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Five habits to stop for a healthier skin

Many people strive to maintain youthful, vibrant, and healthy skin on a daily basis. While some are able to sustain flawless looking skin all of the time, for others it may come as a huge challenge.

AFP PHOTO / Yasser Al-Zayyat

Many people strive to maintain youthful, vibrant, and healthy skin on a daily basis. While some are able to sustain flawless looking skin all of the time, for others it may come as a huge challenge. You may know someone whose skin always seems to look like perfection, and wonder what exactly their skin secrets and daily beauty regimen really entail. Though there may certainly be a genetic component partly responsible for their skin type, always keep in mind that there are also environmental factors and certain bad habits that people with healthier skin tend to avoid more than others, in order to keep the quality of their skin intact.

Nonetheless, in recognition of National Healthy Skin Month this November, remember to ditch the following bad habits immediately. They may indeed be what is holding you back from achieving the healthy and beautiful skin you desire all year round.

Not washing your sheets routinely
The frequency in which you wash and change your sheets actually matters. If your sheets are not washed on a regular basis, then they can become an ideal environment for bacteria, germs, and other pathogens to thrive. Past studies analyzing microbial communities in the home revealed that the kind of bacteria and germs found on a pillow case are quite similar to the type found on a toilet seat. If you rarely change your sheets, this is a call to action to break that habit immediately. When using the same sheets for long periods of time, you may expose your skin to a range of microbes that may lead to unwanted breakouts and varying levels of skin irritation. Be sure to always wash your sheets on a weekly basis to avoid unnecessary skin problems.

Smoking cigarettes
Not only can smoking cigarettes have harmful effects on major organ systems like the lungs, but it can also negatively impact the skin. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes can really compromise and damage the integrity of the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers. This subsequently promotes premature aging, fine lines, and wrinkles in smokers. Smoking can also affect one’s skin tone, texture, and elasticity. Remember that it is never too late to quit smoking. Doing so may help slow down skin wrinkling and improve the overall appearance of your skin.

Skin bleaching
The prevalence of skin bleaching in Nigeria is quite high. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that over 70% of Nigerian women bleach their skin. This translates into an alarming number of people exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals that may continue to damage the skin over time. There are many harmful health effects of skin bleaching, especially when products that are unregulated are constantly used. Hydroquinone is one chemical that may sometimes be found in certain skin bleaching products. Chronic exposure to hydroquinone at higher concentrations may potentially lead to exogenous ochronosis. This condition can destroy the skin and actually cause blackish/bluish discoloration and hyper-pigmentation. Skin bleaching can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

Constant stress
There are times that the amount of stress that you face may be suffocating and difficult to bare. But if stress is constantly a major theme in your life, then it is absolutely essential to work towards better stress management techniques. Chronic stress is another factor that is known to not only accelerate aging of the skin, but it is also linked to acne formation. Stress hormones like cortisol may stimulate the production of certain oils known as sebum that may promote acne. If you are able to keep your stress and anxiety levels at bay, you will start to notice some improvement in the quality of your skin.

Not drinking enough water
Living in a tropical climate in which one is usually faced with lots of heat and humidity, may render one more susceptible to dehydration. Our bodies have a continuous need for water and require adequate amounts of it in order to function optimally. Dehydration can have some damaging effects on the skin. It may not only lead to dry and dull skin, but it may also cause a loss of elasticity of the skin. Drinking water is an essential component of maintaining vibrant skin.

You don’t have to be rich or a celebrity to have beautiful and healthy skin. In order to protect and nurture your skin, continue to uphold good hygiene habits and take the necessary precautions to avoid those bad habits that can have a long-lasting damaging effect.