By now, we know that there are many things that cause our skin to age. For some things, we can’t control them. But there are many ways we can help our skin age with grace.
One thing that we can’t change: the natural aging process. Natural aging is the key component of the visible lines we get on our faces. Over time, it is completely natural for our face to lose some youthful fullness. Our skin also becomes thinner and drier, which causes wrinkles as well.
We can blame our genes, who control when these changes occur. This type of aging is “intrinsic aging.” Intrinsic aging, also called chronologic aging, is natural aging. The type of aging we can control is the one that comes from our environment and lifestyle choices.
Yes, the environment and your bad lifestyle choice are causing your skin to age prematurely. We’re exposed to light at all times, which makes sun damage a year-round concern for skin health. This type of exposure caused aging called “extrinsic aging.” The easiest way to prevent this type of aging is slowing down the effects this kind of aging has on our skin.
Skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, or outermost layer; the dermis, or the middle layer; and the subcutis, or bottom-most layer. The dermis is comprised of collagen, elastin, and other fibers – these support the structure of the skin. It is these fundamentals that give skin a smooth, youthful appearance — and that are damaged by UV radiation.
The UV radiation that affects the skin is composed of two different types of waves, UVA and UVB. When UV rays hit the skin, they damage their DNA, and cells in the dermis scramble to produce melanin in the epidermis to prevent further damage. This is the process is what tans the skin, which is essentially just your skin trying to block the radiation from penetrating your skin.
The effects of photoaging can appear in many ways, including melasma, freckles, and texture changes. These are all signs of photoaging damage. Luckily, if you regularly wear sunscreen, you’ll not only protect yourself from skin cancer, but you’ll also help lessen signs of photoaging as well.
In fact, sunscreen is a go-to anti-aging weapon for many professional and skincare gurus. Regular use of sunscreen has been shown to keep photodamage at bay and the sooner you use it, the longer you’ll benefit.
If you’re already experiencing some signs of photoaging, there are a few other steps you should incorporate into your skincare regimen:
- Protect your skin from the sun. Whether you’re planning on hiking in the mountains or if you’re simply running errands, using sun protection is important. You can protect your skin by staying in the shade, covering up with clothing and a hat, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum (SPF 30 or higher is best). Make sure you apply sunscreen every day to all skin not covered by clothing.
- Choose self-tanner over the tanning: Every time you get a tan, your skin is prematurely aged. This true for tanning in the sun, a tanning bed, or some other type of indoor tanning equipment. They all release harmful UV rays that prematurely ages skin.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. You are what you eat. Yeah, we’ve all heard that before. A few studies actually do report that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may be able to help avoid damage that leads to untimely skin aging. The research also reports that a diet containing lots of sugar or other types of refined carbohydrates can actually quicken aging.
- Exercise. Moderate exercise can not only improve circulation and boost your immune system, but it can also give your skin a more youthful appearance.
- Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol is very bad for skin because it dehydrates the skin, which can cause damage over time and make us look older. Also, if you smoke, quit. Smoking significantly speeds up how fast skin ages. It not only causes wrinkles, but you’ll have a dull, sickly facial appearance.
- Gently cleanse your skin. Scrubbing your skin while you clean it can cause irritation. When your skin is irritated, skin aging is accelerated. Make sure to gently wash your face, which will help you thoroughly remove pollution, makeup, and other things without cause irritation. Make sure to wash your face at least twice a day, especially after sweating heavily.
- Use a moisturizer daily. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, which provides hydration and gives you a youthful appearance.
Even those who already have signs of premature skin aging can benefit from making these beneficial lifestyle changes. Another great option is looking into new, innovative treatments and less-invasive procedures that are designed to help smooth wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving your complexion. If you are interested in learning how SF Bay Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetic Dermatology can help you achieve that youthful glow, give us a call at (925) 275-9333 today!