Each day our skin is assaulted by agents and factors that can cause aging. Your skin may begin to look dull and you may see wrinkles around your mouth and eyes. But you can fight against premature aging of your skin with just a little know how and action.
Young people don’t often ask what damages the skin. Instead they worship the sun, forget to moisturize, eat junk foods and don’t drink water. When, in fact, those are many of the pieces of the puzzle that damage the skin and cause wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
Free radicals are a harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke and pollution. These free radicals gobble up collagen and elastin, the fibers that support skin structure preventing wrinkles and other signs of aging.
To start you should know there are two types of factors that are causes of skin aging. There are internal and external factors. Internal factors are ones that can’t be stopped and are related to the decreases in hormone production, elastin, collagen and structure of the skin. External factors can be controlled which will decrease your risk for premature aging of the skin.
There just isn’t a way to stop the hands of time. And the hands of time affect your skin and your body. There is no getting around that. Aging decreases the amount of collagen and elastin in the skin that will decrease the amount of flesh under the skin. Between the lack of collagen and gravity you develop jowls, wrinkles, fine lines and crows feet.
But, if you do what you can to alleviate the damages that you can change, the hands of time won’t be as unforgiving and you can retain much of your youthful appearance long past the years your parents did.
Begin with sun care. Use sunscreen no matter what your age. Whenever you go into the sun or outside you can prevent the signs of aging before they even happen by using a sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher. Get into the habit of using it early morning on your face and hands. Some foundations will also have this level of protection. Don’t forget about the backs of your hands. Your face may be without wrinkles or sunspots but your hands may tell your age. Your hands are exposed to the sun each day when you are behind the wheel of your car or sitting near a window.
One of the first signs of sun damage is a suntan, which results from injury to the epidermis layer of the skin. The UV light accelerates the production of melanin. The extra melanin creates the tan, which is actually the body’s way of protecting the skin from further damage by UV light. Eventually sun will cause a sunburn that kills and damages skin cells. If there is enough sun to cause a burn there will also be damage to the DNA of the skin cells.
For instance, researchers know that exposure to the sun increases the amount of collagen and elastin that are lost in your skin, speeding the aging process. Exposure to the sun damages the skin and increases your risk of skin cancer as well. The problem stems from the ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds and fluorescent lighting. So, although you may be spending the majority of your time indoors in an office, if there is fluorescent lighting you still need sunscreen each morning under your make up and on your exposed skin.
The bottom line is that you should avoid the sun during the high-intensity hours and use sunscreen at all times. During appropriate weather cover your skin with clothing that provides the best protection against the sun. You don’t have to hide away indoors, and in fact under fluorescent lighting, staying indoors isn’t really protection. Be sharp about your sun exposure, wear protection and think smart.
Other things that damage the skin are a lack of moisture from poor fluid intake and poor external moisturizer. You should drink 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water each day. When your skin becomes dry it can show more wrinkles. You can use moisture from the outside and the inside. Start by staying hydrated each day. This helps your skin cells to stay plump and healthy, which gives your skin a healthy glow.
You don’t need to spend a great deal of money on moisturizers; coconut oil and olive oil after a bath when your skin is still wet is a great addition to your daily routine.
Or you can treat yourself to a good facial moisturizer and massage it into your skin twice a day. This will create a barrier that stops the skin from losing essential moisture. Facial moisturizers will help slow the aging process, decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and slow the development of age spots. Establish a daily routine and you will soon notice a decrease in the appearance of fine lines.
Interestingly one of the external factors that are a cause of skin aging is facial expression. Repeated facial expressions can actually lead to fine lines and wrinkles. As your skin ages and loses elasticity it stops springing back to its line free state. So if you are frowning constantly — stop! The groves become permanently etched in your face.
Another one of the causes of skin aging is the position you sleep in at night. When you rest your face on the pillow in the same way every night for years it leads to wrinkles. These wrinkles are called sleep lines and are etched into your face and don’t disappear when you are awake and walking around. People who sleep on their back do not develop these wrinkles since their skin doesn’t lie crumpled against the pillow.
Smoking is another factor that damages the skin. Smoking causes wrinkles from the squinting of your eyes due to the irritation of the smoke, pursing your lips to smoke the cigarette and a breakdown of collagen and elastin from the nicotine in the tobacco.
Researchers have found that tobacco increases the loss of collagen and elastin, which improve the structure of the skin. Loss of the collagen and elastin increase the development of wrinkles, jowls and deep lines.
And last, but certainly not least, of the factors that damage the skin, is poor nutrition. We really are what we eat. When we feed our cells junk food and saturated fat we really can’t expect the body to convert those things to vitamins and minerals needed to run the body smoothly. Although a multi-vitamin is a good adjunct the body doesn’t metabolize these as well as from a natural source. So eat your vegetables and fruit and drink your water!
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