Maybe your skin is just starting to age, has shown signs of aging for a while now or perhaps you’re still in the bloom of youth & your skin hasn’t really started to age yet – whichever it is, we would all like to know what we can do to slow skin aging. It WILL happen, let me just say that now; it’s a part of life, affected not only by habits, but also by genetics and just being human. But are there habits & practices that can affect skin aging? Absolutely!
Top Contributors to Skin Aging:
*UV rays (from the sun or tanning beds). I know that we talk about this a lot, but it is just that important. If you were with us in May, you know we focused on the protecting your skin from UV rays in order to skin cancer, but did you know that sun damage is also one of the BIGGEST factors in skin aging? While UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, UVA rays affect aging (think UVA for aging) because they go deeper into the skin and damage the DNA and elastin in the skin. When you’re young, skin is better able to cover up this damage which is why a tanning teenager doesn’t suddenly look 30, but that irreparable damage does show through in time when the body can no longer cover up the damage done. A recent Australian study found that people who regularly used sunscreen (of just SPF 15 at that!) look 24% younger than those who did not. The participants were all age 55 or younger and the study took place over just 5 years, so imagine how much a lifetime of regular SPF 30+ could keep your skin looking young!
*Smoking. Smoking can not only lead to lung & other cancers, but it can make you look older quickly. It speeds up the natural aging process of skin, causing wrinkles and dull-looking skin. How? The nicotine narrows blood vessels, which reduces the blood flow to your skin. Your skin, then, does not get the nutrients, vitamins and oxygen that it needs. Furthermore, many of the chemicals in tobacco also damage collagen and elastin which causes skin to lose elasticity &strength. This can happen after only about 10 years of smoking!
Top Tips for Keeping Skin Looking Young:
*Wear your sunglasses & consider your facial expressions. Repeated facial muscle movements often result in wrinkles when skin ages. We recommend sunglasses not only to protect your eyes & eye area from UV damage, but also to help you avoid squinting, which can lead to crow’s feet later on. Keep an eye out for any other expressions you may make that may turn into wrinkles- frowning, glaring, “deep concentration” etc. Even using a straw frequently! This motion contributes to lip lines. Can smiling give you lines as well? Yes, but keep smiling! If you must show signs of expressions, better smile lines than frown lines (which look droopy)
*Be gentle with your skin. Apply cleanser, moisturizer, etc. with gentle motions. Tugging and pulling can show up as sagging, wrinkly skin later when the cells don’t bounce back as easily. This is especially true in the eye area, where skin starts off as thinner and more fragile even in youth! You may hear to use the ring finger (supposedly the weakest finger) and to apply in upwards motion (against gravity). Whether or not that makes a huge difference has not been fully studied, but it certainly won’t hurt, so go for it!
*Eat healthy. There are many, many articles on what foods are great for your skin as well as foods to avoid, so I won’t go into too much detail on this, but food CAN affect your skin. When you think about it, there are different parts of the body, but still just one body, so it does make sense that what you consume affects several parts of the body, including skin. Fruits & veggies have vitamins & minerals that help strengthen & replenish your cells, be they skin cells or heart tissue cells. Alcohol and sugar can negatively affect skin, so they should only be consumed in moderation.
*Get your beauty sleep! Your entire body rejuvenates while you are sleeping. While you are catching some zzz’s, your cells do repairs, healing themselves. If you can sleep on your back, all the better because you’ll avoid sleep wrinkles (from your pillow, sheets etc) and you’re less likely to get the dark circles & puffiness under your eyes (if your head is somewhat elevated so that any fluids flow down vs. getting concentrated in the eye area).
For More information
AAD -- What Causes Aging Skin
Beverly Dermatology's Anti Aging board on Pinterest