Aging happens. It’s a fact of life. When we understand the underlying factors that are involved in the development of lines, wrinkles, and sagging, though, we are better equipped to manage our appearance at every age. The primary factor that we have some control over is our collagen. We cannot prevent our body’s natural decline in collagen production. This starts to happen around our mid-twenties, and it diminishes every year thereafter. What we can do is prevent the unnecessary breakdown of the collagen matrix we do have. Here, we discuss some of the habits that you may be engaging in without knowing they can accelerate your aging process.
In this day and age, it’s hard to believe that tanning is still a thing. And yet, it is. Regardless of whether you’d describe yourself and a sun-worshipper or you tend to get some sun on vacations and occasional outdoor events, any sun exposure is damaging to the skin. The ultraviolet light in sunshine, and also in tanning beds, breaks down collagen in the skin and also damages our DNA, both of which exacerbate the natural aging process. To avoid this unnecessary damage, apply SPF 30 sunscreen every day on all areas that are exposed, including the neck, arms, and the backs of the hands.
It isn’t enough to avoid smoking as a habit. When it comes to protecting the skin, we should avoid cigarette smoke altogether. This means avoiding environments in which second-hand smoke can be seen and smelled in the air. Smoking and second-hand smoke are harmful to many parts of the body. The chemicals that are inhaled and that also penetrate the skin blunt circulation. This means the skin (and all organs!) does not receive the adequate amount of oxygen and nutrients it needs to thrive. The result can be a dull, dry, and wrinkled complexion.
Studies are clear about the dangers of even moderate alcohol consumption. Drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage dehydrates the body and speeds up the breakdown of collagen and elastin. The age-related concerns associated with moderate to heavy drinking include a profound loss of facial volume, the formation of jowls, and dry, wrinkled skin. In addition to limiting alcohol consumption, the skin and body can be better supported by drinking plenty of water.
Exposure to Dry Air
We are in the season of indoor heat and hot showers or baths. These are necessary to help get us through the cold winter months. However, heating and even that steam-filled shower can cause moisture to evaporate from the skin very quickly. After showers, apply a body butter or emollient cream to the skin while it is still damp. Also, place humidifiers in the rooms you frequent to add moisture back into the air.