beauty: skin dangers

The most damaging threats to your skin

Skin Threats
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by Claire Procter

smoking effectively starves your skin of the nutrients it needs to breathe
The skin is the largest organ on the human body. It comes under attack from dozens of sources both from outside and from within. Many of these dangers are within our control but some are not. The main four threats to our skin are:

- alcohol
- pollution
- smoking
- stress
- UV light (the sun)


The consumption of alcohol adversely affects your skin in two ways. Firstly, it dehydrates the skin leaving it dull and more importantly dry. Dry skin is more prone to wrinkles an premature aging. Secondly drinking excessive levels of alcohol also over dilates the blood vessels. Over a sustained period of time the capillary walls under the skin become so overcome they burst. Leaving those red blotches you can see on any heavy drinker. Obviously, the odd glass of wine wont make this happen but don't think for one minute it's a symptom only unique to alcoholics.


Smoke and other pollutants in the air damage the skin on our bodies. They can interfere with the skin's natural protection system which adversely effects the skin's ability to grow and repair itself. Large cities like london and Birmingham are significantly more polluted than the rest of the country. A person living and working in a large city can be exposed to damaging levels of air pollution for several hours every day. This can eventually take its toll on the skin. Short of moving to the countryside, the best thing you can do is make sure you cleanse and moisturise your face regally.


Of all the dangers to your skin, smoking is the worst. Research has shown that smoking increases wrinkles by at least 75% not to mention turning your skin and hair yellow. If that wasn't bad enough, recent tests indicate that smokers are three times a likely to develop certain types of skin cancer than non smokers. Still fancy lighting up? Amazingly, millions of us still do. The nicotine in cigarettes reduces the oxygen and vital nutrients in your skin. By smoking you are in effect starving your skin of what it needs to breathe. Of course your skin will never die but after twenty fags a day for ten years it will look like it has.

If you really must smoke make sure you have a diet high in foods that can to some extent counteract the negative effects on your skin. Many vitamins act as anti-oxidant which not only resist the smoke radicals but help prevent the formation and growth of cancer sells. However, don't for one minute think the right diet means you can puff away as you like. The fact is if you smoke your skin will pay the price.

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