If you have a condition such as acne, eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, learning more about your skin could help you tackle it. Here are 10 skin facts we think you need to know:
1. Your skin is a barrier
Made of an outer layer, the epidermis, and a layer of soft tissue beneath that, the dermis, the skin is your body’s largest organ. It protects your body from the environment, regulates temperature and fights off infections.
2. A healthy lifestyle helps your skin
A balanced diet, with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and some lean protein, will be reflected in your complexion. Avoid too much alcohol, which can dehydrate your skin and make it look older. And smoking is a big skin sin: strong evidence links it with premature ageing.
3. Sun safety is essential
To reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature wrinkles, use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 every day. If you had a blistering sunburn before the age of 20, your risk of melanoma may be doubled. So monitor your skin for signs such as changes in moles, or new moles, and report them to your doctor.
4. Rosacea affects one in ten
With symptoms including flushing, areas of permanent redness and spots, rosacea usually affects people with fair skin, typically after 30. Rosacea can be treated with medicine, laser treatment and self-help steps, such as avoiding spicy food, too much sun and stress.
5. The wrong foods really could cause spots
Although the link between spots and diet used to be considered a myth, there’s now evidence a diet high in dairy and high-GI foods may exacerbate acne. So try switching to dairy-free foods and swapping high-GI foods like white bread and rolls for whole grain versions.
6. Eczema is linked to allergies
Some common substances that may cause your skin to react include house dust mites, pet fur and pollen, along with food such as dairy products, eggs and nuts. Eczema isn’t always caused by allergies, though – cold weather, excess washing and friction from rough fabrics can also trigger it.
7. Gentle care is better for skin
If you have any skin condition, you should always use mild cleansing products and avoid over-washing. Harsh cleansing can irritate sensitive skin and trigger over-production of sebum in oily skin.
8. Psoriasis can be linked to heart disease
There’s a theory that the inflammatory process that causes psoriasis may raise your heart risk. If you have psoriasis, which causes itchy, flaky patches of skin, speak to your doctor about keeping your heart healthy.
9. Low stress equals clear skin
Any skin condition can be aggravated by a rise in cortisol, a hormone connected to stress. Take steps to reduce it – yoga, mindfulness meditation and hobbies you love can help.
10. Facial expressions can raise your wrinkle risk
No matter how much sunscreen you slather on, if you have an expressive face, you might still get lines earlier than some others. The good news? Crow’s feet, the lines typically linked with smiling, aren’t necessarily ageing – in fact, research has found men and women with crow’s feet are considered more attractive and intelligent. So be happy!
Shop our Natural Beauty category.