Lifestyle choices that cause skin damage

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Our daily lifestyle can play a big role in how bright our complexions are, with poor choices leading to skin damage later on in life. In fact, a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people born at the same time can age at different rates.

The researchers collected data on the subjects’ kidney, liver and lung function, dental health, the blood vessels in the eyes, metabolism and immune system function at the ages of 26, 32 and 38. They measured cholesterol, fitness levels and the length of the telomeres. These are the ends of chromosomes, which have been found to shorten as we age.

The findings were enlightening. Some people aged one biological year for each chronological year of life, while others aged three years of biological life for every year lived. The impact of this accelerated ageing was seen both internally and externally. Adding to this, those whose bodies were biologically ageing more quickly than the rest were consistently rated as appearing aesthetically older.

While genetics accounts for about 20% of how we age, the rest is environmental, health and behavioural factors. We enlisted the help of Artisan treating doctor, Dr Andreas Fox to talk through some of the lifestyle factors are causing your skin damage.

Lifestyle choices that are doing your skin harm

1. Smoking

Chemicals in tobacco ultimately damage collagen and elastin; the building blocks of strength and elasticity. It also causes delayed wound healing which means poor outcomes from treatments that rely on wound healing like laser, skin needling, and Profound. You’ll also experience premature ageing from the oxidative stress of free radicals resulting from chemicals in tobacco. This includes  “smokers lines” (the vertical lines on the upper lip due to pursing of lips), increased pigmentation due to reduced oxygen supply to cells and visible veins due to the nicotine constricting blood vessels.

2. Poor diet

Good nutrition results in good health and this includes healthy skin. A lack of proteins and certain oils (omega 3, fish-based oils) will reduce production of proteins such as collagen and elastin, leading to skin damage such as sunken and sagging skin. Sugary and high fat diets can result in blemishes and even contribute to worsening acne. Lack of vitamins (A, C, E, D) can also adversely impact skin health and poor water intake can result in dehydration and drier skin.

3. Poor-quality sleep

Poor sleep results in inadequate cellular repair and regeneration which can cause dehydrated skin and an altered pH, leaving you looking lacklustre. You may also experience redness and breakouts also as a result of the above and dark circles under the eyes. You can even experience pigmentation due to dilated vessels as a result of inadequate cellular repair.

4. Stress and anxiety

Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances (release of cortisol and adrenalin). Cortisol affect skin oil productions hence why you get clogged pores and worse acne. Stress also results in increased inflammation which adversely affects skin health. You may experience aggravated psoriasis, rosacea, or eczema or have a breakout of hives and rashes.

5. A sedentary lifestyle

Exercise keeps you healthy and a healthy body/physiology is reflected in healthy skin from adequate cellular repair, regeneration, turnover. Increasing heartrate and breathing during exercise also helps better deliver nutrients and oxygen to the skin. Lack of exercise results in obesity and higher rates of cardiovascular disease both of which ultimately adversely affect skin health.

6. Sun exposure

UVA/UVA rays damage cells from oxidative stress and the release of free radicals. This leads to pigmentation and freckles as well as premature ageing reflected in wrinkles and sagginess. This is the result of cellular damage and loss of collagen and elastin. Finally, over exposure to the sun can obviously lead to skin cancer. So remember to always slip, slip, slap.


At Artisan, we take a holistic approach to treating your skin. Our experts look at every detail from your skin’s physical appearance to your genetic predispositions, environmental factors, lifestyle and overall health.

Book an appointment with our experienced clinicians today to learn more about how we can help you master the artistry of you®.

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