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The skin, like the rest of our bodies, ages naturally. Cell turnover and repair as well as collagen and elastin production, along with other key components of the dermis, start slowing down as the body reaches 30 years of life. One would certainly thank their ancestors for inheriting good genes, but many external and internal factors can make our skin look older than its actual age. What’s going on?
How UV rays affect the skin
The number one cause for aging skin is the sun. From wrinkles to dark spots, the culprit threatens our skin’s health and youthful appearance every day. Eighty percent of the sun’s UV rays touch the ground on rainy days, meaning that even if you cannot see the sun, it can still harm your skin. Daily broad-spectrum sunscreen is key for maintaining healthier, younger-looking skin. Tanning, in salons or in your backyard, prematurely ages skin cells. Consider getting your sun-kissed glow from bronzing powders and/or tinted moisturizers.
How does environmental pollution harm the skin?
Our skin is exposed daily to air pollution. Its effects vary: dehydration, blackheads and breakouts, redness, hyperpigmentation (brown spots), irritation and oxidative stress. Look for antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to help protect your skin.
Smoking ages the skin
On the surface, smoking is known to dull the skin tone and to stimulate the formation of blackheads. The frequent repetition of movement (such as the compression of the lips during inhalation) accelerates the formation of wrinkles while free radicals alter the skin’s cell structure deep within. Skin ages faster in smokers and vapers alike.
Sugar isn’t so sweet!
Dermatological studies have shown that certain foods, including dairy and sugar, increase breakouts. A diet which includes a constant high level of sugar intake (including carbohydrates and refined starches) alters the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, aggravating the loss of firmness, elasticity and resulting in sagging and deeper wrinkles.
How alcohol damages the skin
Alcohol consumption dehydrates. Moisture can withdraw from the skin in a matter of hours, leaving the face looking less plump and making fine lines, wrinkles and sagging even more visible. Long-term effects also include loss of elasticity, edema and redness. A great way to fight skin dehydration is to drink a good amount of water every day, doubling your intake when you are indulging in that cocktail or glass of wine or two. Your skin will also greatly benefit from an outside source of moisture: a cream! Today’s anti-aging creams are loaded with antioxidants to protect your skin cells and are enriched with a variety of ingredients carefully selected to target specific needs.
Why dry skin seems to age faster
The skin’s lipid barrier, the top layer of the epidermis, helps keep moisture locked in. This barrier proves to be less efficient as we age and, in addition to hormonal fluctuations, it causes the skin to become dryer and more easily irritated. A lack of lipids may not be the cause for fine lines and wrinkles, but a rough and scaly texture will increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in dry skin.
Other elements may harm and cause the skin to age prematurely:
Overall, choosing a healthy lifestyle can help preserve the skin’s natural youthful glow, firmness and smoothness. A complete skin care routine can help provide the necessary protection against the elements. Prevention is key for maintaining skin health. And whether it’s wrinkles, dark spots, loss of firmness or loss of radiance, when signs of the times do start to make their appearance, fight them accordingly with the appropriate skin care products.