Lifestyle and Environmental Factors Affecting Skin

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Lifestyle and Environmental Factors Affecting Skin

Key Takeaways

  • Cooling the skin is sufficient in mild cases to relieve stress-induced itching.
  • Smoking causes many harmful free radicals around the skin. To neutralize the free radicals, consuming antioxidants is vital.
  • Antioxidants are beneficial for many of the skin health factors in the spreadsheet.
  • In general, a comprehensive skin treatment across borders is the use of moisturizers.
  • Skin cleansers, bath gels, and sanitizers are recommended over soaps.


This research provides 2 to 3 possible treatments/preventative measures for each skin health factor. The factors are diet, sleep, water intake, air travel, stress level, digital pollution, exercise, alcohol, smoking, makeup use, air pollution, humidity, water hardness, temperature, UV index, pollen count, wildfire proximity, windchill factor, indoor AC/heat, and altitude. The treatments have been entered into column I of the spreadsheet with a description of each treatment.


Adequate Water Consumption
  • Adequate water consumption is essential. Based on research, lack of water in the body can cause tissue dehydration and functional disorders (such as aging and inflammation).
  • Water is a vital constituent of the skin and body. It helps maintain tissue function in the body.
  • Water mainly serves as a nutrient solvent, transportation carrier, body volume, and blood temperature regulator.
  • Studies show that it is more profitable to drink more than 2 liters of water per day which affects skin physiology and improves superficial and deep hydration.

Nutritional Supplements
  • A Mediterranean diet has a protective role in acne due to its pronounced anti-inflammatory effect.
  • A balanced diet should include vitamin C and vitamin D-rich foods. Vitamin A preparations such as tretinoin, adapalene, isotretinoin are effective in treating Acne vulgaris.
  • Recommended daily intake of trace elements such as copper; clinical studies have shown that copper aids in improving skin elasticity, reducing facial fine lines and wrinkles, and promoting wound healing.
  • An increase in the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids causes decreased synthesis of pro-inflammatory leukotriene B4, which can lower acne lesions.


Healthy Lifestyle
  • Sufferers are advised to decide on a bedtime routine and stick to it. They should get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco before bedtime. Ensure bedclothes are comfortable. Patients' heads should be slightly propped up to reduce snoring, nasal drip, and acid reflux — all of which limit the quality of sleep and the skin appearance.
  • Research shows that habitual intake of protein supplements supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids, glutamine, zinc sulfate, arginine, vitamin C, and vitamin D3 improves sleep conditions and lowers the risk of skin irritation due to poor sleep.

Sleep Skincare Routine
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water often during waking intervals.
  • Medical professionals advise people to wash their faces before bedtime with gentle cleansers to remove oils, makeup, dirt, and debris that might clog the pores.
  • Apply a moisturizer about 15 minutes before bedtime. Suitable moisturizers should be selected based on skin type.
  • Use anti-aging serums and eye creams 15 to 20 minutes before bedtime to give them enough time to get absorbed into the skin.

Water Intake

  • Treatment will vary based on the severity of dehydration.
  • When a person is mildly dehydrated, the simple solution is drinking lots of water. Drinking sports or energy drinks that contain electrolytes is also advisable. Dehydration treatment for adults includes drinking carbohydrate/electrolyte-containing drinks. Severe cases can be treated by introducing fluids into the patient using intravenous drips.
  • Children can use over-the-counter oral rehydration medications.
  • Severe dehydration with elevated resting heart rate and low blood pressure calls for fluids to be given through an IV. "Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (for example, Advil)" may be administered orally if the patient is not vomiting.

Preventive Measures
  • To avoid dehydration, a person should drink lots of water every day and when exercising, avoid sugary and caffeinated foods and drinks, drink more water in hot weather and when sick.
  • Use a spray bottle or misters to spray lukewarm water on exposed skin surfaces to facilitate cooling by evaporation.
  • Avoid exposing skin to excessive cold, which can cause the blood vessels in the skin to constrict and decrease heat loss.
  • Other remedies include removing any excess clothing and loosening other clothing.

Air Travel

Skincare Regimen Even During Travel
  • Professionals advise people to stick to their regular skincare regimen while traveling. Passengers, especially those by the window, are advised to apply sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection before boarding.
  • Flying causes dry skin and other skin irritations. As a remedy for dry skin, passengers are advised to carry a small bottle of moisturizer (no more than 3.4 ounces or 100 ml ) to apply during travel.

