skin_environment_mamashealth

You can stay hydrated, keep out of the sun, and use all the creams and lotions you want, but if you don’t watch your environment carefully, your skin might become damaged and dried out by the air around you.

Keep an eye out for these problem spots:

Climate Control

When you are in any kind of sealed environment, you run the risk of drying your skin. All indoor air control systems cause the indoor climate to be drier than it should be. Air conditioners naturally strip moisture from the air, and furnaces and space heaters raise the temperature, which makes your skin dry out faster. Without a moisture source for your indoor air, like an indoor fountain or a humidifier, a closed atmosphere can quickly dry your skin out.

Hard Water

Showering or bathing with hard water will dry out your skin. Hard water is water that contains high amounts of minerals. The most common types of minerals in your water are calcium, manganese, aluminum, and magnesium. While moderate levels of these minerals are essential for your body (internally) for good health, excessive amounts of minerals in your water and on your skin can cause problems. Water ‘picks up’ these minerals while it is in the ground. Groundwater often travels through limestone where it picks up calcium and magnesium deposits. Water absorbs iron from old plumbing systems.

Even though bathing usually helps you replenish your skin’s moisture, the minerals in hard water make it harder for your skin to absorb moisture. Hard water reacts with your cleansers and moisturizers which reduces their efficiency.

How to tell if you have hard water:

  • Water smells or tastes funny
  • Shower head becomes clogged
  • Unexplained stains in your toilet bowl
  • Clogged pipes
  • Clothes are not as clean as expected
  • Unexplained irritated skin
  • Appliances (washer, and dishwasher) wear out too quickly

If you have hard water problems, you should take out a little extra time to moisturize after your shower. Try and purchase soaps and shampoos that are specially formulated for hard water. You can also try bathing in slightly cooler water. Too much heat is very drying, so use cool water to soothe your skin and help keep it moist.

Pollution

There is a positive correlation between air pollution and increased risks of developing skin conditions such as acne, hives and eczema. Air pollution affects skin on a surface level and overall skin health.

If the air around you is not clean, you will feel it in your skin. Pollution can  increase the risk of skin cancer, worsen skin sensitivity, cause premature skin aging, discoloration, dryness, dullness, and roughness. Studies have shown that ozone in the air can strip your skin’s moisture in minutes, rendering it dry and tight.

Recent statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • 92% of people worldwide live in cities that do not comply with WHO air quality standards.
  • 6.5 million — deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) are connected to  indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Pollutants such as car exhaust are not only dry and hot; they carry smoke and dust that absorb the moisture that is already available in the air, making it still drier.

Just spending time in an environment with poor air quality is a major reason so many people have problems with dry skin, but you can fight it with a good moisturizing routine and good hydration habits. Keep a bit of moisturizer on hand for when you need it, and try to drink a glass of water every hour or two. These habits will help you counteract the effects of the environment that you cannot control and keep your skin healthy and moist.

What about dust?

Urban dust found in most households can contain up to 224 toxic chemicals – from polyaromatic hydrocarbons to pesticides and heavy metals. Dust by itself is often too large to penetrate the skin, but the toxins inside of dust can penetrate skin and cause problems.

Cigarette smoke

Stay clear of cigarette smoke. It is a major pollutant that can have up to 6,000 chemicals.

Tips to protect your skin from air pollution:

  • Clean your skin
    • Use cleansing wipes or makeup remover pads.
    • Follow up with a face wash with a cleanser to remove any remaining makeup, dirt, grime or pollution left on the skin. Cleansing brushes are helpful.
  • Vitamin B3
    • Vitamin B supplements (oral) or topically
      • Vitamin B supplements strengthen the skin barrier, repairs against UV damage, and helps reduce the negative effects of dust, cigarette smoke, and diesel dust.
      • Vitamin B is often included in Olay, Nia24, Skin Medica, SkinCeuticals skin products.
  • Drink water
    • Drinking water helps the skin function optimally, protecting and strengthening the natural skin barrier.
  • UV Protection
    • Sunscreen (UVA and UVB) should be a part of a daily skin care routine.
  • Antioxidants
    • Vitamins A, C, D, B-complex and B3 will help repair skin internally.