8 Everyday Actions That Make Your Skin Look 8 Years Older
We all aspire to have young, healthy-looking skin for as long we live. Unfortunately, aging skin is a natural part of life and we can’t prevent it from reflecting the number of years it has lived through. What we can do is change our health and lifestyle choices to stop skin from aging faster than it normally would.
The natural aging process is caused by changes in our genes under the medical term “intrinsic aging.” Much like the rest of our body, our skin will go through its natural wear and tear as we continue to live. As we age, we will begin to notice visible lines on our face, our skin loses its tightness, and skin starts to get thinner.
How Does This Impact the Structure of Your Skin?
Your skin is made of collagen and elastin, a protein matrix that’s responsible for snapping the skin back together when it is stretched. These proteins are what keep your skin firm and as you age, the fiber network weakens along with its support structure, which results into skin sagging.
Naturally, skin also loses fat and gets thinner as you age. Gravity also tugs on weakened skin and causes the droopiness effect. Of course, genetic code also plays a significant role in skin aging. This helps explain why some people look 20 years old when they’re really over 40 years of age (and vice versa).
Causes of Aging
Your lifestyle and environment choices can also cause your skin to age prematurely or faster than normal under the process called “extrinsic aging”. Below are several factors that contribute to skin damage.
1. Sun Exposure
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Sun exposure causes damage to the skin, even more so when it’s not properly protected. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun affects the skin’s elastic fibers and that causes wrinkles to develop. Furthermore, sunlight causes age spots to show up on your hands, face, and other exposed areas.
Wrinkles appear sooner for people who smoke due decreased blood flow in the face and damages to the skin caused by toxic chemicals. They also tend to squint their eyes to avoid smoke from going to them, which further causes wrinkles. The term “smoker’s face” comes from crow’s feet around their eyes and droopy skin around their eyelids, often seen in long-time tobacco smokers.
3. Bad Diet
What you put in your body will reflect in your skin. If you’re filling your body with healthy and nutritious foods, your skin will reap the benefits of looking healthier and more nourished. On the other hand, if your diet consists of junk food, then that “junk” is what will feed your skin. According to Dr. Timothy Harlan, MD and assistant professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, “Poor-quality foods, like trans fats, cause inflammation — and aging is basically a chronic inflammatory state. If you’re not getting enough of the good stuff on a regular basis, you won’t be able to produce healthy new skin cells in the way that you should.” (1)
Now that we know what happens to our skin as we age and what factors influence skin to age prematurely, here are some things you can do to prevent yourself from aging faster than you normally would.
Here Are 8 Natural Methods That Helps Prevent Skin from Aging Prematurely
1. Avoid sun exposure
Knowing that sun exposure causes significant damage to your skin, avoid being under it as much as possible. Stop intentionally sunbathing because that’s an invitation to skin damage. If you have to be out in the sun, wear a hat and put on sunscreen that’s free of toxic chemicals to protect your skin. Lastly, avoid being in the sun when its rays are the strongest, usually between 10am to 3pm. This applies all year round, not just in the summer.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet
Incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet to keep your skin healthy and feeling young. A great place to start is to eat tomatoes, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and carrots on a regular basis. Previous research studies further suggest that having a bad diet with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates accelerates skin aging.
If you’re looking to add more healthy options in your diet, here is an article with a list of anti-aging foods that are also often rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Shower with lukewarm water
Though it is relaxing, hot showers aren’t friendly to your skin. It destroys the upper layer skin and that also leads to skin dryness. Try showering with lukewarm water to preserve your skin’s youthfulness and avoid skin from drying out.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise is known to be beneficial for our overall health. Aside from boosting your immune system and increasing your energy levels (among many other benefits), it increases blood circulation, thus nourishing skin cells. It also helps flush out cellular debris from our system. Here’s an exercise regime to assist you in bettering your health and help promote better skin.
5. Avoid leaning your chin on your hand
You’re probably wondering how this harmless habit can cause damage to the skin. When your chin is resting on your hand, it loosens its elasticity and in the long run, it may cause the skin to sag along with premature wrinkles that may appear. Avoid resting your chin on your hand as much as possible.
Antioxidants are known to fight free radicals, which damage cells in our bodies and in our skin. According to Dr. Karen E. Burke, MD, vitamin C and E are two of three antioxidants that have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin and prevents acceleration of the aging process. Vitamin C can often be found in citrus fruits and other vegetables. Vitamin E is in sunflower oil, grains, oats, nuts and dairy products.
7. Choose silk or satin pillowcases
What you sleep on has a significant effect on your skin. The common pillowcase fabric is cotton but this can actually harm your skin and cause wrinkles because of the texture of the fabric when it is rubbing against your face. In particular, if you sleep on the side of your face or you move around a lot when you sleep, try a softer pillowcase fabric like silk or satin, which causes less friction. Make sure to also change your pillowcases frequently to avoid irritation from the gathering of dead skin and bacteria.
8. Drink less alcohol
Alcohol causes dehydration in the body, and in turn, dehydrates the skin which is the body’s largest organ. In the long run, it may even cause other skin problems, like prompting rosacea flare-ups. As good practice, limit your alcohol intake to prevent skin dehydration and promote good health overall. Here’s a guideline on what’s considered moderate consumption of alcohol (wine, beer, and spirits).
Aging skin is inevitable and though we have no control over how our skin will look as we age, we can still apply some of the techniques discussed above not just to achieve young looking skin but to ultimately live a healthy life that will naturally radiate nourished skin.
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