Protective Clothing

Stress Level

Skin Treatment
  • Cooling the skin is sufficient in mild cases to relieve itching.
  • Affected persons are advised to take regular showers to cleanse their skin and relax their nerves. A cold compress can also be applied to the affected areas.
  • Stress rash treatment can be quickly done using nonprescription antihistamines. This helps relieve the irritation and itching.
  • Doctors prescribe more potent antihistamines, steroids, and antibiotic tablets in more severe cases.

Healthy Habits
  • Affected persons are advised not to neglect their skin in times of stress.
  • Regular exercise help improve circulation, make the muscles and skin firm, and improve collagen generation.
  • Practice stress management techniques, such as visual imagery, breathing exercises, and meditation. Adequate sleep of 7 – 8 hours each night is advised.

Digital Pollution

Sunscreen Blue Light Protection
  • While the best preventive measure is to reduce exposure to LED lights and screens, there are remedies to reduce the harmful effect of blue light from digital exposure.
  • Mineral sunscreens with iron oxides are good in blue light protection. Studies show that iron oxides offer better protection against visible light than titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
  • Tinted sunscreens usually have iron oxide.

  • Topical antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals created by blue light.
  • Although many researchers do not recommend that antioxidants be taken wholly for blue light protection, several experiments prove that antioxidants work well in cultured cells. Antioxidants also reduce the irritations caused by blue LED light devices to treat acne.
  • Vitamin C is a good choice of antioxidant for blue light protection. The vitamin C molecule is small enough to penetrate the skin.
  • The interest in blue light has led to product lines that combine marine-sourced proteins with exopolysaccharides. The polymers from these products act like sunscreen that blocks blue light.


Excercise-Induced Illness Medication
  • Exercise-induced urticaria is a form of allergy to physical activity.
  • Treatment for exercise rashes vary based on the severity of skin reaction. Mild treatment includes placing ice bags over the affected area.
  • Medicines, including antihistamines, treat some symptoms of this exercise-induced disease. In severe cases, doctors prescribe epinephrine, commonly known as an EpiPen. This medicine is injected as soon as symptoms start. EpiPen stops the symptoms before they become life-threatening.
Lifestyle for Managing Exercise-induced Illness
  • Doctors sometimes advise such patients to avoid certain kinds of food. Affected persons are advised to monitor what they eat before exercising to point out possible causes of the exercise-induced disease. Some patients are advised not to exercise for 4 to 6 hours after eating.
  • Physicians also point out certain types of exercise and clothing that cause exercise-related irritations. Activities like swimming are ideal for keeping fit without risking irritations.


Good Drinking Habits
  • When drinking, alternate water with alcoholic beverages at a one-to-one ratio. This sustains hydration.
  • Eat a full meal before taking alcohol to assist the body in metabolizing the alcohol with the food.
  • Take clear-colored liquors, not additive-filled beers. Lighter-colored alcohol contains fewer ingredients; thus, fewer chemicals which can, in turn, get absorbed more quickly.

Skin Care Routine
  • Get adequate sleep after taking alcohol. Sleeping makes the skin healthier and facilitates cell healing.
  • Dermatologists advise alcohol drinkers to sleep slightly propped up, which helps prevent fluid accumulation and puffiness.
  • Before going to bed, people are advised to observe a nighttime skincare routine. Concerned people are to carefully and thoroughly remove all makeup. Then, apply a deep-hydrating moisturizer and eye cream, all of which help reduce inflammation.


  • Smoking causes many harmful free radicals around the skin. To neutralize the free radicals, consuming antioxidants is vital.
  • Antioxidants containing carrots, citrus fruits, kiwis, mangoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, mackerel, tomatoes, and broccoli, are good sources of "Vitamins A, B, B5, K, C, and folic acid." Concerned people are advised to eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A and C.
  • Drinking carrot juice helps flush out the traces of nicotine from the body. Berries remove tobacco toxins.
  • Pomegranate improves collagen and elastin production, which are very good for the skin. They also encourage circulation.
Skin Rejuvenation Treatments
  • Heavy smokers require strategic treatment to achieve anti-aging results.
  • Such treatments include non-invasive or minimally-invasive processes that help rejuvenate skin. Former smokers can choose from laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, BroadBand light, wrinkle injections, or fillers.
  • Laser skin resurfacing is a popular treatment that removes the outer layer of damaged skin using laser technology. The loss of that damaged skin layer encourages the body to naturally produce a fresh, healthy layer that will emerge days after the treatment.
  • Although patients see fresher skin after one treatment, they usually choose to have more sessions depending on the type of laser.
  • Chemical peels exfoliate the skin to produce a soft, hydrated look. Even mild peels like PCA Ultra Peel I Exfoliating produce satisfactory results. BroadBand light BBL treatments are mild but effective ways to destroy unwanted spider veins caused by constricted blood vessels due to smoking. Wrinkle injections and fillers help soften deep furrows. Hyaluronic acid fillers are gaining popularity today.


