Beauty + Style

The Science of Looking After Your Skin

You may know that the following things affect your skin – but do you know the science behind it? Knowing how damage to your skin takes place can be essential to cutting out bad habits and improving your lifestyle.

Low mood and stress

You may know already that stress is bad for you, but why is that? Well, prolonged bouts of stress release a hormone called cortisol, which is what does a lot of the damage associated with stress. In terms of your skin, cortisol is definitely a formidable foe. It has been known to cause acne breakouts, worsen inflammation, exacerbate eczema and psoriasis, and contribute to aging.

As for problems with low moods such as depression, this contributes to damage – via shortening – of telomeres, which is an element of your DNA. Telomeres are essential in protecting every cell in your body from deteriorating prematurely, including skin cells.

Skin problems that have been brought about by low mood and stress are often the best candidates for working with a leading aesthetic doctor. This is because there isn’t an awful lot you can do by yourself to repair some of the more ingrained damage that might be done, and also because the damage isn’t set as deeply as, say, the damage a heavy smoker may have exposed to their skin. Speaking of which…


If you’re a smoker, then I’m going to say what you’ve probably heard a million times before: stop! Tobacco and its resultant smoke contains thousands of vicious chemicals that cause direct damage to collagen and elastin. These are essential components of your skin. Elasticity and strength are upheld by these elements. You may have heard the terms before because collagen and elastin are injected into people’s skin in wrinkle-reduction procedures. It’s best to look after the amount you have rather than get more injected into you after damaging them!

Not convinced that smoking can do that much damage to your skin? Check out this study of several twins. In each case, one of the twins is a lifelong smoker, whereas the other has either never smoked and smoked for far less time. Just see how much it contributes to the aging process.

Sugars and fats

These must be bad for your skin, right? Well, not so fast. Too much sugar certainly is, but you might not want to jump to conclusions when it comes to fats. Many people know that increasing exercise and eating less sugar is good for the skin, and cutting down on fat often goes hand-in-hand with these things. But a good amount of fat actually helps your skin stay soft and youthful – precisely because fat helps keep your skin a good distance away from your bones! Look for healthy ways of getting fats, such as nuts.

As for sugar, too much will damage your skin. Not only does it inflame existing skin problems, but spikes in your blood sugar levels can cause damage to collagen. This process has a name: it’s called glycation. It kills your skin’s elasticity. A good diet doesn’t always mean you should cut out sugar, but reducing your intake can certainly help!