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Causes of skin damage (besides the sun)

Whether you've picked up habits you didn't know were affecting you, or you're just having a bad day, your skin isn't always going to be perfect. There are many ways you can damage your skin. Many automatically assume that they are safe with a little sunscreen. But the sun isn't the only thing that can damage your body's largest organ. Here are five causes of skin damage, excluding sun exposure.

Smoking Cigarette smoking causes your blood vessels to narrow, reducing the amount of nutrients and oxygen reaching the skin. This causes your skin to lose elasticity. This lack of nutrients also prevents your skin from healing wounds, which can lead to skin ulcers. In addition, smoking can cause lower estrogen levels in women, which can dry out the skin.

Irritant substances
Certain chemicals in your cleaning products or detergent can irritate your skin and cause redness or allergic reactions in susceptible people. Ammonia and bleach are two common skin irritants. These chemicals can cause contact dermatitis, which can lead to scaling, irritation and even chemical burns. To avoid this, wear gloves when cleaning or look for natural products to wash your clothes.

Alcohol Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can dry out your skin. This is because alcohol pulls water out of your body and dehydrates you. Alcohol can also cause inflammation on the skin's surface, dilate capillaries and cause a ruddy-looking complexion, or worsen pre-existing rosacea.

Sugar Eating too much sugar can not only cause you to gain weight, it can also damage your skin. When you eat excessive amounts of sugar, it enters your body and attaches to your protein or fat molecules, resulting in a process called glycation. Glycation forms new sugar proteins called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which trap and damage collagen, resulting in wrinkles, loss of elasticity, stiffness and accelerated aging.

Smile and frown Your skin loses elasticity as you age, making it harder to recover from those weird faces you once made as a kid. Repeated contraction of your facial muscles over the years leads to wrinkles that show up even if you don't frown or smile. But emotions are a natural part of life, so it's quite difficult to avoid smiling and frowning.