Can Moving To A New City or Country Affect Your Skin?

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

You may have heard this slogan when talking to an agent about the worth of real estate properties: Location, location, location. In short it means your piece of property can experience a large increase or decrease in price due to only its location. The phrase highlights the importance of location when bearing in mind the worth of a property.

So, what is the worth of your skin? Can moving to a new city or country affect your skin?

Read on!

Difference in my skin living in New York vs Beijing China

From The epicenter of the city, Greenwich Village to the soul food institutions and African-American heritage, Harlem, or the posh residential Upper East area famed for its wealthy Manhattan residents, through Park Slope the down-to-earth, open-minded community of families and young professionals, and Williamsburg, the trendy neighborhood that draws the young and the fashionable to its chic boutiques, hip cafes and vibrant restaurants, or multicultural casual Astoria and Forest Hills in Queens —to Bushwick, a popular neighborhood straddling the Queens-Brooklyn boundary or Prospect Park, an urban park in Brooklyn, safely located between Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, and Windsor Terrace, or Astoria and Forest Hills in Queens. Many New Yorkers will boldly claim that their neighborhoods is which makes NYC ideal for them. Nevertheless, if you live in a wonderful location with all the excitement and convenience that the big city brings, it has a price, for your skin!

There are at least five major things that factored in both cities

  • Climate

The distance between Beijing, China and New York, U.S.A is approximately 10,956 km or 6,808 miles by flight

Beijing has a hot summer climate with dry winters, whereas New York has a humid subtropical climate

As a result, I was prone to getting sick a lot more during winter time in Beijing than when I was living in New York.

Beijing is in or near the warm temperate dry forest region whereas New York lies in the cool temperate moist forest biome.

There is an extra 51 more hours of sunshine per year in Beijing. So, how has each city affected my skin?

Well, it is true in Beijing when seasons change my skin is affected, when I lived in New York, I didn’t experience any change. My skin is more prone to dryness during winter than any other season in Beijing. But the good thing is the skin can adapt to both the negative and positive climate changes. However, others have harder time.

For example, one of my best-friends who is from Malaysia, has very good skin when she is home, but upon returning to Beijing has a frenetic skin. Immediately, her skin senses that the air is dry and rushes to look for moisture in the dry Beijing winter season. Her dehydrated epidermis often causes oil to trap underneath her skin, leading to an increase in breakouts. So it’s safe to say that the climate plays a huge role on our skin.

So how do we keep with the changes? If you move from a humid area to a low-humidity area, you may need to change to a heavier moisturizing cream so that your skin locks in its moisture. Under other conditions, a wetter environment will require a lighter moisturizer. Temperatures can also affect the skin because heat can cause redness and capillaries to become more visible. Also, warmer climate can cause an increase in oil production, which can clog the pore and more blemishes may occur. Use of products made from aloe vera, and chamomile will help soothe the skin and reduce sensitivity.

  • Food

It is safe to say that most Chinese have never heard of Panda Express or P. F. Chang's China Bistro. In fact, authentic Chinese cuisine is nothing like American Chinese cuisine. It varies enormously from region to region: Sichuan cuisine is spicy, Shandong cuisine is normally salty and crisp, and Cantonese cuisine is sweet. Here in Beijing we can get the whole nine yards. In fact, the food can be a little greasy, but still delicious. We all know that New York is a melting pot and that China has hot pot. It's a dish that has become one of my favorite dishes. Now, comes the question, has a change in my diet caused a change on my skin? Well, the change is not so noticeable, but my face is fleshy, but I think it's called putting on weight. There hasn’t been anything hair raising that I can directly link to a change in my diet.

  • Pollution

Shortly after moving to Beijing from New York, I began to notice that many young, slender and cheerful Chinese girls had bad skin. I did not know if it was due to skin bleaching or pollution. Regardless of what it was, I wondered if I too would experience the same fate. When I see a Chinese girl, I often look carefully at her face to determine her age. It seems that if they were younger, their skin was beautiful but some had begun to bleach the skin too early, causing pimples that were scaring their delicate faces. But did the pollution change my skin care routine, well, I use the occasional facial mask. I find it therapeutic and fun to use. Back in New York City, I had never used the wet mask before, I had always done my own mask with honey and milk. While air pollution continues to be a major problem in Beijing and cities around the world, consumers are seeing a huge increase in the skin care industry. Many of my Chinese friends often volunteer their own skincare routine on how they protect themselves from pollution. Many of the routine I heard involved lots of sunscreen. Although pollution may play a major factor in our skin, but we should also acknowledge that the lifestyle we lead can have a significant impact as well on our skin.

  • Water

"Don't drink the water, buy bottled water." My friend said to me, even for cooking she insisted when I gave her a perplexed look. But in New York, the water is delicious, it's some of the best water in the world. Why does the water affect our skin and what do you need to know about water? There are two types of water, hard water and soft water. Hard water is a term for water rich in calcium - which is good for stronger bones, but not so great for our skin. Dr.Dennis Gross, MD explained that calcium is deposited on the skin and changes the chemistry of its oil, which hinders the skin's ability to hydrate. It also leads to enlarged pores, acne, rashes, itching and rosacea. The buildup can also weaken the nails and hair.

The good doctor said that the biggest concern for those washing with hard water is eczema.

Because the hard water passes through chalk and limestone, as well as rocks and carbonates— can damage the barrier of the skin and lead to the risk of developing eczema.

Soft water is treated water in which the only ion is sodium, it has a salty taste and is sometimes not drinkable. However, with fresh water, it is much easier to lather your soap and shampoo. Hence, I have concluded that it is best to use soft water for washing the skin. But how does one determine if the water is the main issue?

  • Anxiety

Last but not least, stress. I believe that many skin issues have their roots in the changes coming from our body. Let us establish that stress on our skin is a disadvantage, perhaps more than the other points above. Because Stress is us attacking our own skin, when we are stress the body causes a chemical reaction in our body that makes the skin more sensitive and reactive. This is because stress causes your body to make hormones like cortisol, which causes the glands in your skin to make more sebum. Oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin problems.