How to Fight Back Against Premature Aging
Though you can’t actually turn back the clock to look 22 again, there are things you can avoid (or start doing) to prevent the early signs of ageing. Not sure where to start? Understanding what causes your skin to start ageing prematurely is a great intro to help you better manage these skin concerns and take strides toward healthy, radiant skin. This article will go over the Top 10 causes of premature ageing and explain how you can combat them.
Top 10 Causes Of Premature Skin Ageing
1. Poor Diet
Consuming too many processed or sugary foods not only affects your weight and overall health, but it can also speed up the ageing of your skin through a process called glycation. Glycation happens when the body experiences dramatic spikes in blood sugar (glucose) and insulin, which can trigger chronic, low-grade inflammation at the cellular level. This degrades the collagen and elastin produced by your skin, causing it to sag, wrinkle or appear thin.
Processed foods can also strain your digestive system, which impacts skin health and speeds up the aging process.
This is something that can be avoided with a few preventative changes in diet. Simple carbs are quickly converted to blood sugar, so instead you should opt for whole grains, fruits and veggies and other foods that are rich in antioxidants. Essentially, the more colours there are on your plate, the better. You can also incorporate makeup and skincare products that are made with antioxidant ingredients such as grapeseed, vitamin C, vitamin E and green tea.
2. Not Drinking Enough Water
Healthy, hydrated skin contains between 10 and 20 per cent water. Any less than this and your skin is considered to be dehydrated. The outer layer of your skin is made up of what is known as your Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF). When you introduce outside elements like sun, dirt, smoking, alcohol, air conditioning and medications, the ability for water to bind with the NMF becomes impaired and your skin is more easily damaged.
This is why it’s so important for us to drink plenty of water in order to replace the lost moisture. Adults should drink six to eight cups of water a day to avoid dryness, cracking, irritation and rough, flaky skin.
3. Too Much Sun Exposure/Not Wearing Sunscreen
As amazing as it feels to lie down on the beach and bake in the sunlight (especially after a long, dark Canadian winter!), too much fun in the sun without taking the proper precautions can be a killer for your skin. Excessive exposure to UV rays weakens your skin cells and blood vessels. Over time it can cause skin cancer and even cause you to be more susceptible to bruising.
Not only can applying sunscreen daily help prevent medical issues with your skin, but a simple moisturizer containing SPF 15 or higher can actually prevent wrinkles and allows your skin to retain its healthy, youthful glow.
Smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest factors in premature ageing. In the early stages, you may notice deep vertical lines forming along the top of your lip. After some time, the area will seem to “thicken” and take on a yellowed colour.
After only a few years, smoking can cause wrinkling and narrowed blood vessels, which affect circulation and make it more difficult for your blood to distribute collagen to your skin. This results in loose, sagging skin. Constantly pursing your lips to hold that cigarette in place doesn’t do you any favours, either – it can cause deep furrows around your mouth.
The easiest way to prevent and slow these signs of ageing would be to quit smoking. Not only will this help your skin look its best, but it will also improve the health of your heart, lungs and brain.
Research has shown that stress can have a dramatic impact on not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. Worry, anxiety and stress can raise your blood pressure and disrupt your sleeping habits, which combined can make you look older. Many people who suffer from anxiety-related mental illnesses have trouble with premature ageing.
Although it’s not always possible to completely eliminate stress – especially if it’s work-related – you can at least dial it down to a manageable level with a few simple lifestyle tweaks. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink, avoid processed foods and maybe even take up a weekly yoga or meditation session to boost your mood and calm your thoughts.
6. Significant Weight Loss or Gain
We know that fad diets are rarely successful in keeping the weight off, but did you know that they also cause premature skin ageing? When your weight fluctuates, it becomes difficult for the elastin in your skin to “keep up” with the stretching and shrinking of your skin. This causes loose, sagging skin.
This is why it’s so important for pregnant women and new mothers to step up their skincare game. This is a time when your body goes through many rapid changes, and your skin could use all the help it can get!
7. Alcohol And Caffeine Intake
As much as we love them, caffeine and alcohol do, unfortunately, have their drawbacks. They are both natural diuretics, so the more you drink, the more dehydrated you become. This saps the moisture from your skin, triggering rosacea outbreaks and shining a harsh spotlight on fine lines, acne, and wrinkles.
By simply cutting your coffee and alcohol intake by a third, your liver won’t have to work as hard to flush out toxins and impurities, and you’ll soon see the surprising results in your skin.
8. Poor Sleeping Habits
Studies show that over a third of Canadians fail to get the recommended amount of sleep every night. This can cause huge problems with anything from your weight to your memory, your immune system and, yes, also your skin. They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing, do they?
When you sleep, the skin automatically repairs and regenerates itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may notice sallow skin, puffy eyes with dark circles and less elasticity, which results in sagging. If you sleep on your stomach, you may notice more puffiness around the eyes as fluid is unable to easily drain in this position.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours per night. Beware of sleeping on one side of your face for too long – this can cause wrinkles, sleep lines and even acne flare-ups. The best way to avoid this is to purchase soft pillowcases and washing them frequently, or simply sleeping on your back.
9. Environmental Pollutants
Lingering chemicals and other pollutants in the air can be dangerous to the health of your skin, especially if you live in a city or densely populated area. The effects of air pollution are similar to that of excessive sun exposure, drying out your skin and even increasing your susceptibility to skin cancer.
To kick those pesky particles that have settled on your face throughout the day, cleanse your face every night before bed. You can also protect your skin with an antioxidant, like vitamin C or E, or a barrier repair cream to help fortify your skin’s natural defences.
Like they do with everything else, your genes influence how your skin looks and behaves. Researchers have discovered that gene mutations, which are abnormalities to the regular structure and function of a gene, are present in many skin conditions, from eczema to melanoma and even acne. Your genetics are even responsible for your skin tone, as well as whether your skin is naturally dry or oily.
Environmental factors such as your eating habits and lifestyle, smoking, drinking, excessive sun exposure and more can all cause damage the function of your genes. This is why it’s important to maintain a consistent skincare routine and protect your skin as much as possible.
The Bottom Line
No matter what problem you’re experiencing, even people who already experience signs of premature skin ageing can benefit from these simple lifestyle changes. The first step is knowing and remembering the everyday dangers your skin faces. The second step is implementing a plan to prevent, slow down and even reverse these signs of ageing.
Ageing skin is a natural part of life. However, if the clock is moving forward a little more quickly than you’d prefer, it may be time to book an appointment with Dr. Caroline Tosoni. New treatments and less-invasive procedures for smoothing wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving one’s complexion are producing stunning results in millions of patients worldwide.
Dr. Caroline Tosoni pursued her Medical Degree at McMaster University and completed her post-graduate medical residency in Family Medicine through the University of Ottawa in 1998. Fluently bilingual in French and English, she opened her medical practice in Ottawa in July of 1998. Since 2000, Dr. Tosoni has focused her medical practice on Cosmetic Dermatology and has received extensive training and obtained multiple certifications in various medical cosmetic enhancement procedures such as Phlebology, Botox® Cosmetic, Dermal Fillers, SoftLift,™ BeautiPhication,™ Belkyra injections, CoolSculpting,™ Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Laser Medicine. Dr. Caroline Tosoni is also proficient in the treatment of Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and Migraine Headaches with Botox® Therapeutic. In 2015, Dr. Tosoni’s practice officially received a Focused Practice in Dermatology designation by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Medical Association.