Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan on July 4, 2022
Best Skin Care Tips to Heal Damaged Skin
Published | 7 min read
Without a proper skin care routine, your skin barrier may become damaged due to environmental factors such as air pollution, sun exposure, and even stress. Here's how to keep your skin healthy and youthful against factors that are out of your control.
You’ve probably heard that
Things like climate change, stress, and air pollution may be causing damage to your skin’s barrier. This can lead to dry, cracked, and damaged skin that causes you to look (and feel) aged.
In this guide, we’ll expose some of the most common environmental factors that cause damage to your skin. Our experts also provide their best skin care tips to help stop the damage in its tracks.
Why Is Skin Care Important?
As the topmost layer of the epidermis, the skin barrier is your body’s first line of defense against external pathogens like germs and bacteria. Though it plays a huge role as a strong protector to other layers of the skin such as the dermis and hypodermis, it is also vulnerable.
Since it’s utterly exposed to the environment, the skin barrier is susceptible to irritations. When it’s damaged, your body’s shield weakens and outside factors can harm the health of your skin as a whole.
6 Factors That Damage Your Skin
Following a study on identical twins, experts have discovered that up to 60% of skin aging is influenced by genetics. In contrast, the remaining 40% is determined by outside factors like smoking and sun exposure. Both genetics and the environment can affect the appearance of your skin.
Here are six factors that may damage your skin:
Some foods may cause various skin problems. For example, research shows that dairy may worsen acne, as well as high glycemic foods such as white bread and white rice.
Sugar and fried foods are also responsible for
The brain and skin are more connected than you think. When we’re under pressure, stress hormones released by the brain and adrenal glands can negatively impact the skin.
These hormones can trigger skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, patchy hair loss, itching, and rashes. It can also slow the wound-healing process and speed up skin aging.
Allergens in skin care products
Eczema is often treated with
The allergy can manifest as rashes, hives, itches, peeling skin, and swelling. In more serious cases, these allergens can cause breathing problems.
When it interacts with immune system cells called the T cells, it can set off an immune response and, therefore, an allergic reaction.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are five common allergens in skincare:
- Natural rubber or latex
- Dyes or color additives (for example, in hair dyes or black henna tattoos)
- Metals such as nickel and gold
Products made from natural ingredients aren’t always safe. For example, Peru balsam (tree oil) is composed of benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate, and rose essential oil consists of farnesol. Each of these chemicals can stimulate T cells.
Research on women has shown that the more extreme the climate fluctuates, the greater the damage to the skin barrier.
In some areas where the difference between summer and winter is intense, the women in the study have decreased skin hydration. In winter, they also have higher skin pH (water-to-oil balance) and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Together, these aspects cause dry skin.
Meanwhile, because the climate difference in other parts of the world is minimal, the amount of sebum secretion in these women is almost the same.
However, the skin naturally produces more sebum in summer, causing oily skin. The result of the study proves that drastic climate changes can induce skin barrier damage.
Therefore, if you live in an area where the weather changes a lot, you may need to take extra steps to protect your skin.
Pollutants enter our skin either through direct contact or absorption by hair follicles and sweat ducts.
Cigarette smoke and dirt from city traffic have been known to cause signs of premature aging like pigment spots and wrinkles to appear.
Other skin conditions associated with air pollution are acne and eczema.
More recently, a pollutant called cadmium that is usually found in batteries or television sets has been detected in psoriasis patient’s blood. This indicates that cadmium worsens the symptoms of psoriasis.
There’s probably no bigger threat to our skin barrier than the sun itself. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) brings terrible consequences, causing premature aging, melasma (hyperpigmentation), and skin cancer.
UVR is divided into three parts based on wavelengths: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While ozone layers and oxygen absorb UVC before they reach Earth, UVA and UVB are able to penetrate the human skin, inducing gene alterations or immunosuppression.
As if this isn’t distressing enough, there’s also global warming to worry about.
Skin Care Tips That Protect Your Skin Barrier
There are several things we can do to deal with environmental factors that are hurting our skin.
Eat a healthy diet
TCM usually recommends Bird’s Nest
Besides sunscreen, applying skin care products with topical antioxidants like vitamins A, B3, C and E may help. Beauty supplements containing g
Use gentle skincare products
Cleanse and moisturize skin with a line of gentle calming relief herbal skincare products that won’t irritate skin and can help reduce inflammation.
Try a patch test
If you have sensitive skin or a history of allergies, you might want to get a patch test. This test will indicate the substances that you’re allergic to. It can help you choose the right skin care products.
Constant contact with high levels of stress will spoil your skin barrier, leaving you at risk of various diseases and conditions. With the addition of well-balanced meals, high-quality skin care products and an active mind, you can obtain a healthy skin barrier that will in turn protect your body.
Follow these steps to ensure you lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle, and your skin will thank you for it. But if you have tried all means to improve your skin and require further advice, seek the assistance of your medical practitioner or TCM specialist so they can recommend the best course of treatment for you.
This is an adaptation of an article, ”6 Environmental Factors Affecting Skin”, which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2014. Genetic polymorphisms and skin aging: the identification of population genotypic groups holds potential for personalized treatments
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2014. Diet and Dermatology
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2014. Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging
- National Institutes of Health. 2020. Understanding allergic reactions to skincare products
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2022. Allergens in Cosmetics
- Scientific Research. 2017. The Effects of Regional Climate and Aging on Seasonal Variations in Chinese Women’s Skin Characteristics
- Science Direct. 2020. Air pollution and skin disorders
- Frontiers. 2014. Air pollution and the skin
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