With the skincare industry expected to reach $130 Billion by 2019, it’s safe to say that the concern for your skin is not just yours alone. There are hundreds of medical reasons why your skin may not be as you want it to be, with the most common in the United States being acne, eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea. Your skin is your largest organ, so you can almost bet that it indicates when there is an underlying issue. While all of the aforementioned issues should be treated by a medical professional, there may be some other factors in your daily life that are affecting the condition of your skin.
- Dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your skin will react in two possible ways. It will become dry and inflexible, or you can over-produce oil. Both circumstances can lead to redness, inflammation, dry patches, brittleness, and even itching. Be sure to consume enough pure water every day to flood your skin’s cells to aid in the rejuvenation process.
- Diet. As the old adage exclaims, you are what you eat. Eating too many foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates can create acne breakouts. The sugars themselves don’t cause the issue, it’s how our body reacts to it. We’re not meant to over-indulge on simple carbohydrates (bread, pasta, sweets, etc.) so our insulin levels will fluctuate when our body is trying to digest these sugars. This creates a hormonal imbalance which can turn to a development of acne and dull-looking skin. Balance your nutrition with protein, fresh vegetables, and complex carbs, like from legumes, to help regulate your blood sugar.
- Phthalates and Artificial Fragrances. In our daily lives, we inhale thousands of particles of unhealthy fragrance. From canned air fresheners to cleaners, to scented and harsh detergents, we’re breathing in the unhealthy air all the time. Minimize the use of phthalate-rich products by switching to phthalate-free products (like our soy candles), and avoid using artificially fragranced products on your face. We created the Resting Beach Face soap using essential oils because they minimize the risk of skin reaction, but every person is different and should monitor how he/she reacts to various fragrances.
- Your Face Wash or Toner. Many commercial face washes and toners use harsh surfactants, parabens, phthalates, and detergents to cleanse your skin. While these products may be effective for some people, many people don’t need such harsh cleansing ingredients for their daily life. Try switching to a natural face wash that is skin-sensitive and moisturizing; you want the product to be a soap, but not a detergent which can cause irritation. The same goes for facial toners; they may be too harsh with ingredients like salicylic acid. While salicylic acid is a useful chemical if you’re suffering from acne, we often only need to tone the portion of our face with the acne with these products. Instead, try using micellar water or hydrogen peroxide once per week which kills bacteria (one of the main culprits of skin issues). Don’t overuse hydrogen peroxide, though! While it’s killing off the bacteria on your skin, it’s also damaging some skin cells. Follow-up with a gentle moisturizer that contains oils rich in Vitamin E and C.
- Dirty Pillows, Jackets, & Scarves. You may not realize it, but your pillow is dirty! From sleeping on it every day, a normal pillow will have the remains of dead skin, drool, oil, hair products, make-up (don’t lie, you’ve gone to sleep without washing your face once or twice). This build-up all rubs into your skin while you sleep! The same goes for the collar of your jacket and your scarves. Just be sure to wash these items regularly (ideally would be once-per-week) to keep a clean environment for your face.
- Your Cell Phone. You touch your cell phone hundreds of times per day. Sometimes your hands are clean, sometimes they’re not. You stick your phone in your purse, your pocket, your hoodie, tables, hand it over to your kid who wants to play a game, use it in the restroom… all of this causes millions of various germs to grow on your phone. Then, that one time you go to answer it, poof, that’s all over your face! First thing is to keep your phone in a case to avoid all of those germs to actually get into your phone; this makes it much easier to clean, also. Then clean your phone case with rubbing alcohol every day (or, at least as often as you can remember!).
- Your Hands. You probably touch your face dozens of times per day, and while you do wash your hands every time you use the restroom, you’re still touching your face after you type, touch door handles, the office coffee pot. While we can’t live in a bubble, just remember to continue to wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
- Your Pets. While you may not be distinctly allergic to pets, their dander is generally a human irritant. Your face may be more sensitive to pet dander causing some inflammation. Plus, we all love having our dogs kiss our faces, but the old myth about their mouths being clean is simply not true… if you have ever had a dog, you know just about everything goes into their mouths, and in turn, onto your face.
- Your Cosmetics. Not all makeup is created equal and some brands use ingredients that may be irritating to you without even realizing it. If you suspect your cosmetics may be the cause of your skin irritation, spend a few days without wearing any to see how your skin responds.
- Vitamin Deficiency. If you’re lacking certain vitamins, your skin could be one of the first places your body demonstrates this deficiency to you. The best way to check this is to visit a medical professional to test yourself for vitamin deficiencies, in the meantime, eating a balanced diet and taking a daily multi-vitamin will help cover these bases.
- Pollen & Dust. While “hay fever” is a common allergy, you may not realize how it’s also affecting your skin. Common allergies activate our body’s histamines, which often cause reactions like runny noses, itchy eyes, and inflamed skin. You may notice this the most during certain times of the year, especially spring and fall (when flowers bloom and when trees drop their leaves). Speak to your medical professional first, but often over-the-counter antihistamines, like loratadine, will help deter these effects. Also, being sure to dust and vacuum frequently to eliminate these from your home will help minimize their effects.
- Air Pollutants. We’ve all heard the term “free radicals.” Free radicals are air pollutants that come from our daily lives like carbon emissions and cigarette smoke. Of course, if you smoke cigarettes, this damages healthy skin cells amongst hundreds of other harmful effects on the body. While you can control whether or not you smoke, you cannot control your environment completely. The best protection is to keep your face clean and protected with deep moisturizers that create barriers on your skin. This will not prevent all free radicals but will reduce the amount that reaches your skin.
The most important point to remember is to listen to your skin. If it’s suddenly not cooperating with you, it’s trying to tell you that something isn’t right.
*Disclaimer: Please note that none of the above replaces the advice of a medical professional. If you suspect there is something wrong with your skin, seek the advice of your medical professional before making any changes or starting a new skin routine.