Avoid Cosmetics with Fragrance and Many Ingredients
  • Fragrance chemicals used to conceal odors are not usually suitable for the skin. In general, fragrance should always be applied to clothes, not skin, to reduce the chance of a skin reaction.
  • Dermatologists advise people to go for makeup with fewer ingredients, thus, fewer chemicals. Fewer chemicals mean lower chances of skin reaction.
  • Consumers are advised to do a patch test by placing a small amount of the product inside an elbow. After 48 hours to 72 hours, if any swelling, redness, itching, or other symptoms appear, the product is not suitable for use.

Do Not Use Products Solely Based on the Label
  • Since there are no rigid rules about how terms like "hypoallergenic," "sensitivity tested," "dermatologist tested," or "non-irritating" can be used on products, these promises are no guarantee that the products will not react with a consumer's skin. Thus, consumers should not believe everything written on the product label.

Treat with Hydrocortisone or Stronger Steroids
  • Mild cosmetic reactions spontaneously heal without treatment. Treatment with 1% of hydrocortisone will provide relief in more serious cases.
  • If symptoms persist, stronger topical steroids might be needed, which should be administered as prescribed by a professional.

Air Pollutants

  • Drinking lots of water will help dilute the toxin concentration in the bloodstream. The average adult should take up to 2 liters or 0.5 gallons per day.
  • A diet rich in antioxidants is advised. Antioxidants neutralize the toxic free radicals from air pollutants entering the body.
  • The most important antioxidant supplements for the skin are "vitamins B3, C, and E; omega-3; β-carotene; selenium; coenzyme Q10; polypodium leucotomos; green tea; and lipoic acid." The Mediterranean diet includes several foods rich in antioxidants, such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, olive oil, poultry, and fish.
Skin Care Regimen
  • Cleansing the skin is very important in an anti-pollution skin regimen because air pollutants can enter the skin and weaken the skin barrier. Studies show that cleansing with an ultrasonic vibrational handheld brush is a good option. Nonetheless, such devices are not financially practicable for regular people. Thus, dermatologists recommend frequent manual facial cleansing.
  • The use of emollients enriched with "evidence-based topical antioxidants, such as vitamins A, B3 (niacinamide), C, and E; green tea; coenzyme Q10; and resveratrol" is another key preventive solution. Experts advise a twice-daily skincare regimen. The first part of the routine is skin cleansing. After cleansing, a silicone-based primer and/or moisturizer is used to build a shield to protect the skin from pollutants.
  • In their skincare routines, people are advised to use serums that help close pores, such as "witch hazel or an alcohol-based toner/serum." An evening cleanse required to remove airborne particles and other possible air contaminants present at the skin surface.


High Humidity
  • Too much humidity can result in skin inflammations.
  • Medical professionals recommend loose-fitting clothing that is made of breathable fabrics that allow perspiration to escape the skin.
  • Too much humidity can be combated by using the right cleansers to calm the skin and reduce clogging. Many cleansers are meant to be used at night due to their sensitivity to the sun. Cleansers and skincare products with SPF of at least 30 are ideal for all climates.
  • They also advise avoiding heavy creams and oils that obstruct the sweat glands and skin pores.

Low Humidity
  • Home humidity levels should be 30% to 50% for the average person. Dermatologists advise people to know their skin types and what works for them. People can use humidifiers to maintain these levels.
  • Applying moisturizers that are waterproof and sweatproof is advisable for people exposed to low humidity. Dermatologists recommend cleansers that contain exfoliating agents and hydroxys that help reduce skin debris and unclog sweat ducts.

Hard Water

  • Irritation related to hard water is usually caused by soap residue.
  • Since hard water makes soap less effective, people tend to use more soap. This, in turn, causes skin dryness. Thus, it is important to moisturize the skin regularly in such conditions. Skin moisturizer should be incorporated into the daily skincare routine. Individuals are also advised to switch to soap brands that do not use artificial colors and perfumes. Moisturizers are best applied when the skin is still damp.

