I’m only 40 and already have quite old looking skin, what steps can I take to ensure my skin doesn’t look older than my years now and in the future?
Aging is a natural process that occurs as our bodies grow older and our cells stop functioning at optimal levels. Although aging cannot be avoided, premature aging can. While genetics do play a role, lifestyle choices can have a major impact on the appearance of our complexion and the rate at which our skin ages. Here are 4 proven ways in which to slow, and even reverse, common signs of aging.
1) Protect your skin from the sun:
While spending time in the sun has benefits, including improving mood and ensuring that we maintain healthy levels of vitamin D, exposing our skin to sunlight also contributes to premature aging. UV rays from the sun cause the breakdown of collagen, which is the main structural protein found in the skin. Excessive sunlight exposure also causes hyperpigmentation by causing skin cells to release excess melanin, a natural pigment that is responsible for the color of our complexion. Keep your skin looking young by applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every two hours while outdoors.
2) Cut out sugar:
A diet high in sugar can accelerate common signs of aging. Excess sugar intake fuels a process called glycation. Glycation occurs when sugars in your bloodstream attach to proteins. This forms molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs.
The process of glycation damages collagen and elastin, the main structural proteins in the skin, accelerating common signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin. In order reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet, consume whole, unprocessed foods and avoid packaged and processed foods whenever possible.
3) Reduce your alcohol intake:
Frequent alcohol use can lead to signs of premature aging. Alcohol acts as a diuretic in the body, causing frequent urination that can lead to dehydration. Alcohol also impairs the body’s ability to reabsorb water. This undesirable combination causes dehydrated, dull, and tired looking skin. Mixed cocktails can contain large amounts of sugar, which is harmful for skin health. To keep your complexion hydrated and avoid premature aging, minimize the effects of alcohol on your skin by drinking water in between alcoholic beverages and avoiding cocktails that contain high amounts of sugar.
4) Stay properly hydrated:
Hydration is a key factor in keeping skin looking young and radiant. Cells need water to transport nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste. As we age, we lose the ability to retain adequate amounts of water, increasing the risk for dehydration and causing a dry and wrinkled complexion. Drinking enough water throughout the day will keep skin cells plump and full resulting in firm, clear skin. While fluid needs can vary greatly, experts recommend consuming at least eight glasses of water per day.