The Western lifestyle is bad for your skin. The environmental, hygiene, and diet may all impact the health of your skin. Numerous skin care products may provide protection or health benefit, but the science is complicated. Oxidative stress is a new concern with regards to skin cancer and more. Let’s learn how to modify your Western lifestyle to reduce oxidative stress for healthier skin.
Skin Problems in the USA
Adult Americans suffer from many different skin problems including skin cancer, dermatitis, eczema, acne, and more. Oxidative stress is the cause of skin cancer from overexposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light generates oxidative stress in the exposed skin, which causes DNA damage. The accumulation of DNA damage eventually causes skin cancer. However, low levels of sunlight generates Vitamin D as a health benefit. Non-cancerous skin problems are caused by or linked to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Skin Microbiome is Sensitive to Oxidative Stress
Elevated Oxidative Stress shifts the microbial ecology of your skin by selecting for bacteria that flourish under these conditions. Cutibacterium acnes is a major skin bacteria that flourishes under elevated oxidative stress causing skin problems like acne (surprise!). Reducing oxidative stress in the skin may reduce the levels of this bacteria and acne.
Oxidative Stress and Inflammation of the Skin
Environmental insults to skin can cause inflammation, which produces local oxidative stress. This process is reversible with excessive oxidative stress inducing inflammation. Smoking and alcohol consumption are the most harmful environmental insults to your skin. Smoking results in short-term inflammation and oxidative stress. Excessive alcohol consumption dehydrates the skin and also generates short-term oxidative and subsequent inflammation.
Hard Water Bathing and Inflammation
Many Americans still suffer from the impact of hard water bathing. Many municipalities produce safe drinking water from a ground water source. However, ground water is hard compared to surface water (ex. River or Lake). Hard water causes problems for cleaning with scale building up on on surfaces. These calcium and magnesium compounds irritate the skin causing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Western Diet and Blood Oxidative Stress
The Western Diet may cause Blood Oxidative Stress or BLOS, which are blood cells generating high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This ROS is generated by the blood and impacts skin health. BLOS may cause inflammation in the skin and elsewhere in the body. A change in diet or the use of antioxidant supplements may reduce the impact of BLOS on the skin.
Recent Advances in Skin Care Products
New skin care products counter oxidative stress and inflammation. Vitamin C enriched skin care products deliver this potent antioxidant to the skin. A probiotic skin care product uses ammonia oxidizing bacteria to generate nitric oxide from ammonia in your sweat. The nitric oxide generate from this probiotic may increase levels of nitric oxide in the blood for health benefit.
More recently, a skin care product with an anti-inflammatory compound showed promise in lowering inflammation biomarkers and reversing “inflammaging.” Inflammaging is thought to be the cause of multiple health problems including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It wouldn’t surprise me if BLOS is the true underlying cause of inflammaging. Remember, Oxidative Stress can cause inflammation and BLOS is a major source of oxidative stress in the body including the skin. Keep an eye out for new skin care products touting this benefit. If you’re worried about inflammaging, then you could try this Inflammation Test.
Checklist for Modifying Your Western Lifestyle for Healthier Skin
Here’s a checklist of ways to modify your Western lifestyle for healthier skin and more.