6 Things That Age Your Skin Prematurely
Growing older is a fact of life and sooner or later, signs of aging will start to show on our skin. While we can’t control intrinsic aging (that’s all in your genes), we can influence extrinsic aging — the aging that occurs as a result of our environment and lifestyle choices. While preventative skin care like using anti-wrinkle creams and serums can help the skin look younger, there are environmental factors that can impact your skin, too. We’ve rounded them up ahead, so you know what to avoid whenever possible.
Skin Aggressor #1: UV Rays
This one comes as no surprise — sun damage is one of the leading causes of wrinkles and premature skin aging. If you spend the majority of summer basking in the sun’s rays without protection, you’re not doing your skin any favors. Whether you’re spending a day at the beach or sitting in front of your computer, SPF is crucial. Be sure to apply sunscreen to all areas of skin not covered by clothing, regardless of the weather forecast. We love the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60.
Skin Aggressor #2: Smoking
Smoking damages your skin’s natural collagen and elastin, which can result in loose, sagging skin. It is also known to cause “smoker’s face” as detailed by the Mayo Clinic, which is characterized by a dull, sallow and dry-looking complexion. These side effects may be hard for you to see initially, but the longer and more frequently you smoke, the more skin wrinkling you’re likely to have. The best way to protect your skin and decrease your chances for premature aging is to quit smoking. If you’re a non-smoker but live in close quarters with someone who does, keep in mind that the side effects of secondhand smoke can be damaging to your health and skin as well.
Skin Aggressor #3: Repeated Facial Expressions
Frowning, raising your eyebrows, squinting and pursing your lips is common, however, extreme use of facial muscles can create exaggerated expression lines on the face and cause us to look older. When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles, and if you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines can become permanent. You don’t have to boycott smiling, but if you tend to furrow your brow or raise your forehead muscles, do your best to lessen it when possible.
Skin Aggressor #4: Lack of Sleep
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason. Lack of sleep can accelerate the aging process because it’s during deep sleep that your skin goes through a process of self repair. To make things worse, constant all-nighters can leave your skin looking dull and lifeless, with under-eye bags, circles and puffiness that make any pre-existing wrinkles or crow’s feet look more visible. To avoid this, make sure you’re getting the recommended number of hours each night, and try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Pro tip: Try using a skin-care product infused with lavender to soothe and calm your skin before bed, like the IT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream.
Skin Aggressor #5: Stress
Stress can lead to elevated levels of cortisol that can hurt our skin’s quality and accelerate various aging processes. When you’re stressed, your skin can reflect that and most likely won’t look as healthy and radiant. To combat this, decompress by taking deep breaths, talking to a counselor or exercising.
Skin Aggressor #6: Alcohol
While an occasional drink or two won’t do much to your skin, repeated heavy drinking can dehydrate the skin and damage surface cells. If you do drink, try to avoid dehydration by having a large glass of water for every glass of alcohol you consume.