Replace Soaps with More Suitable Alternatives
  • Instead of drying out the skin from thorough washing and excess use of soap, people are advised to use hand sanitizers and cleaners. Basic soap bars can easily irritate people who already have skin problems. Water-based cleansers and body wash are good alternatives to bathing soap.
  • Include aloe-based hand sanitizers in a hard water skincare routine. In general, sanitizers rich in minerals and activated nutrients are better options for excessive hand washing and common sanitizers. Sanitizers do not leave the residue that soap does with hard water, and they are easier to wash off.


Cool the Skin
  • Although heat rash clears off naturally, there are several remedies for heat rash. For mild heat rash affecting a small area, the skin can be cooled by dabbing a cool, wet washcloth on the affected area. A cool soapless bath is advised if the rash affects a larger portion of the skin.
  • Other cooling options include applying a cold compress or ice pack.

Lotions and Creams
  • Calamine lotion helps relieve itching and irritation caused by high temperatures. Individuals are also advised to apply anhydrous lanolin, which keeps sweat ducts from getting blocked.
  • An oatmeal paste can help relieve itching and inflammation. Oatmeal paste should be cool, not warm. Avoid oil-based products, especially products that contain petroleum or mineral oils which can clog the sweat ducts.

UV Index

Foods for Fortifying the Skin from UV Damage
  • To repair skin damage caused by UV rays, studies recommend eating the following foods: blueberries, watermelon, nuts and seeds, cauliflower, carrots, green tea, and leafy greens. Carrots contain beta carotene, which provides natural sun protection.
  • A 2010 study showed that green tea consumption led to fewer UV-induced tumors in mice due to a flavanol contained in both black and green tea. Green tea also protects skin against the loss of collagen.

Reduce Exposure to UV
  • Individuals should limit their exposure to UV light by avoiding being outdoors in direct sunlight for too long, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, when UV rays are strongest. They are advised to remember the "Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap" catchphrase.
  • Slip-on a shirt.
  • Slop on sunscreen.
  • Slap on a hat.
  • Wrap on sunglasses.
  • Medical professionals advise people to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts as they cover the most skin. Dark colors provide more sun protection than light colors. Tightly woven fabric is better than loosely woven clothing, and dry clothing is better than wet clothing in exposed conditions.

  • They also recommend sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher.
  • The SPF number is the level of protection against UVB rays - the main cause of sunburn.
  • A higher SPF number means more UVB protection. Sunscreens with 100+ SPFs are available but do not mean more protection. Nonetheless, no sunscreens provide complete protection.


Reduce Exposure to Pollen

  • Most pollen allergy treatments only manage allergy symptoms but do not cure them.
  • Immunotherapy medication is used to desensitize the body to pollen. Immunotherapy is successful in the long term, but it can take several years to complete.
  • Immunotherapy is done through a series of allergy shots taken 3-5 times a year. Over time, a physician increases the dose of the allergen in subsequent allergy shots. This desensitizes the body by helping it get used to the allergens.


Clothing and Cleansing
  • Individuals can protect their skin during wildfire season by wearing protective clothing that covers the skin and using emollients. Emollients strengthen the skin's barrier function.
  • Cleansing at night is very crucial to avoid giving more time for the pollutants to penetrate into the skin.
  • Individuals are not encouraged to scrub exposed skin to avoid breaking down the skin barrier.

Moisturizers and Creams
  • Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist, suggests applying a serum or moisturizer with ceramides which adds a physical barrier to which the pollutant particles can stick and not penetrate the skin. Moisturizers should be used alongside vitamin C. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals from wildfire pollutants. Vitamin C is so unstable and active that it is very difficult to incorporate it into any skincare product without using stable forms of derivative compounds.
  • Unfortunately, such products use forms of vitamin C that are either not readily absorbed by the skin or suitable as antioxidants. Individuals that want to use skin care products with vitamin C should go for those that include a 15-20% ascorbic acid concentration - the only active form suitable for the skin. Individuals are also advised to choose products that have a combination of vitamin C and E.
  • Another potent remedy is "selenium, a trace mineral that is a cofactor in a free radical-quenching enzyme called glutathione peroxidase." Individuals should take at least 100 micrograms of selenium a day. Selenium is more effective as a topical cream, but the mineral has a smell that is difficult to mask.

