A man rinsing his face in the sink in front of mirror.

You know it’s important to take care of vital internal organs like your heart and liver, but when it comes to health and wellness, many people overlook the human body’s largest organ: the skin. Helping your skin stay healthy isn’t just about liking what you see in the mirror. Skin plays a vital role in protection and detection which is why treating your skin well is essential for good health.

From diet and environment to chemical interaction, there is a myriad of factors that can affect your skin’s health. Failure to guard against external and internal factors that affect skin poorly can inhibit this critical organ from doing its job and providing important clues to your overall health. Beauty may only be skin deep, but the consequences of inadequate skincare are profound.

You don’t need a medicine cabinet full of fancy creams and expensive serums to treat your skin well. Once you understand the external and internal factors affecting your skin, simple lifestyle changes are all you need to protect it for the sake of your overall health.

Why You Should Care About Your Skin

Unless you’re in a hurry to look older than you are, delaying natural aging is reason enough to take care of your skin. Even the most minimal skincare routine can help to prevent various skin problems such as acne and eczema. Having a clear, healthy complexion will likely boost your confidence, but it’s not the only reason you should care about your skin.

Your skin protects your body in a variety of ways. First and foremost, it’s a barrier to protect you from bacteria and other environmental hazards that could negatively impact your health. If it weren’t for the nerve endings in your skin that send signals to your brain when an object is too hot or sharp, imagine all the burns and cuts you’d have. Your skin also serves other important functions like regulating your body temperature and turning sunlight into vitamin D for healthy bones.

Furthermore, skin acts as a warning system and can alert you to a serious health problem. From red, itchy rashes that might signal an unhealthy gut to unusual moles that could be a sign of skin cancer, changes in your skin can indicate an urgent health issue and prompt you to seek potentially life-saving medical care.

External Factors That Affect Your Skin

Now that you understand why you should protect your skin, you need to know what it is you’re guarding your skin against. One of the biggest (and hottest and brightest) external factors that affect your skin is the sun. Excessive sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, and increase your risk for skin cancer.

The easiest way to protect your skin from the sun is to use sunscreen. Get in the habit of using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day. Apply it generously 15 minutes before leaving the house and reapply it every two hours (more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating). Beyond sunscreen, you should try to avoid being out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you need to be outside during these hours that the sun is strongest, consider wearing protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat.

To help remember to use sunscreen daily, consider a moisturizer that contains SPF. Using a moisturizer that fits your skin type is an essential part of a simple yet effective skincare routine. Remember that you want to treat your skin gently. Choose mild cleansers, pat your skin dry, and refrain from using hot water for an extended period. Hot water can dry your skin and strip it of necessary oils that are crucial for its health.

To prevent unwanted dry skin, you can protect it by installing a water softener in your home. Investing in the water you’re using on your skin can prevent harmful chemicals and minerals from making their way into your system. 

Internal Factors That Affect Your Skin

Using a filtration system in your home will also improve the quality of the water you’re drinking. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated and is a crucial part of a healthy diet. What you drink and eat affects your skin. You should aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

However, when switching your eating patterns on behalf of your skin’s health, make sure to do your research. When it comes to your health and diet, many organizations may have differing opinions on what is best. Take chocolate as a skin regimen, for example. According to Cambridge Chocolate Technologies (CCT), chocolate, specifically, their product Esthechoc, can help consumers “regain firmness, radiance, and luminosity in their skin.” However, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) states that these claims are misleading. 

Whether or not chocolate is sincerely the fountain of youth is still up for debate, however, just like with any supplement you use for your health, it’s important to stay critical. 

In addition to diet, other internal factors that affect your skin include stress and sleep. For your healthiest skin, prioritize getting at least eight hours of sleep per night and implement stress management techniques such as meditation.

From addressing internal factors to guarding against external factors, treating your skin well is imperative to your overall health. For your skin to do its job and protect you, you must take steps to protect it.

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About The Author

Beau Peters's picture

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things. See more of Beau's pieces on his Contently profile

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