The Environment and Your Skin


Several studies have shown that your skin is affected by the environment in which you live.  Environmental factors such as sun exposure, chemical pollution, smoke, dirt, and pollen counts can significantly change the appearance of the skin.

What even more people don't realize is that these elements also change the tissue below the surface, which provides the foundation of the skin.  For this blog post, we will focus most on the three most significant environmental aspects and how to avoid them best:
Sun Exposure
Although it should seem obvious, many people still ignore the long-term detrimental effects of exposing your skin to ultraviolet light.  Over time, sun exposure leads to fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and broken blood vessels that add years to your complexion.
Your best defense is a good SPF sunscreen, which should be the number one foundation of your daily skin care routine.  However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 15% of American men and 30% of American women wear sunscreen regularly.
In the summer or when sweating or swimming, it is important to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours.  Additional protection such as UV-protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats is also recommended.  Also, avoid sun exposure when the ultraviolet rays are the strongest, which is typically between 10 AM and 4 PM most days.
Medical studies increasingly show that pollution in the air can adversely affect your skin health as well as your overall health.  Many pollutants have particles that are so small that they can be absorbed through the pores and penetrate the skin barrier.
The Enviromental Protection Agency estimates that over 142 American citizens live in areas where air quality is below national air quality standards, and that there are over 1,400 different pollutants that can affect the skin and health.  One recent study on the effects of pollution on the skin showed an increase in signs of premature aging in people who live in such atmospheres, especially with increased severity and extent of facial wrinkles. 
Other than moving from a polluted area, the best defense for your skin is to use a topical skin care product that contains antioxidants.  Such skin treatments include our own Vita-C Peptide Spray and SkinCeuticals' C E Ferulic, both of which, when applied to your skin, can neutralize the free radicals and inflammation produced by the exposure to various pollutants.
Allergies are a significant, but not widely known, cause of skin problems, especially as more than 30% of Americans struggle with them.  Allergies frequently cause skin stress, sensitivity, and inflammation.  The skin stress from allergies can cause redness in particular, which is a direct indicator of inflammation.
Washing the face with cool (rather than hot) water can help, as can using anti-inflammatory topical products such as our own Green Tea Antioxidant Serum.  If the redness persists, is severe, and may be caused by broken blood vessels, laser treatments can resolve the blood vessels and restore a more normal skin tone.
As always, the best offense is a good defense.  Protect your skin from the elements of environmental stress with appropriate sunscreen and topical antioxidants.  More significant damage to the skin can be treated with lasers and other therapies in our menu of treatment.
If you have any questions about how to protect your skin and/or how to treat pre-existing damage, call Maine Laser Skin Care at our offices in Augusta at (207) 873-2158 or Scarborough at (207) 303-0125 for a free consultation.  Our motto continues to be "Beautifying Maine One Face At A Time".