What does unhealthy skin look like?

Our skin is our largest organ, and one of the most complex. It performs a number of vital functions1; it is a barrier to the external environment, it holds our organs together, it provides immunological protection and it regulates our temperature. Each of these activities is extremely important in maintaining our overall health.

With the skin playing such a crucial role, it’s important that we look after it. So how should we care for it? And what do we need to avoid?

What damages the skin

Our skin is a great indicator of our general health. For example, serious health problems such as diabetes and liver disease will often present in the skin, causing discolouration, dryness and itchiness. Undiagnosed food allergies, thyroid disorders and high levels of stress and anxiety can also wreak havoc.

Beyond medical conditions, there are other factors that damage the skin. An unhealthy diet deprives the body of essential nutrients and vitamins, something which will soon become evident in a sallow, dry and wrinkled complexion2. Smokers will notice poor skin health, since nicotine prevents oxygen and nutrients from flowing to skin cells3. Other pollutants also take their toll on the skin, leaving it congested and inflamed.

However, sun exposure remains the biggest factor in our skin health. It impacts our skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin, which makes it less supple, leading to sagging and wrinkles. It also makes the skin dry, pigmented, rough and, most worryingly, at risk of DNA damage and the onset of skin cancer.

Deep beneath the surface

A lot of sun damage happens deep beneath the surface. When we are exposed to sunlight, millions of free radicals are released into our skin, damaging our skin cells and hindering its ability to repair cells and function properly. It’s all too easy to forget about this deep cell damage, because symptoms aren’t always visible on the surface of the skin.

The best way to identify deep damage is with a professional skin analysis, which captures multi-spectral images of the skin to reveal its true condition. While at a superficial level, we might notice things like uneven tone and blemishes, at a much deeper level the skin analysis will reveal UV damage, pigmentation and prominent blood vessels.

Skin analysis image showing pigmentation of the epidermis

We all need to take care of our skin

We must bear in mind that ‘health’ can look different on different skin types. For instance, lighter skin tones, particularly types I and II on the Fitzpatrick scale4, will be more prone to burning and blistering after sun exposure. Lighter skin tones will notice fine lines and pigmentation as the first signs of long-term sun damage. Meanwhile, darker skin types, such as Asian or Mediterranean, are less likely to burn but more likely to notice thickening blood vessels and pigmentation.

Different skin types are also prone to different symptoms like dryness, enlarged pores or blemishes. And just because our skin might look ‘healthy’ on the outside, that’s not to say that there isn’t damage underneath. That’s why it’s so important for all of us to take care of our skin.

Sun protection, all year round

The most crucial part of any skin care routine is applying a high-level broad-spectrum SPF, every single day. And nothing protects like Heliocare 360°, a multi-award-winning sun protection range that protects against UVA, UVB, visible light and infrared-A.

What makes Heliocare 360° so special is Fernblock®, a supercharged clinically proven anti-oxidant that defends the skin from within. Fernblock® is unique to the Heliocare® range and takes it far beyond a typical sunscreen. This powerful extract from the plant Polypodium leucotomos, which has a natural protective mechanism from sun damage, is the result of years of scientific research. Every Heliocare 360° product contains Fernblock®, including our gentle and lightweight Water Gel, which is ideal for most skin types. We recommend pairing with the Endocare RADIANCE C Ferulic EDAFENCE® Serum, created by Cantabria Labs - the same makers of Heliocare - and offering additional antipollution technology for even healthier skin.

You can get the very best deal on the Heliocare 360° Water Gel and Endocare RADIANCE C Ferulic EDAFENCE® Serum with our exclusive Face the Day kit, available with savings of 25%. It contains everything your skin needs to be protected from daylight and pollution, plus collagen and hydration boosters for a smoother, brighter and all-importantly healthier complexion.


1 go.gale.com. (n.d.). Document - Gale Academic OneFile. [online] Available at: https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA99988415&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=14720795&p=AONE&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7E9a0ba161 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2022].

2 How an unhealthy diet can directly impact your skin. (n.d.). belfasttelegraph. [online] Available at: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/features/how-an-unhealthy-diet-can-directly-impact-your-skin-34198609.html [Accessed 21 Feb. 2022].

3 Mayo Clinic. (2017). Smoking: Does it cause wrinkles? [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/expert-answers/smoking/faq-20058153 [Accessed 21 Feb. 2022].

4 Fitzpatrick skin phototype Genetic (physical traits). (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.arpansa.gov.au/sites/default/files/legacy/pubs/RadiationProtection/FitzpatrickSkinType.pdf [Accessed 21 Feb. 2022].


In the article

Endocare RADIANCE C Ferulic EDAFENCE Serum
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Water Gel
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