Wind Chill

Protective Clothing
  • Preventive measures include maintaining dry clothes, covering as much of the body as possible (using mittens and earmuffs), and proper covering by layered dressing. Layered dressing traps air between clothes which helps insulation. Wet clothing quickens heat loss and increases the chances of hypothermia.
  • Exposed people should have a base layer of thermal underwear. These can be sock and glove liners. Above this, they should wear loose-fitting clothes such as thick woolen socks, a turtleneck, a sweater, or sweatpants.
  • "The final layer should be a water-resistant winter jacket, mittens, and boots." Trapper hats, scarves, and balaclavas help protect the ears and the face.

Moisturizers and Recommended Foods
  • Wind Chills also lead to dry skin, chappy, cracked skin. In extreme conditions, the skin might bleed. Medical professionals recommend moisturizing several times a day. Humidifiers should be used in indoor spaces for affected persons to reduce skin damage caused by wind chill.
  • Simple pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be used to reduce mild pain and swelling if present.
  • Windburned skin should be treated with a creamy cleanser as water-based, and gel cleansers may be "too drying for windburned skin." Affected persons should apply emollient cream or Vaseline.
  • For windburned lips, affected persons are advised to drink lots of water, avoid hot beverages (as these cause blood vessels to expand, leading to rapid heat loss), and avoid spicy foods.

Air Conditioners and Heating

  • Humidifiers are recommended to be used alongside air conditioners and heaters.
  • Since indoor AC/heating systems were not custom-built for each individual but for the average adult, the humidity level of the average AC/heater might not be suitable for all occupants resulting in dry and flaky skin. Dermatologists say that air conditioners and heating systems remove a large amount of moisture from the air. Humidifiers put moisture back in the air and improve limp hair, cracked itchy and dry skin. Humidifiers help lock in moisture.
  • Humidifiers are recorded to be safe for all skin types. They should be cleaned regularly to avoid the growth of bacteria, yeast, mold, or fungi. It is also recommended that humidifiers should not be run for too long to prevent mildew growth.

  • Dermatologists also recommend using a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which helps lock in moisture.
  • Skincare experts recommend using skincare products that do not remove natural oils from the skin. They recommend soap-free pH restoring cleansers. Recommended skin cleansers use micelle technology capable of removing impurities and preventing future damage.
  • Experts advise applying moisturizers that lock in moisture and nourish the skin with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E. Vitamin E fights skin damage.


External Remedies
  • The first line of treatment should be sun-protective measures.
  • Epidemiologists recommend sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and extra moisturizer as remedies for sunburn caused by high altitudes.
  • People at high altitudes should wear full-sleeved clothes, wide-brimmed headgear, and full-sleeved clothes. Also, outdoor movement should be restricted to hours between 10 AM and 3 PM.
  • Topical creams containing aloe vera or hydrocortisone should be applied to exposed areas. Coconut oil and olive oil are also suitable. Broad-spectrum sunscreen and similar creams with a sun protection factor (SPF) >30 should be applied 20 min before going outside. The screen should also have a mixture of "organic UVB lters (cinnamates, PABA derivatives, salicylates, ensulizole), organic UVA lters (benzophenone, avobenzone, meradimate) and inorganic lters (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide)." A Sunscreen's sun protection factor (SPF) reects its ability to protect against UV-induced erythema.
  • They advise avoiding local anesthetic creams. These creams should be liberally applied before going outdoors and re-applied as often as possible, preferably every 3-4 hours.
  • Sunscreen should not be massaged into the skin but gently spread over it. Affected persons should minimize their soap usage. Soaps having high fatty acid content are more suited for high altitudes.
  • Frostbite is another common challenge for people at high altitudes. An analgesic such as diclofenac sodium, ibuprofen, or injection morphine sulfate is administered as a remedy for frostbite in such cases.

Oral Remedies
  • There are also edible remedies for skin damage at high altitudes.
  • Drinking lots of water keeps the body hydrated. Oral Vitamin C is also sun-protective. About 100mg of Vitamin C has sufficient sun protection qualities.
  • In extreme cases of actinic dermatitis, oral steroid or immunosuppressant such as azathioprine is administered orally. (4) Oral nifedipine is a remedy for chilblains caused by the high altitude. It should only be administered under supervision.

Research Strategy

The leveraged research studies published in trusted scientific and medical journals were available. We also relied on dermatologists' interviews in reputable news sites and industry articles. The research team focused on recent studies where available but had to include older scientific studies when they were more relevant and reputable. The research team provided a detailed description of the known treatments and remedies, including recommended dosage where available. Some descriptions were brief because corresponding research studies were not publicly available.

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