Health Skin

Three reasons your morning routine could be ruining your skin and how to fix it

Clear and healthy skin is a dream for many with a lot of us suffering with a break out or two – especially during the colder months.

From long hot showers to fancy cups of coffee, leading doctor and health professionals have broken down the top three things in a morning routine that could be leading to your health complications and skin concerns.

So if you are someone who struggles with your skin, changing up your morning regime may be the easy fix you need.

Here are three things that could be hampering your clear complexion and what you can do to help, according to CCF Media.

Long, hot showers

A long, how shower in the morning is often a key part of a morning routine.

Freshening up and starting the day off with a steamy shower in the winter months takes that chill off the dark, cold mornings but it may not be all good news.

Unfortunately, that hot shower that most of us crave first thing could be having a negative impact on our skin.

Dr Martin Kinsella, leading aesthetics doctor and Founder of BioID Health explains that hot showers can lead to dryness and irritation; especially as we get older.

Cropped shot of a handsome young man having a shower at home
Most of us jump in a hot shower first thing

“Hot showers may seem like a great idea to wake you up on a cold winter morning, but the hot water can really dry out and irritate the skin. Hot water causes damage to the keratin cells located on the outer layers of our skin. Disrupting these cells prevents the skin from retaining moisture, causing it to dry out.”

It might be pretty easy to just dismiss dry skin and blame the cold weather during the winter months. However, as we get older our skin begins to dry out naturally as collagen levels decrease within the body.

Dr Kinsella adds: “When you reach a certain age, your body naturally stops producing as much oestrogen and therefore your collagen levels decline. When this happens, your skin may become more dry than usual and perhaps even itchy. Unfortunately, this leads to irritation and more pronounced signs of ageing.

“Instead, you should try opting for cooler showers, which are actually very beneficial to your overall health. Cold showers increase circulation, calm itchy skin and have also been proven to help wake you up more than a hot shower. In addition, the cold water tightens and constricts the blood flow which gives the skin a healthy glow.”

Lou Sommereux, Clinical Director at Cosmex Clinic, a leading skin rejuvenation clinic in Cambridge adds: “If your skin is dry or irritated, you should try not to scratch it and avoid using skincare, soaps and detergents with strong perfumes – both of these things will only cause further irritation to the skin and make it feel worse.

“You should opt for perfume-free soaps and cleansers that are specially created for those with ‘dry and sensitive skin’ – they are a safer option and won’t strip your skin.

“Next, you should drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated, hot water can really dehydrate you and cause the skin to become dull and tight, which leads to the appearance of more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles.”

Mel Gravel-Barnes at Croma Pharma, a leading producer of hyaluronic acid for non-invasive aesthetic medicine adds: “If you are suffering from dry skin, when it comes to skincare, your primary focus should be hydration.

“Products enriched with hyaluronic acid are a great option. As a natural antioxidant, hyaluronic acid helps to quench the skin, lock in moisture, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

“It is the leading ingredient in the Croma Farewell range and because it helps keep the skin hydrated, it can also relieve the burning, or itchy sensations associated with irritated skin.”

Your morning coffee

On a sleepy morning, a strong coffee is essential to some before they begin their day.

On the cold winter morning, a strong cup of the hot stuff in its purest can be rich in antioxidants – generally good for your overall health.

However, the same cannot be said for favourites such as lattes and cappuccinos as well as extra flavoured syrup shots.

Dr Charlotte Norton, Medical Director at The Slimming Clinic explains that whilst black coffees with a hint of milk are full of antioxidants, popular pumpkin spiced lattes and other sugary fancy coffees are just empty calories which can lead to weight gain and diabetes.

“Coffee can be good for you -but only when you keep your order simple. Avoid additional sugars, drizzles and syrups – these may make you feel full after drinking, but they contain no nutritional value, are packed with sugar and can equate to around 500 calories.

