Best States For Healthy Skin - The Dermatology Review
Close

Best States For Healthy Skin

The health of our skin can be impacted by a number of environmental and lifestyle factors, from the natural world to our jobs and diet, skin health, and can highlight and have an effect on our overall health.

To help reveal the skin health of the US, we’ve analyzed which of the continental US states have are the best for healthy skin.

Which is the best state for healthy skin?

Analyzing all of the states in the continental US, we’ve scored each based on several factors, including: average UV exposure, water quality, average hours of sleep, diet, and even income level. All of which have been shown to impact and affect how healthy your skin might be.

The best states for skin health

Our analysis of the 48 continental US states revealed that New Jersey has the best environment and lifestyles for healthy skin, with 525 points out of 672 (78.1%). Specifically, New Jersey scored well in the areas of diet, sleep, and obesity.

The state of New Jersey is closely followed by New York, which scored 502 points; 74.7% of the 672 available. New York scored highly in the areas of UV exposure and diet.

Rounding off the top five (5) states for skin health are Connecticut (498), Massachusetts (490), and Washington (470).

At the other end of the scale, Oklahoma was found to have the worst environments and lifestyles for skin health, scoring just 182 points (27.1% of those available), scoring poorly in the areas of diet, obesity, and active lifestyles.

Just above Oklahoma, Mississippi (213), Arkansas (216), Louisiana (232), and Alabama (237) make up the remaining bottom five (5) states for healthy skin.

UV exposures impact on healthy skin

One of the key environmental factors to skin health is UV exposure, with UVA and UVB common causes of skin cancers, aging, sunburn, and a range of other impacts on skin health.

Analyzing data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), we were able to see which states experience the most UV exposure annually, and which in which states people should be applying SPF frequently.

As the map shows, those living in Washington state are exposed to the least amount of harmful UV rays, experiencing 3594.08 Wh/m². Conversely, those living in Arizona are exposed to the most (5528.55 Wh/m²).

As you can see the further north, and ‘greener’ the environments, the less exposed you are to UV radiation.

Water hardness’ impact on skin health

Water hardness can be linked to many skin problems, not least acne, and eczema.

Hard water can also have an impact on your finances, causing you to pay for new soaps, moisturizers, and other skincare products more frequently. This is due to the chemical reactions between soap and the minerals in hard water leading to films of ‘soap scum’ blocking pores and stripping the skin’s natural moisture.

Those living in South Dakota experience the hardest water in the continental US, with a median hard water reading of 593 mg/l CaCO3. The high level of water hardness indicates that people in South Dakota are likely to experience drier skin, abnormally frequent replacement of soaps and other products, and increased acne breakouts.

In comparison, Maine was found to have the softest water, with a median 4.20 mg/l CaCO3 reading in the state.

Air quality’s impact on skin health

Pollution in the air is linked to a variety of diseases and other conditions, however, research has also shown that poor air quality can impact skin health.

Poor air quality and high levels of pollution in the air have been linked to skin aging, inflammatory or allergic skin conditions (such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis), acne, and even skin cancer.

Our analysis found Washington state has the best air quality, of the continental US states, with an average air quality score of 33.5. Nearby Oregon ranks as the second-best state for air quality, with an air quality score of 36.1, closely followed by Maine (36.5).

The worst state for skin health due to air quality is Utah, with an average air quality score of 51.2.

The average score of 51+ breaches the “good” air quality banding, putting Utah in the “moderate” banding, meaning that while the air quality is acceptable, it can pose a risk to those who are sensitive to air pollution.

Average temperature effects on skin health

Temperature can have multiple impacts on the skin, too hot and the increased sweat can lead to breakouts of acne and heat rashes, too cold and the reduced humidity can lead to skin ‘cracking’ and flare-ups of “dry skin” conditions such as eczema.

In light of the impacts of the colder, dryer, air impacting the skin and leading to an increase in various conditions that can take a longer time to clear, we’ve ranked the states by their average annual temperatures, with ‘warmer’ states being the best.

Naturally, the warmer areas are in the southern states, with the best state temperatures being Florida, with an average temperature of 70.7°F (21.5°C). The second warmest state being Louisiana, with an average temperature of 66.4°F (19.1°C).

