The Seven Deadly Skin Sins

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Joan Lunden

Beauty / / November 30, 2013

If you want your skin to look great well into your 80s, follow this advice from the experts, Audrey Kunin, M.D., founder of DERMADoctor; David Bank, M.D. author of "Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age" and Olga Lorencin, owner of Kinara Skin Care Clinic in Beverly Hills, CA. When asked what the worst possible things for our skin are, these topped their lists. So now, repeat after me, "thou shalt not" ...

Sin #1: Smoking

"If you won’t quit for your heart and lungs, then quit for the sake of vanity," says Dr David Bank. When you smoke, you diminish the skin's ability to get the oxygen it needs. Without optimal oxygen, skin cells can't renew themselves. "It accelerates the wrinkling process by damaging the skin and impeding the repair of your skin," adds Bank. So in addition to the obvious vertical lines and wrinkles around the mouth, your skin overall will look lackluster and dull.

Sin #2: Using a tanning bed

"Don't do tanning beds, period, end of discussion," says Kunin, explaining that every young melanoma patient she treats has used tanning beds. Ten minutes in a tanning bed is equal to getting a full day of unprotected sun exposure -- yikes! So instead of baking on your color, Kunin recommends "applying color" by way of self-tanner or bronzer.

Sin #3: Unprotected sun exposure

"Incidental sun exposure (the little bits of sun we get) while walking, driving, etc., build up over the years," says Bank. He recommends applying SPF 15 daily. If you plan on getting more sun exposure, wear SPF 30 and reapply every two hours. "And don't be fooled into thinking that your clothing acts as sun protection," says Kunin, adding that our clothes only provide an SPF 4. Protecting your skin from the sun daily will help prevent premature aging (think brown spots and fine lines) and skin cancer. One other bit of wisdom: "protect your eyes with real UVA and UVB sunglasses," says Kunin. "The sun can cause cataracts, blindness and even melanoma."

Sin #4: Wearing makeup to bed

"At night is when all of your skin rejuvenation happens," says Lorencin. If you wear makeup to bed your skin can't get the oxygen it needs. When skin is suffocated, "your natural collagen building process is compromised," she says. Kunin adds, "it will also clog pores and act as food for bacteria," which can cause breakouts and make pores more visible. In addition, if you don't wash your face at night, you're not doing anything to fight aging, combat pimples or treat other skin issues since you're not exfoliating or adding beneficial spot treatments or moisturizers.

Sin #5: Not seeing a dermatologist

Getting a complete skin exam once a year is essential to your overall health because it can help prevent serious issues, like skin cancer. "There are so many spots that are hidden," says Kunin, explaining why getting your moles checked by a doctor is so important. "A large number of abnormal things can be picked up instantly," she says. If you do see a suspicious-looking spot or mole, don't wait until your yearly exam, see a doctor sooner to make sure you're in the clear.

Sin #6: Stress

"When your body is stressed, it pours out a stress hormone called cortisol," says Bank. This causes a multitude of things. "It robs the skin of its blood supply and can elevate blood sugar, which can cause cells to function abnormally," says Bank. It can also affect acne oil glands. So bottom line, when you stress out your skin may be more prone to breakouts and is likely to look dull and sallow. Bank recommends finding a stress-reducing activity that works for you. Whether you choose deep breathing, yoga, walking, "even 15 minutes can make a difference," says Bank.

Sin #7: Skipping sleep

"There is no way you can look great if you are sleep deprived," says Lorencin. And though Bank admits, "we don't fully understand sleep and the complex biochemical things that go on during it," he adds that whatever is going on is critical. When your body is fighting to stay awake "muscle tone relaxes so you look saggy; blood pressure drops which robs skin of color and you're prone to puffiness due to poor circulation," he says. Yet more reasons to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Want gorgeous skin? Make sure you don’t commit any of these skin-damaging crimes.

Categories: Beauty
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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