What is premature ageing?. Premature ageing is a reduction in the skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are two proteins responsible for our skin’s integrity and tone. Collagen gives skin its structure, while elastin allows skin resilience after stretch.
Our skin begins to age fast when the reduction in the production of collagen and elastin begins to diminish. Noticeable signs are wrinkling and sagging in areas as the face, neck, and breasts. Other signs are a loss of skin elasticity, change in colour, thinning of layers and increased itchiness just to mention a few.
According to American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), both external and intrinsic factors can determine how our skin ages. While we can’t do much about intrinsic causes such as genetics, we do have control over other factors that can cause our skin to age prematurely.
Highlighted below are tips you can use to avoid premature ageing skin whilst retaining and maintaining a youthful and radiant skin.
7 Tips to avoid Premature Aging Skin
REDUCE CONSUMPTION OF SUGARY FOODS:
According to Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist, when sugar breaks down and enters the bloodstream it bonds with protein molecules, including those found in collagen and elastin, through a process called glycation; this degrades the collagen and elastin in our skin cells, which in turn leads to sagging and wrinkles.
ACTION: Reduce consumption of simple carbohydrates such as soda, sugary treats and also seemingly harmless options, like as honey, white rice, and white bread. These foods are quickly converted into sugar when consumed. Hence put your skin on the fast track to glycation.
LIMIT EXTREME SUN EXPOSURE
Exposure to extreme sunlight or ultraviolet rays via outdoor sunbathing, indoor tanning can facilitate skin aging and may result in a clinical condition known as photo-aging; which may lead to skin freckling, spider veins on the face, age spots, leathery skin, fine wrinkles, a blotchy complexion, and worst of all—skin cancer.
ACTION: To prevent further damage apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and do limit the use of tanning machines.
AVOID USE OF HEAVY MAKEUP & HARSH CREAMS
This one is for the ladies; wearing excessive amounts of makeup, especially oil based products every day, can clog your skin pores and cause outbreaks. In addition, over using skin products with fragrances, irritating chemicals, and alcohol agents may dry out the skin by removing its natural oils, leading to premature lines and wrinkles.
ACTION: Go bare, let your skin breathe once in a while and limit the use of oil based products and harsh chemicals. If you cannot do without these products consult a dermatologist to guide you on best ones to use.
The term “beauty sleep” couldn’t be more true, as research evidence that our skin has a chance to repair itself overnight. Sleep deprivation can put our body into stress mode, causing it to release more stress hormones which could result in an inability of the skin to properly repair the daily damage.
ACTION: Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night. This takes discipline especially for nocturnal individuals, but you can start by shutting off all electronic devices before bed.
Depression and extreme stress are also associated with elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels weaken supportive collagen fibres, as well as hinders hormone synthesis, which inhibits the ability of the skin to repair itself.
ACTION: To combat depression, exercise regularly (engage in yoga /aerobics or better still learn something new; maybe a skill or join a dance class), take time off work regularly to rejuvenate and relax. Enter counselling if necessary, and talk to your doctor about whether you would benefit from an antidepressant.
According to Dr. Casciari, whether watching TV for up to six hours straight or sitting at your desk all day, when you sit for more than 30 minutes your body begins to deposit sugar into your cells, this is likely to make you overweight or develop diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle; which in turn leads to reduction in energy levels, loose skin, kidney disease, cardiovascular problems etc.
ACTION: Don’t be a couch potato, get up every 3 hours to walk around, whether at home or work. Also exercise at least 150 minutes a week or more for firmer skin, longer life and a healthy you.
REGULAR AIR TRAVEL
At higher altitudes the sun rays are much more intense (Ultraviolet rays) and can pass through windows, leaving the air dry and without moisture- causing the skin to shrivel. This perhaps may be a reason pilots and flight attendants have been found to be at an increased risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. So if you fly regularly ensure to take the actions below.
ACTION: Drink plenty of water; avoid alcohol and foods with high salt content; which is dehydrating, apply SPF 15 moisturiser or higher 30-40 minutes before boarding, as sunscreen needs time to be absorbed to be effective. In the event, you are seated near a window, pull down the shade.
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