‘Five A Day’ Focus: Toxins & Damage

A toxin is a general term for a substance or chemical the body has no positive use for. They can be introduced to the body through our own actions, or imposed on us by our environments.

Damaging forces like UV rays and pollution are part of our environment and while we can minimise our exposure to them – they are incredibly difficult to avoid all together.

The best way to beat the effects that Toxins and Damaging forces have on the skin is to avoid them as best you can, and embrace antioxidants both internally and topically.

Here are the top five Toxins and Damaging forces to look out for:


Alcohol is one of the skin’s worst enemies. It dehydrates the body and causes blood vessels to expand, leaving skin dry, hot and itchy. Alcohol also stimulates the sebaceous glands, and suppresses the liver’s detoxification processes, fuelling acne and blemishes.

Sun Damage

Sun damage accounts for 90% of premature skin ageing. UVB rays penetrate the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) and are responsible for age spots. UVA rays penetrate down into the lower levels of skin, breaking down essential proteins like Collagen that help keep skin plump and supple.


Smoking starves the skin cells of oxygen, replacing their healthy glow with a dull yellowish tinge. Smoking also ages the skin by using up our precious Vitamin C supplies. Our bodies need Vitamin C to produce Collagen; without it skin is nowhere near as plump, firm and supple as it could be.


Excess sugar in the bloodstream attaches itself to protein cells, preventing them from repairing and regenerating as they should. The proteins responsible for a plump complexion – Collagen and Elastin, are most prone to this process, which causes them to become weak and brittle and skin to become much more prone to fine lines and wrinkles.


The effect of pollution on the skin is known as environmental oxidative stress. This is because damaging free radicals in cigarette smoke, car fumes and smog kick start an oxidation process in the skin that breaks down Collagen and the fibres that keep skin elastic – contributing to premature ageing.

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