Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s important to take care of it to keep it healthy. When skin gets damaged, it can be tough to repair and may lead to serious health problems.

There are a variety of harmful substances that can damage your skin, so it’s important to avoid them. Here are several harmful substances you should avoid to keep your skin healthy.


One of the most harmful substances to your skin is tobacco smoke. Tobacco is filled with various chemicals that can damage your skin, including tar and nicotine.

Long-term exposure to tobacco smoke can cause wrinkles, yellow nails and fingers, hair loss, and dark spots. It can also cause heart disease and various types of cancers.

It’s important to avoid smoking and being around people who are smoking. If you’re struggling to quit smoking, various resources are available to help you, including nicotine replacement therapies and counseling.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays

Another harmful substance to your skin is excessive sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a form of radiation emitted from the sun or artificial sources like lights or tanning beds.

UV rays from the sun can damage your skin, causing wrinkles, age spots, and an increased risk for skin cancer. Excessive UV rays can also worsen existing skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

You should limit your exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. You should also wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses when you’re outdoors.


Alcohol is a common substance that is often consumed in excess. While moderate alcohol consumption is generally safe, excessive drinking or alcohol addiction can be harmful to your health.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause many problems, including acne, redness, and premature aging. Alcohol can also cause dehydration, leading to dry, irritated skin and making it more susceptible to damage.

Limiting your alcohol intake and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated is important. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, there are a variety of resources available to help you quit, such as rehab and therapy. You could also give sober living a try.


There are a variety of drugs that can be harmful to your skin. These include illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and prescription medications, such as steroids and some acne medications.

Drug use can cause various problems, including skin infections, abscesses, and scarring. It can also make your skin more susceptible to damage from UV rays and other substances.

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, various resources are available to help you quit. These include counseling, support groups, and treatment programs.


While sugar isn’t necessarily harmful to your skin, consuming too much of it can be. Sugar can cause inflammation, which can lead to a variety of problems, including acne and wrinkles.

In addition, sugar can damage the collagen and elastin in your skin, which are proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic.

Limiting sugar intake and eating a balanced diet is key to proper skincare. If you have a sweet tooth, there are a variety of healthy alternatives you can try, such as fruit or honey.


Chlorine is a chemical found in many household products, such as bleach and disinfectants. It’s also commonly found in pools. While using these products is generally safe, long-term exposure to chlorine can harm your skin.

Chlorine can cause irritation, dryness, and redness. It can also strip away the natural oils in your skin, making it more susceptible to damage.

It’s critical to limit your exposure to chlorine and to wear protective clothing, such as gloves and a mask, when using household cleaning products. You should also shower immediately after swimming in chlorinated water to remove the chemicals from your skin.


Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks. While moderate caffeine consumption is generally safe, excessive intake can be harmful to your health.

Caffeine can cause dehydration, which can lead to dry, irritated skin. It can also increase your stress levels and make you more susceptible to anxiety and depression.

It’s essential to limit your caffeine intake and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you’re looking for alternatives to caffeine, you may want to consider decaffeinated coffee or tea.

Final thoughts

As you get older, your skin is bound to change. However, you can do a few things to help keep it healthy and looking its best. A big one is to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful substances.

The earlier you can start to address your skin health, the better. So, if you think you may be using any of the substances on this list excessively, it’s important to talk to a doctor or dermatologist about your options.