“The excess amounts of sugar will also cause a spike in your blood sugar, which may cause you to reach for more sugary snacks later in the day. Ideally, women should consume no more than 24 grams of sugar per day, and men 36 grams.”

A latte is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk.
Some coffee options are full of sugar

A large coffee along can contain around 80 grams of sugar which in addition to meals and snacks throughout the day it is easy to go well over the daily recommended sugar intake.

Consuming too many added sugars is also linked to both types of diabetes. Coffee drinks that are high in saturated fat or sugar may contribute to insulin resistance which may eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

Dr Charlotte Norton adds: “Excess sugar increases the risk of diabetes both directly, and indirectly. Studies have shown that people who regularly drink sugar-sweetened beverages have a roughly 25% greater risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, drinking just one sugar-sweetened beverage per day increases your risk by 13%, and this is separate to any associated weight gain.

“I recommend keeping your daily coffee orders simple and drinking plenty of water to help flush out your body. Water also helps to control your blood glucose levels and keeps your skin clear and bright.”

Your Morning Commute

The morning commute rush can be pretty stressful. From running to catch public transport, traffic or parking it can be a lot.

But if you are lucky enough to be close enough to walk into work, your skin may be negatively impacted.

This is because many of us Scots do not include SPF in our morning ritual. The sun might be behind the clouds with cold air the norm in Scotland, but damage can still be done.

Lou Sommereux, Clinical Director at Cosmex Clinic, a leading skin rejuvenation clinic in Cambridge explains that even when it is pouring down with rain, we are still exposed to harmful UV rays from the sun. This leads to several skin issues, including hyperpigmentation, skin irritation and even Melanoma.

“Whilst the sun provides vitamin D and can help put a spring in our step – it is bad news for your skin. Without protection, prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can cause pigmentation, skin irritation, premature ageing and even Melanoma.

“Even if it’s pouring it down with rain, you should use a good SPF every day to provide that first level of protection. Not only will SPF combat sun damage leading to hyperpigmentation and sunspots, but it will also help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

“You should also consider using Vitamin C treatments within your skincare routine. This is a natural antioxidant that helps to protect the skin and promote collagen production; it is also known to help improve the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage.”

John Culbert from Cambridge Stratum, a leading skin maintenance device company adds: “Sun damage can make the skin appear dull and dry with visible signs of hyperpigmentation and sunspots.”

Living in a busy area can also work against dreams of clear skin. Hight levels of air pollution from soot, smoke, dust and even tiny particle invisible to the naked eye can be harmful to our skin.

As well as leaving skin feeling dirty, some chemicals attached to pollution particles can penetrate through the skin’s natural protective barrier, blocking pores and leading to acne and breakouts.

People with sensitive skin, or conditions such as eczema, can be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution, as they have a compromised skin barrier to start with.

It is advised that we all use SPF before setting out for the day to help protect our skin.

Keeping skin clean and hydrated can also breakdown and remove pollutants and help to keep our skin looking its best.

Including things like Vitamin E and C as well as hyaluronic acid can help combat skin damage.

Dr Kinsella also encourages exfoliating treatments to deep clean the pores from any trapped pollutants and acne causing bacteria.

“Try to use a chemical exfoliant, such as salicylic acid around three times per week to give your pores a really deep clean.

“Small particles of bacteria can get stuck in your pores and lead to acne. Try to avoid harsh physical exfoliants though, especially if you have sensitive skin as these can often be harsh on the skin, and further impact your skins moisture barrier.”

Pollutants in the air can also trigger health complications, from respiratory conditions such as asthma and even hormonal imbalances.

Dr Kinsella adds: “Pollutants in the air may cause your stress hormones to spike in both men and women, which may lead to a hormonal imbalance. This is perfectly natural and will happen to everybody at some stage in life.

“If you suffer from frequent headaches, difficulty sleeping, increased thirst or prolonged fatigue, you should speak to your doctor who will be able to provide treatment, such as bioidentical hormones to rebalance and restore the exact hormones and nutrients that you are deficient in.”

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