PREMATURE SKIN AGING
As people age, it’s natural and normal to experience drier skin, fine lines, increased wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Skin aging is a complex biological process that starts at a specific age influenced by internal (biological) and external factors.
Biologically, your skin’s quality will inevitably alter as you age; there are many factors beyond your control that influence the way your skin looks; primarily, your collagen production, which is a crucial protein promoting skin firmness, begins to decline. Your body’s internal processes, especially the skin cell turnover, slow down and take a longer time to complete.
We can't change this natural aging process; we all get visible lines and wrinkles on our faces. Instead, you can influence another type of aging that affects your skin, medically known as “extrinsic aging.” Our environment and lifestyle choices can lead our skin to age prematurely.
Let’s consider some of these premature signs of age, why they develop, and what you can do to prevent them from occurring by taking preventive actions and a few simple steps.
What are the signs of premature aging?
- Skin Sunspots: also called age spots are flat hyper-pigmented on your skin caused by years of sun exposure; they may develop on your face, the back of your hands, or your forearms at or after age 40.
- Gaunt hands: Overage, your hands may start to look more veiny, thin, and prone to wrinkles because the top layers of your skin become thinner and contain fewer structuring proteins, such as collagen, that give your skin its shape, and most people tend to notice the gaunt hands during their late 30s and early 40s.
- Dry or itchy skin: it may happen more frequently over age because thinning skin is more susceptible to dehydration, and you may notice your skin becoming drier and more prone to flaking as you near your 40s.
- Wrinkles or sagging: Entering your 30s, the collagen production in your skin slows down - Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its shape and what helps your skin bounce back and stay plump - and with less collagen in the skin leads to visible wrinkles and sagging to occur in areas like the forehead, or areas where you’re more exposed to the sun, but sometimes aging may not even be responsible. It could simply because of dirt or dehydration.
- Hair loss: it's one of the main changes related to premature aging due to hormone changes, environmental factors, genetics, and your diet; all factors play a role in how quickly this happens. Studies show that up to 40% of women over age 70 experience hair loss as men experience it earlier, with 50% seeing hair loss after age 50.
What causes premature skin aging?
- Sun exposure and tanning: Sun plays a major role in prematurely aging our skin, but other lifestyle factors of our lifestyle we do have direct effects also can age our skin more quickly than it naturally would.
- Smoking: If you smoke, stop. The toxins in cigarette smoke expose your skin to oxidative stress, which greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages, causing dryness, wrinkles, dull, sallow complexion, and other signs of premature aging.
- Sleep habits: sleep allows your body to refresh and regenerate cells. A study has indicated that poor and unstable sleep quality is related to increased signs of aging and a diminished skin barrier function.
- Stress: A stressful lifestyle can trigger an inflammatory response in your skin and hurt your sleep habits, and it can accelerate the aging of your skin and body over time.
- Diet and Alcohol: Some research suggests that eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can damage your skin over time, and drinking alcohol excessively dehydrates your body. Over time, it leads to your skin sag and lose its shape.
We recommend the following tips to prevent premature skin aging:
- Sun exposure and tanning: Protect your skin from UV rays every day, whether spending a day at the beach, working outside, sun protection is a must. Tanning beds and exposure to the sun penetrate your skin with UV rays, and these rays damage the DNA in your skin cells, causing wrinkles with other dangerous effects. Seeking shade, covering up with sun-protective clothing and a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV sunscreen protection that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher). Keep in your mind, every time you get a tan from the sun, tanning bed, you prematurely age your skin as all emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.
- Keep your face moisturized every day: as moisturizer traps water in your skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. Keep in mind to use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen and reapplied every two hours when you’re outdoors.
- The facial Expressions: When you make repetitive facial expressions, you contract the underlying facial muscles; over time, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can be a good solution to reduce lines caused by squinting.
- Using a retinol cream: Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, available in many over-the-counter skin care products, and it can help prevent premature skin aging. However, since it can take time for your skin to adapt to retinol, it is recommended to start by applying it every other day instead of daily. If no negative side effects after a few weeks — like increased burning or redness — are seen, you can start applying it every day.
- Apply antioxidants and peptides: If you use skincare products that contain peptides and antioxidants --such as grape seed extract, resveratrol, green tea, and vitamins A, C, and E, apply them in the morning before using a high SPF sunscreen moisturizer. Both peptides and antioxidants may work in tandem to protect skin from damage.