, resulting in premature ageing. Dilation of the blood vessels beneath the surface of your skin is another side effect of alcohol, causing redness or flushing of the skin. Abuse of alcohol can make this permanent, resulting in an unhealthy-looking complexion. That is not to say you can’t enjoy a drink, just be aware of the limits and ensure that you keep well hydrated.

5. Stress

Stress triggers a hormone called cortisol which, in high doses, causes the skin to become thinner, making wrinkles and blood vessels under the skin more visible. Stress can also make underlying skin problems like acne or eczema worse. Indirectly, the effects of stress can lead to reduced sleep, poor nutrition, smoking and excess drinking which all have negative effects on your general health, mental well being and of course skin.

6. Lack of sleep

With work deadlines, a busy social calendar and an ever improving selection of on-demand tv series to binge on, it’s no wonder that many people are sleep deprived. Skin repairs itself while your sleep and cutting short your beauty sleep is certain to leave you with dark circles under your eyes, puffy skin and blemishes, wrinkles and lines. Try to avoid caffeine for a few hours before bedtime, and put down that phone or laptop to make sure you get the beauty sleep that your skin needs to look its best.

7. Dehydration

Do you spend all day in an air-conditioned office? If the air conditioned air is too dry, as is usually the case, water evaporation from the upper layers of the skin will result in dry skin. The various signs of dehydrated skin are: irritation, inflammation, itchiness and sensitivity, a feeling of tightness, a roughness, slight to severe flaking and scaling and also premature signs of ageing. Drink plenty of water and avoid spending too much time in harsh environmental conditions like bright sunlight and cold wind.

Its never too late to clean up your act and treat your skin with the care it deserves. Even small modifications can improve your skin health in a big way whilst the wrinkles, skin discolouration already there can be improved with noninvasive treatments like dermal fillers, chemical peels and dermaroller.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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