Regardless of sex, race, background, we obviously all age. And while it may seem like we have no choice but to just "go with the flow" and let the hand of time do its worst, many signs of aging are not inevitable. With a little awareness and some great skin care products, we can look our best, and experience healthy skin aging, well into the "golden years."
Did you know that only about 10-15% of visible aging is directly related to genetics? (This means that mom and dad are not a reliable gauge as to how you will age personally.) This genetic aging is called "intrinsic aging" and it's just a part of life. It tends to start in our 20's and continue throughout our lifetime, causing us to develop wrinkles, grey hair, and other signs of aging at a unique pace. As a result of intrinsic aging, collagen production slows, and the elastin which gives our skin firmness lessens. Over time we develop fine wrinkles, hair loss, skin sag, loss of underlying facial fat and skin dryness.
The fantastic news is that 85-90% of visible signs of aging are due to "extrinsic" aging or external influences, and these we can control. What are some of the main causes of extrinsic aging and what can we do to minimize the effects of premature aging?
UV exposure breaks down collagen and elastin, and after years of exposure, skin doesn't repair as well. Skin develops age spots, wrinkles and may become rough and leathery. UV increases chance of melanoma.
- Avoid tanning beds
- Wear a broad spectrum SPF
Smoking accelerates our aging process chemically by polluting our bodies with toxins and depriving our cells of oxygen and nutrients.
- Quit smoking
- skin quality begins to improve immediately (better late than never)
We aren't emotionless robots, and so we will shows signs of "life" over time. Years of laughing, frowning and other facial expressions create lines and wrinkles that deepen and remain in place over time. Certain habits or activities such as "facial exercises", sleeping on ones face (creases from pillowcases), pulling and stretching skin deliberately make "dynamic" wrinkles much worse.
- stop facial exercise
- tap creams and lotions onto skin instead of "rubbing"
- try a silk pillowcase if you are a "face sleeper"
- look for botox alternatives such as "argireline" or "DDBD" to minimize dynamic movement
Studies have shown that people that sleep well or make an effort to get enough sleep, repaired skin damage more quickly and they were more likely to rate themselves as attractive. Poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin ageing and weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night. Plus, we all tend to get a little crabby when we're over tired.
- Exercise and regular physical activity encourage sleep
- pay attention to diet
- manage stress
- limit day time naps
- stick to a schedule (limit all night parties)
Another key to slowing or reversing extrinsic aging is to always use great skin care products. Look for products that are high in active ingredients and antioxidants, and free of things like petrochemicals, perfumes and other counter productive additives. By changing a few key things in our lifestyles, we can drastically improve the health and condition of our skin,and keep it glowing for years to come!