- Sun exposure is the top cause of premature skin aging.
- Genetics also plays a role in wrinkle development.
- Eating healthy, following a skincare routine, and using sun protection can prevent premature skin aging.
Many skincare products and treatments promise to prevent the signs of aging, including wrinkles, age spots, and varicose veins. But protecting your skin is the best step to prevent signs of aging.
Wrinkles in Time
Rox Anderson, MD, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, says our skin naturally loses its elasticity and capacity to return to its normal state as we age. This is caused by the loss of collagen and the fiber elastin that creates a tight, youthful feel. The fat under the skin that causes the outer layer to thin and droop also leads to wrinkles.
Genetics plays a major role in the development of wrinkles. You’re likely to have wrinkles if your parents also had them. However, other factors like sun damage, poor skin care, and smoking can also cause or worsen wrinkles.
- Sun damage. Sun exposure is the top reason for aging skin. Besides causing wrinkles, the sun also causes lentigines or “age spots” to appear on your arms, chest, and shoulders. While these flat, brown spots are harmless, note that continuous sun exposure can cause skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States yearly.
- Poor skin care. Our skin becomes drier, flakier, and scaly as we age. If you don’t have a proper skincare routine, these signs may worsen.
- Smoking. According to research, smoking can cause wrinkles and skin aging. The habit may also cause cancer. While the cause is unclear, it could be that cigarettes act as a skin carcinogen or suppress the immune system.
Delaying the Aging
While all of us age, we have some control over how we’ll look when we get older.
Anderson says our habits affect what we look like. If you always sunbathe and smoke, you’re likely to look a lot older than you are. On the contrary, practicing good habits can help you stay looking younger.
Here are some tips to help prevent premature skin aging:
- Use sun protection. It’s impossible to completely avoid the sun, but you can protect your skin with a sunblock that has a minimum SPF of 15, and protective clothing. Make sure to reapply sunscreen on your hands often as the dry and freckled hands can give your age away. Protecting your skin against the sun can also help reduce your risk of many skin cancers.
- Follow a healthy skincare routine. Care for the skin on your body as you do to your face. Bathe with warm water, and use a gentle body wash or cleanser to preserve your skin’s natural oils. Apply a rich body lotion after bath time, to help prevent dry skin. Make sure to apply even on your elbows, knees, and heels.
- Eat a healthy diet. Improving your skin can also start from the inside. Anderson recommends consuming foods rich in healthy oils and antioxidants that combat free radicals. He also recommends eating fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and green, leafy vegetables that contain natural antioxidants, instead of taking supplements. Green tea also contains a high level of catechins that may help protect against sun damage. Make sure to stay hydrated, too.
Always visit your dermatologist if you notice a significant or sudden change in your skin.
Source: Everyday Health