Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It’s the barrier between you and the outside world – that means keeping it healthy is essential for keeping your whole self healthy. There are many different approaches you can take to accomplish this goal. Some will include covering or applying products directly to your skin while others involve taking supplements or making some intentional changes to your diet.
What do we mean by ‘environmental stressors’? Environmental stressors are effects that are caused by the conditions you are physically experiencing and are caused by natural sources. Sun, wind, and water are often the most common culprits.
The following tips are great ways to protect against environmental stressors on your skin, according to our experts.
Sunscreen – It Isn’t Only for Sunny Days
No surprise here – sunscreen is a widely recognized way to protect against environmental stressors on your skin. The UVA and UVB rays that make it to our skin can leave lasting damage and even result in sunburn, blisters, and peeling. Did you know that sunny days aren’t the only time you should be wearing sunscreen? It turns out the sun is pretty powerful – even on cloudy days. Check out this tip about sunscreen usage:
“Sunscreen is something most of us will remember to grab on our way to the pool, beach, or park – but you should be applying it every day you plan to be exposed to sunlight,” says Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak MD Medical. “Even if you have a dark complexion and don’t burn easily, your skin can still be damaged by those harmful rays. Invest in sunscreen that you can apply regularly to your face and any other exposed skin each time you plan to go out into the sun.”
Everybody loves a hot shower – but did you know that you could be damaging your skin by luxuriating a bit too long under the steamy mist? It turns out that hot showers and baths that last too long can actually dry out your skin. That seems odd since you’re standing in water, but the heat actually causes the natural oils in your skin to wash off. While you want to be clean, you do want to make sure your skin is left with some natural oils to retain its healthy elasticity and hydration levels.
“While it doesn’t sound super pleasant, I’ve actually heard that the optimum shower is one that involves lukewarm water and lasts 5 -10 minutes,” says Dr. Michael Green, Chief Medical Officer at Winona. “This is probably not your idea of a great way to start the morning or relax after a stressful day, but even cooling your shower a bit and trying to be a bit quicker while you’re in there can make a difference – and your water bill will thank you too!”
3. Protect from Pollution
This is especially important if you live in an area with higher pollution levels such as a city or manufacturing area. However, there is pollution everywhere so it’s important to know how to protect yourself from it regardless of where you live. There are many reasons you should protect yourself from pollution. As we mentioned in the intro, your skin is your largest organ – that means it can be affected by airborne environmental stressors that can lead to a slew of issues for your skin which can, in turn, affect your overall health.
“Pollution can cause so much damage to your skin in ways most people aren’t aware of,” says Rachel Roff, Founder and CEO of Urban Skin Rx. “Effects can range from skin aging to allergic conditions to other conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Nobody likes dealing with those issues and once your skin becomes affected by the pollution in the air, it can be a difficult battle to recover from. Using anti-pollution cleansers, applying barriers like sunscreen and moisturizers, and exfoliating can help reduce the risks of pollution on your skin.”
4. Wind Barriers
Did you know the wind can damage your skin too? While you may be familiar with windburn if you live in a colder climate, it is possible to be affected by the wind in warmer months too. On dry days when it’s windy, your skin can have the moisture wicked away by those dry gusts which often leads to damage to your outer layer of skin.
“Wearing a windbreaker or applying extra moisturizers on days where you’ll be out in the wind can protect from dry skin,” says Ubaldo Perez, CEO of Hush Anesthetic. “On top of being irritatingly itchy, dry skin can lead to cracks, eczema, infections, and more. Look for a good moisturizer that can stand up to environmental factors and apply on a regular basis.”
5. Take Your Vitamins
We’ve covered a bunch of ideas for ways to protect against environmental stressors on your skin in terms of things you can put ON your skin, but what about things that you can put in your body to help ward off damage to your skin? It turns out, there are a bunch of vitamins that can help fight the effects of environmental stressors that make it past the exterior barriers.
“Vitamins B3 and C are fantastic for helping with skin elasticity and encouraging your body to naturally repair itself from damage that may have been done by environmental stressors,” says Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder and CEO of Nue Life. “Whether you forgot to wear sunscreen or you’re suffering dry skin from environmental factors, these vitamins can help you feel comfortable in your skin again.”
6. Drink Water!
You may be rolling your eyes because it seems like every list of health tips has water listed – but water is such a fantastic cleanser for your body. Drinking plenty of water can help keep you hydrated and a big component of your skin’s barrier is water. When your skin is dehydrated, it can crack and dry out which reduces its ability to protect you from exterior factors.
“Water is known to decrease the effects of aging, acne, and dry skin – so why not give it a shot,” says Ann McFerran, CEO of Glamnetic. “There’s nothing to lose with incorporating more water into your daily life. Let’s be honest – most of us probably aren’t drinking enough anyway. Find a way to remind yourself to drink water more frequently or substitute other drinks with a bottle of H2O instead.”
Environmental factors can cause some major stress to your skin. The good news is that there are many options out there for you to incorporate into your daily routines so you can combat these environmental stressors.
Some options you can use include things that physically protect your skin. Things like sunscreen, windbreakers, and moisturizers can be extremely beneficial to protect against environmental stressors on your skin.
You can also change some things in your routine to improve your overall skin health so your skin can protect itself better against any elements you may face. This includes drinking water, avoiding long or hot baths and showers, and taking vitamins.
Now that you know 6 ways to protect against environmental stressors on your skin, you can start strategizing the best ways to keep yourself and your skin healthy!