The coldest state, and worst for skin health, is North Dakota. The average annual temperature in North Dakota is 40.4°F (4.7°C), closely followed by Maine, 41°F (5°C).

Humidity impact on skin health

Relative humidity can have a number of effects. If the environment is too humid you’ll sweat excessively, see acne breakouts, experience heat rash, or even suffer from anhidrosis. Too low humidity and you can suffer or see a flare-up in dry skin conditions, or even heightened skin allergies.

To analyze this, we’ve ranked each state based on how close their average humidity levels are from the sweet spot of between 30% to 60% RH (Relative Humidity), using 45% as the key figure.

Our analysis found that New Mexico has the best average Relative Humidity (RH) for skin health, in the continental US. New Mexico averages a RH score of 45.9%, just 0.9% away from mid-point (45%) of the 30-60% RH best range for skin.

In comparison, Florida, with an average RH of 74.5%, has a humidity score that is 29.5% above the 45% “sweet spot”. With a RH 29% above the 45% “sweet pot, Louisiana is the second-worst state for humidity and skin health.

Sleeping and skin health

The benefits of sleeping enough are well known, but one that often gets overlooked is the impact on skin health. Yes, beauty sleep is a real thing.

Getting 7 or more hours of sleep a night has been shown to reduce the onset and number of wrinkles, improve skin complexion, brighten and reduce puffiness around eyes, improve hair health, help you appear happier (and healthier), and improve the efficacy of skin products.

Our research found that 45.5% of people in the state of New Jersey sleep for 7 or more hours, the highest of any continental US state. The second best state for skin health through sleep is Maryland, with 43.5% of its population getting more than 7 hours of sleep per night.

South Dakota (27%) and North Dakota (27.5%) were found to have the lowest percentage of people getting enough sleep for good skin health.

Diet and skin health

Healthy eating and a good intake of fruit and vegetables are great ways of improving your regular health, as well as your skin health.

Eating fresh fruit and vegetables, as part of a healthy diet, has been shown to fight wrinkles, improve complexion, and reduce and heal blemishes.

Analyzing data on the percentage of each state’s population that consumes fruit less than once a day, revealed that nearly half (48.4%) of people in Oklahoma don’t consume fruit daily, closely followed by those in Mississippi (47.5%).

People living in Vermont are the most likely to eat at least one piece of fruit per day, with just 32% of the population consuming fruit less than once per day.

Activity and healthy skin

Regular physical activity can help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin, keeping the skin healthy, promoting collagen production, and helping to boost new skin cells, each of which helps to improve complexion, “glow”, and fight skin aging.

Our analysis found that Utah has the most active population, with just 18.5% reported as engaging in no leisure-time physical activity. The second most active state in the US is Colorado, with just 18.7% not engaging in physical exercise.

Mississippi was found to be the least active state, with 37.7% of the population engaging in no leisure-time physical activity. Oklahoma is the second least active, with over a third (34%) of the state’s population not engaging in, potentially skin health improving, physical exercise.

Obesity and skin health

Obesity can lead to numerous health and skin issues, in part due to the increase in skin surface areas but also due to the impact on the body’s functions and blood flow.

Some of the skin impacts are; changes and imbalances in hormones, increased sweating and sebum production causing breakouts of acne, increased water loss causing dryer skin and dermatitis types of conditions, stretch marks, and even bacterial and fungal infections.

Researching CDC data, we found that Colorado has the lowest population of obese adults (23.8%), with Massachusetts (25.2%) and New Jersey (25.7%) round off the states with the lowest percentages of obese adults.

Mississippi was found to have the largest percentage of obese adults, with 40.8% of the adult population recorded and estimated to be obese by the CDC.

Income and skin health

From access and affordability of products to home infrastructure and facilities, income can play a surprising part in skin health.

Those in more affluent areas often have access to “better” products and services for this skin health, while also being able to afford (and access) better food and physical activity options, which can aid in ‘healthier’ lifestyles.

Analyzing annual median household income by state, we found that those living in Maryland have the highest median house income, with a median income of $95,572. Maryland is followed in the rankings by New Jersey, where the median household income is $87,726.

