Poor skin is not only a sign of bad health; it can also cause it.

The BBC reports on why our skin is more than just a reflection of our lifestyle choices, such as alcohol, tobacco, stress, and fatigue. It also reveals a lot about our health condition. Previous studies have shown that people who look older than their actual age are likely to have health issues. But there is more: taking care of your skin can help you stay healthy. Your skin is not just an indicator; it is an active player.

The article cites research by Mao-Qiang Man from the University of San Francisco, who found that dull, damaged, and wrinkled skin can be part of a body-wide inflammation process. This kind of skin makes “more cytokines and chemokines,” says the expert. These proteins can break down collagen and elastin, which keep our skin firm, and also “weaken the skin barrier,” the outermost layer of the skin. This leads to faster water loss and higher stress sensitivity, as researcher Tuba Musarrat Ansary from the Jichi Medical University in Japan explains.

Scientists also say that unhealthy or malfunctioning skin can produce chemicals that can harm the blood vessels and other tissues in the body over time. Even the heart and brain can be affected. Some of the health problems that can result from poor skin care are type 2 diabetes, cognitive impairments, cardiovascular diseases, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Therefore, it is essential to take good care of your skin, not only to prevent skin cancer or to look good.

The main thing is to protect your skin from the sun. UV rays cause 80% of the visible changes in the skin, so they should be avoided as much as possible. Sunscreen is your friend: it not only shields you from the sun, but also moisturizes your skin and fights inflammation. Hydration is also important, even when the sun is not shining, because it can prevent inflammation and dementia. This is especially true after 40, when the skin starts to dry out more – it makes less sebum, lipids, and glycerol as we age.

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