For over 35 years I’ve been constantly warning consumers about the numerous internal and external factors that harm skin. The environment, nutrition, pollution, smoking, second-hand smoke, lifestyle choices, climate, and using skin care products or devices that cause irritation and damage skin’s barrier. The association between all these negative influences now has an official name: exposome factors.
The Center for Disease Control defines the exposome as the measure of everything you will be exposed to, from birth to the end of life, that can be a source of health problems. It is a huge, new, and intricate area of study. The branch of exposome research that I find particularly interesting is the one exploring how exposome factors age skin, trigger breakouts, and contribute significantly to other skin disorders.
When it comes to skin, exposome factors are easier to identify and measure than they are for the body. That’s because skin is so quickly and negatively impacted by the unhealthy things we expose it to, inside and out.
For example, while you can’t see the damage one minute of unprotected sun exposure causes on the surface of skin, you can measure it by looking at the lower layers of skin with histological non-invasive testing methods. What that research has revealed is that even just one minute of unprotected sun exposure begins destroying collagen and elastin, mutates DNA, and causes abnormal melanin to be formed.
I’m looking forward to seeing the new research about exposome factors for skin. It will give all of us a holistic approach to taking care of skin that not only involves skin care but everything we do.
People often ask me when they should start using anti-aging products and I’ve always said when you’re born because that’s when your skin starts aging. If you’re old enough to ask me the question, you’re already late to the game.
Of course, it is never to late to start, but starting is imperative. Thoughtful anti-aging skin care needs to start at birth.
For more on this topic, read When Should You Begin Using Anti-Aging Products?