Mississippi ($44,787) and Louisiana ($51,707) were found to have the lowest median household incomes, with the median income in Mississippi less than half that of Maryland.

Best states for skin health index

States

UV Exposure Score

Water Quality Score

Air Quality Score

Average Temperature Score

Relative Humidity Score

Sleep Hours Score

Fruit Consumption Score

Physical Activity Score

Obese Population Score

Median Income Score

Total Score

New Jersey

64

37

21

28

34

96

92

14

92

47

525

New York

90

42

34

13

20

82

88

18

84

31

502

Connecticut

82

36

16

21

28

66

90

38

76

45

498

Massachusetts

74

41

32

15

14

54

94

26

94

46

490

Washington

96

28

48

16

12

28

74

46

80

42

470

Vermont

92

39

41

6

7

6

96

43

88

36

454

Maryland

56

29

8

30

31

94

64

39

50

48

449

Oregon

62

35

47

17

33

22

80

36

78

38

448

New Hampshire

78

25

39

8

22

48

82

42

54

44

442

Rhode Island

72

44

23

23

12

72

78

23

68

27

442

Pennsylvania

86

31

14

19

26

86

62

29

44

28

425

Minnesota

80

18

42

3

22

18

84

44

66

41

418

Virginia

44

40

16

33

32

70

54

33

52

40

414

California

10

21

13

38

41

40

74

41

90

39

407

Delaware

54

30

11

34

16

92

66

22

32

35

392

Maine

88

48

46

2

7

26

84

10

56

22

389

Wisconsin

84

24

38

7

9

50

50

40

34

24

360

Montana

66

20

36

5

42

12

38

45

80

12

356

Idaho

46

32

20

9

40

8

70

37

72

20

354

Illinois

48

6

25

26

16

46

54

29

60

37

347

Michigan

94

9

29

9

5

90

44

31

16

16

343

Colorado

12

17

7

11

44

10

66

47

96

32

342

Utah

16

4

1

18

45

20

72

48

74

43

341

Florida

14

8

39

48

1

58

54

23

86

10

341

Nevada

6

34

30

22

45

64

16

28

64

30

339

Arizona

2

7

15

40

47

42

52

35

62

29

331

North Carolina

34

43

10

37

21

36

60

27

38

14

320

Texas

8

27

33

46

38

38

36

18

38

25

307

Georgia

22

45

2

45

14

80

20

17

46

9

300

Nebraska

36

12

44

19

36

16

46

21

36

33

299

Wyoming

38

13

16

4

43

32

28

34

70

19

297

Ohio

76

5

2

24

11

88

26

15

26

18

291

South Carolina

26

46

19

42

30

56

18

13

20

15

285

Tennessee

42

47

5

36

27

76

24

10

10

8

285

Kansas

20

14

28

31

37

30

34

20

24

34

272

Iowa

58

11

43

14

4

14

42

23

42

21

272

Missouri

40

15

22

32

28

52

28

9

26

13

265

South Dakota

52

1

36

12

35

2

48

12

48

17

263

New Mexico

4

16

30

29

48

24

20

31

56

3

261

Indiana

60

10

5

25

6

60

32

8

22

23

251

West Virginia

70

19

4

26

25

78

10

6

4

4

246

North Dakota

68

2

44

1

16

4

40

16

26

26

243

Kentucky

50

25

12

35

24

62

14

3

10

6

241

Alabama

32

38

9

43

9

68

12

5

14

7

237

Louisiana

24

21

34

47

2

74

6

4

18

2

232

Arkansas

30

33

27

41

16

44

8

6

6

5

216

Mississippi

28

23

23

44

3

84

4

1

2

1

213

Oklahoma

18

3

26

39

39

34

2

2

8

11

182

 

Methodology:

States were analyzed across 11 factors – including UV exposure, water quality, humidity, sleep hours, diet, and obesity rates – to provide an insight into how each state ranks in environmental and lifestyle areas that can impact skin health.

Ranking each state’s performance in each area, we used a weighted scoring to highlight the areas that can impact skin health most (UV exposure, sleep hours, diet, and obesity). A total of 672 points were available in the analysis.

The continental US was used in this analysis due to the reporting of some figures Alaska and Hawaii not being available with methodologies that match continental data.

Sources: