Wrinkles, age spots, laugh lines, and crow’s feet are all visible markers of aged skin, and although we’re bound to get them, how fast our skin ages depends on multiple factors.
According to Dr. Doris J. Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Medical Center, approximately 30% of how we age is genetically determined. That leaves us with the ability to have significant control over the rest of the factors.
You need not look your age, so learn the non-genetic factors of wrinkle formation to maintain a young-looking complexion longer.
Factors of Skin Aging
1. Poor Diet
Consuming processed and sugary foods is known to dramatically cause spikes in your blood sugar, which can trigger chronic inflammation. This inflammation can speed up skin aging through a process called glycation. But it’s not too late to avoid it. Regularly adding healthy and nutritious whole foods on your plate can turn the situation around.
Exercise also plays a vital role. Not only does a good workout help tone your muscles, it also boosts oxygen and blood flow to the skin, carrying all those nutrients straight to your skin cells.
2. Smoking and Drinking
It’s generally accepted that smoking and excessive drinking pose serious health risks. They not only harm several bodily functions, they also deprive the skin of essential nutrients and oxygen while destroying its essential building blocks—collagen and elastin.
The skin requires hydration, oxygen, collagen, and elastin to look healthy and firm. Long-term smoking has been found to cause skin damage by depriving oxygen, leading to sagging, dark spots, lines around the lips, and a dull complexion.
Drinking may also leave fine lines. Aside from its potentially damaging effects on the liver and kidneys, alcohol consumption may leave the skin discolored over time. Heavy drinking may also contribute to poor muscle tone, broken blood vessels, and small spider veins.
3. Sun Exposure
Sunlight provides a plethora of health benefits, such as activating vitamin D synthesis, but too much can mean UV damage and free radical generation, leading to the development of wrinkles, pigmentation, sun spots, reduced skin elasticity, and other indications of skin aging.
Solar UV radiation results in the generation of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that attack macromolecules such lipid, protein, and DNA. Free radicals that attack skin cells accelerate aging, resulting in wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
To maintain a healthy amount of sun exposure, make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen, take the occasional sun break, and avoid being outside during hours of the day when UV light is most intense, between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Stress is a natural response of the body. Many of us assume it’s the bane of our lives, but moderate stress is known to enhance cognitive function. However, when stress is chronic or ill-managed, mental and physical health issues may arise.
Stress can heighten cortisol levels, which can weaken the quality and quantity of collagen and reduce growth hormone production, impairing the skin's ability to repair itself. Other effects of stress on the skin include acne breakouts and aggravation of skin conditions like eczema. Chronic stress may also cause people to lose interest in personal care and stop following a self-care routine.
You may need a lifestyle change to slow down the clock of aging. Crepey skin may seem like an aesthetic concern, but improving your diet and daily habits can impact your overall well-being and quality of life.