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Natural and Environmental Factors That Cause Skin Damage or Skin Problems

Clear, radiant skin has historically been a sign of health and beauty and has been highly coveted by nearly all societies. The value we place on our external appearance is often directly tied to the appearance of our skin, especially our facial skin. Unfortunately, unless we are born into a genetic pool of flawless-skinned ancestors, most of us have to work hard to maintain a healthy and clear complexion.

From the use of cosmetics and lotions promising us the fountain of youth, to the constant monitoring of our exposure to the elements during the extreme hot and cold months, we obsess over our skin. Just like many other aspects of our bodies, our skin is often an outward reflection of the health of our internal organs and is affected by nearly every aspect of our lifestyle, our environment and the climate in which we live.

Genetic and Natural Factors

As mentioned above, some of us are genetically predisposed to inherit a myriad of skin conditions such as psoriasis, ichthyosis and rosacea. Unfortunately, some of the more severe skin conditions passed on by our genes must be addressed through the use of prescription medications. In addition to genetic causes, our bodies often react, or overreact, to natural factors such as our diet, our stress levels, and, ultimately, our lifestyle choices. These reactions can manifest themselves in the form of mild cases of teenage acne to more severe skin conditions such as eczema, or inflammation of the skin.

Environmental Factors

In addition to genetic predisposition and natural byproducts of our daily lifestyle, environmental factors can also play a profound role in common skin problems and skin damage. In large cities, for example, smog, dust and dirt play a large role in causing premature aging of our skin. Additionally, skin products such as soaps, makeup or other beauty products can often have the unintended consequence of causing our skin to break out in a rash.

Furthermore, over-exposure to the sun’s rays can lead to multiple types of skin cancer, can cause premature aging, and lead to the dreaded wrinkles around our mouths and eyes. Although much attention is given to the role of the summer heat and sun in relationship to skin damage, it is also important to realize that the environment in the winter months can present just as much of a risk to our skin’s health.

Cold Climate’s Effect on Skin

Cold climates can not only cause dryness and cracking in the hands, feet and face, but can lead to rough, red, blistered areas on exposed skin. This fact is often overlooked as we operate under the false assumption that we need to only worry about skin care during the summer months. When we escape the cold air by retreating to our warm homes, we often inadvertently cause additional damage to our skin in the hot, dry air. Keep in mind that moisturizing your skin is absolutely vital during the winter months. Most of us can get by on over-the-counter oils and lotions, but in extreme cases, this dryness may need to be addressed by a prescription medication from a licensed dermatologist.

To avoid over exposure to the winter elements, utilize common sense practices such as wearing hats, gloves and scarfs to cover exposed skin. The intensity of the sun, and its effect on your skin, can be just as intense in the winter as in the summer. Planning a winter ski vacation? Do yourself, and your skin, a favor, and lotion up before and after you hit the slopes!