20 Nov 2017
3 min read
After getting a serious acne breakout, I decided to get some expert opinion and made my way to a skin clinic. The dermatologist diagnosed me with an acne problem, but also assured me that it wasn’t the end of the world.
You see, my struggle with skin problems is nothing new, and despite various reports stating how exercise and perspiration make your skin glow, that simply never was the case for me. Instead, for me, more workout sessions meant more frequent breakouts. I soon realised that skincare advice can’t be followed generally and that everyone’s skin is different. And it’s no surprise that proper skin care is associated with one’s lifestyle. This week, I talked to Dr Jebina Lama, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Demato-Laser Surgeon and founder of The Skin Clinic, Naxal, so that she could give us some expert advice as to how we can all keep our skin healthy and glowing.
According to Dr Lama, many patients are aware of the various factors that have a direct impact on our skin, but they either ignore them or find it difficult to balance them. “Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and it protects our internal organs from environmental elements,” says Dr Lama. “And no matter how old we are, it is imperative that we give it special attention and work towards taking proper care of it.” Here are some factors that Dr Lama thinks you should take note of.
Stress takes a toll on your life as well as on your skin. Any kind of stress, be it emotional, physical or mental, will exacerbate skin diseases like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne. “Stress releases hormones like cortisol, which greatly affects our overall skin health. Cortisol increases sugar levels, which causes inflammation and increases oil production in the skin, which ultimately means more breakouts,” she says. Additionally, cortisol also encourages the process of glycation, which can harm your collagen and cause wrinkles. That’s why stress accelerates ageing.
2) Inadequate sleep
“Getting adequate shut-eye is essential for everyone’s well-being,” says Dr Lama. “During sleep, our body relaxes, and repairs and rejuvenates skin tissue. You should learn to listen to your body and give it the rest it wants.” She also says that some people have a habit of sleeping less during weekdays, with plans to ‘rest more properly’ during the weekends, but piling up your sleep hours this way is highly counterproductive.
3) Eating habits
A diet high in added sugar from processed food and junk food with additives and preservatives accelerates collagen and elastin breakdown. “To avoid premature ageing of your skin, I always advise my clients to cut down on or completely eliminate processed sugar, since its consumption results in glycation, which accelerates skin ageing. And that’s not all. Other kryptonites for our skin include dairy products and caffeine, both of which are believed to be associated with acne breakouts and skin dehydration.
Dr Lama also highlights alcohol’s effects on our skin, stating that drinkers usually show more age lines, signs of dehydration and even swelling. Another habit that needs to be controlled is smoking, as doing so deprives our skin of essential nutrients and oxygen while degrading its essential building blocks—collagen and elastin. In the long run, this increases the chances of developing an uneven skin tone, sagging skin and a sallow complexion.
The best way to improve your skin health would obviously be to avoid the different factors that harm your skin directly or indirectly. For instance, after my personal acne problems, I cut down on most dairy products, and my skin has become noticeably better. I still need to work on other habits, though. These are some steps you, too, can take to improve your overall skin condition.
Opt for a real food diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and avoid processed foods.
TRY: Do a meal prep at the start of your work/school week, and plan your meals in such a way that the amount of unhealthy, junk food you consume is kept to a minimum. When eating out, choose more greens and ‘real’ food over meat patties and sausages.
Meditate and workout
Meditating and working out help reduce and control stress levels. Make it a point to schedule at least 30 minutes of either one, every day.
Less is more
Dr Lama advises people to go for drinks that do not contain added sugar, salt or any sort of syrups. She also says that any cocktail is a disaster.
Change your pillowcase
This simple change can make a huge difference on your skin. Dr Lama advises people to change their pillowcases every two days. “You can also sleep on one side for two days, and flip it over and sleep on the other side for the next two days before replacing the pillowcase.”