Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we can’t do anything about, like the natural aging process, but others we can influence. Our environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. By taking some preventive actions, we can slow the effects that this type of aging has on our skin.
Here’s a look at the main culprits behind premature facial aging and how you can take preventive measures against them.
What Causes Skin to Age Prematurely?
Some of the main causes of premature aging to our skin include:
Sun—sun exposure causes the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, sagging skin, and reduces skin elasticity. Roughly 70% of the skin aging process depends on the amount of sunlight our skin is exposed to throughout our life.
Prevention—you can always protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.
Smoking—smoking causes premature fine lines that typically appear on places where the skin is very thin, such as the sides of the eyes (smile lines) and above the upper lip. These typical smoking lines may appear 10-15 years before they appear on non-smokers. The reason for the premature wrinkles among smokers lies in the reduction of Vitamin C levels in their blood, which is 60% lower on average compared to the blood of non-smokers.
Diet—a diet rich in simple sugars and sweets causes the connective tissue of the skin to become rigid and lose its elasticity.
Prevention—east a healthy, well-balance diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Soluble dietary antioxidants such as lycopene, lutein, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables reach the deeper skin layers (the dermis) and partially neutralize the oxidative damage associated with prolonged exposure to the sun. Also, fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C are essential to the proper production of collagen. Complete protein is important to the production of protein structures that are vital to the appearance of fresh skin, such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin fibres.
Stress—prolonged emotional stress causes increased secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones accelerate various aging processes that include suppression of normal synthesis of connective tissue, characteristic obesity of the face, along with osteoporotic processes that damage bone density and cause changes in bone structure.
Prevention—grab a weekly massage and practice calm forms of exercise like yoga. Meditation can also help improve your overall stress level, which can make you feel more focused and younger. If your stress is the result of a more serious mental disorder such as depression or chronic anxiety, you should visit your doctor to discuss mental health options such as therapy and/or medications.
Attitude—intensive use of facial muscles brings exaggerated expression lines on the face that cause us to look older than we are. Beyond wrinkles, repeated use of expression muscles causes their dominance under the skin and damages the relaxed and smooth appearance which is typical to a young looking face.
Prevention—a happier face is devoid of wrinkled eyebrows and scowl marks because the muscles have spent more time in a relaxed state.
Lack of sleep—prolonged lack of sleep is clearly evident on the face and accelerates aging, as well as causes many other pathological processes.
Prevention—continuous night sleep is actually one of the few times in the day in which the pituitary gland in the brain secretes growth hormone in adults. This hormone has a great importance in keeping various body tissues and their renewal, including the skin tissue.
Alcohol—alcohol causes damage to the skin texture and color, and has considerable influence on the eye sockets. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes bulged eyes and affects the skin due to the accumulation of toxic breakdown products in the deeper skin layers. This can cause the appearance of capillaries and redness of the cheeks on the nasal bridge.
Prevention—drink less alcohol.
Rubbing your eyes—the skin around the eyes is extremely delicate and fragile, and can wrinkle very easily.
Prevention—don’t scrub the area with towels harshly, and stick to dabbing it dry after washing the face. This will help prevent pigment problems and premature aging.
Sleeping on your side—the fetal position of sleeping and snoozing on your stomach often means your face is pressed into a pillow for eight hours a night, which can cause the breakdown of skin tissue and cause wrinkles.
Prevention—get into the habit of falling asleep on your back and flip over if you wake up on your stomach or side. This decreases swelling or bloating of the face that stretches skin over time.
Sipping out of a straw—sipping out of a straw causes fine lines around your mouth, which is a clear indication of premature aging.
Prevention—avoid drinking through a straw and pour out your beverages in glasses or cups to maintain a youthful, wrinkle-free mouth.
Contact Dr. Binder
If you find that you have signs of premature facial aging, but you think that it’s too late for you to take preventive measures, then you should contact Dr. Binder to discuss the options that are available to you for getting back youthful looking skin.