What are the culprits that damage your skin? Unfortunately, your skin can be damaged by more factors than you realize. The skin is the body’s largest organ, yet it is far more sensitive to the effects of its environment than we realize. Skin can be affected by anything from the sun to the facial expressions you make and everything in between. By informing yourself of the potential culprits that can most affect your skin, you can better protect it, improve its condition, or even enhance its appearance.

By combining preventative knowledge and the high-quality treatments offered from Front Range Dermatology Associates, your trusted cosmetic dermatologist in Fort Collins, you can extend and enrich the health and appearance of your skin. Be aware of the following five most common factors that can affect the condition of your skin:

1. Excessive Sun Exposure

By far, sun exposure is the most significant cause of skin damage. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can affect the amounts of collagen, elastin, and melanocytes in your skin, which affect smoothness, elasticity, and pigmentation. As your skin loses these important proteins, it can develop wrinkles and brown age spots. Excessive and unprotected sun exposure is also the leading cause of skin cancer.

The sun does cause damage, but sunlight also encourages the body to produce vitamin D, which can provide many health benefits including protection against cancer. To absorb the benefits of sunlight while still protecting against the negative effects it has on your skin, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 that will protect against UVA and UVB rays.

You may also try to avoid spending extended hours in the sun on a regular basis, particularly during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest. The strength of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to the production of free radicals, which damage DNA and the skin. You can fight the effects of free radicals by protecting yourself from excessive exposure to the sun and maintaining a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

2. Smoking Cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes constricts your blood vessels limiting the amount of oxygen or nutrients the skin can receive. Without proper amounts of oxygen or enough nutrients, the skin becomes unhealthy and will lose elasticity causing it to wrinkle more and sag easier. Because the skin does not have the nutrients it needs, smokers often find that their skin takes longer to heal, is duller or even gray in appearance, and will dry out easily.

Follow this link to learn more about how smoking cigarettes can affect your appearance.

3. Chemical Irritants

Chemical irritants, such as the substances found in everyday cleaning products, soaps, or laundry detergents, can also be one of the major culprits that damage your skin. Chemicals, including ammonia or bleach, can irritate your skin causing dryness, redness, or even rashes. Chemical irritants also cause dermatitis, which can result in irritation along with scaling and even burning. You can avoid the damage caused by chemical irritants by wearing gloves when you are cleaning or doing the dishes, investing in higher quality cleaners and detergents with a lower amount of potential irritants. Take the time to read the ingredients in any product you buy, so that if you experience a reaction, you will be able to identify a common culprit.

4. An Unhealthy Diet

Just as the foods and drinks you consume can affect your overall health and wellbeing, a poor diet can have a negative effect on the condition of your skin. Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals will promote healthy skin, helping you to avoid some common and preventable skin conditions. Diets with high amounts of sugary, fatty or processed foods have been linked to accelerated aging of the skin along with other forms of skin damage.

Low water intake can also cause damage to your skin. Skin that is not sufficiently hydrated is prone to wrinkles along with other conditions such as acne. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day can help to increase the production of collagen as it also clears toxins from the body giving you healthier, glowing skin.

High alcohol consumption is another factor that can damage the condition of your skin. Alcohol dehydrates the skin causing it to age and wrinkle quicker.

5. Repetitive Facial Movements and Expressions

People often have a facial expression that they are known for or sets them apart, but these repetitive movements can also cause damage to the skin. Continually moving your face in a repeated manner, like when you smile or laugh or even frown, will cause the facial muscles used to persistently contract leading to fine lines and wrinkles in those specific areas. While you shouldn’t limit the amount of smiling you do in a day, you can invest in sunscreen to protect your skin or products that help to prevent wrinkles.

Cosmetic dermatology procedures from Front Range Dermatology Associates such as Botox, Dermal Fillers, Microneedling, IPL, or PRP can also go a long way in helping to combat the culprits that damage your skin. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with our cosmetic dermatologist.