Moisturisers and anti-ageing treatments are part of your beauty routine, but it’s also important to take lifestyle factors into account. We look at the five worst crimes you can commit against your skin.
Ané Theron counts down …
5. SUGAR CONSUMPTION Who knew that sugar can give you wrinkles? ‘In a nutshell, sugar hastens the degradation of elastin and collagen through a process called glycation. In other words, it actively ages you,’ says world-famous dermatologist, Dr Frederic Brandt, who counts Madonna and Cher among his clients. He believes that by banishing sugar from your diet, you can turn back the clock significantly and improve the texture, tone and radiance of your skin.
4. TOO LITTLE SLEEP Not getting your beauty sleep makes skin spotty and dehydrated. When you don’t sleep enough, your body goes into a state of inflammation-causing stress. This is when acne flare-ups can occur, and if your skin doesn’t rest, it can’t renew itself, causing skin to look lined and dull. A sleep-deprived brain will also signal your body that it’s hungry, making you crave high-calorie, nutrient-deficient foods. Going to bed at a sensible hour is one of the best investments you can make.
3. DRINKING Alcohol damages your skin by severely dehydrating it, leaving it dull, dry and therefore lined. If you knock back the drinks regularly, chances are high you’ll get a face full of (permanently) broken capillaries. You’ll also deplete vital vitamin A which protects collagen, keeping skin plump and elastic. The solution? If you can’t bear to give up altogether, switch to red wine, which contains antioxidants, and drink it in moderation – no more than a glass or two. (It’s more sophisticated anyway.)
2. SMOKING Smoking adds years to the skin. It starves your skin of oxygen and vital nutrients like vitamin A (for cell turnover) and vitamin C (for collagen synthesis) which shield your skin from damage. And whether you smoke actively or passively, the damage is the same: the classic ‘smoker’s face’ which has grey, sallow skin and deep lines around the eyes and mouth from puckering and squinting. Excellent incentive for quitting immediately!
‘For smokers, middle age starts in the early 30′s as the tell-tale wrinkles around the mouth and eyes begin to appear. Young female smokers are likely to be wasting their money on anti-aging face creams if they continue to smoke.’ Amanda Sandford, Action on Smoking Health
1. TANNING There’s no such thing as a healthy tan, even if brown flab looks better than white flab. Your skin needs only 20 unprotected minutes a day to make vital vitamin D. Anything more will eventually add years to your body and face by breaking down collagen and elastin fibres which keep your skin and body looking firm and taut. Apart from increasing your chances of developing deadly skin cancer, sun damage can also cause unsightly spider veins, enlarged pores, uneven pigmentation, worsen cellulite (eek!) and of course, wrinkles. A tan from a can is still your best bet.