For many women skin aging is one of the worst aspects of getting older.
It may not seem to matter that much from a health perspective but for many of us how we look impacts on our confidence and self esteem.
Keep your skin looking younger and you will feel better and more positive as you age.
You may assume that skin aging is something you have to put up with. But did you know that your lifestyle can make a big difference to how your skin ages?
Our skin – the biggest organ in our bodies – is affected by two different types of aging: intrinsic and extrinsic aging.
Intrinsic aging is the rate of aging that occurs with the passage of time. It’s what many people call the aging process and how and when it happens to you is influenced by genetics.
Extrinsic aging on the other hand is the skin’s response to external damage and is controllable to a very large degree by the lifestyle choices you make every day.
The external causes of skin aging are well known. The effects of sun exposure on skin has been understood for a long time and the connection between smoking and skin aging is now generally accepted. Other lifestyle factors impacting on how well our skin ages include alcohol consumption and inflammation caused by poor diet or bad skin care.
Extrinsic skin aging is made worse because your body’s ability to repair itself declines with age. We are all subject to the process of aging and our skin will naturally go through five key changes as we age.
- Drier Skin – whatever your skin type, from about the age of 30 less oil is produced by the sebaceous glands every year so your skin will gradually get drier.
- Less melanin – melanin production declines with age so from your late thirties onwards your skin will be less able to fight sun damage.
- Reduced collagen and elastin – bringing a loss of elasticity and firmness to your skin.
- Reduced ability to heal and repair skin damage – no problem when you were a child but in your 50’s this is much slower.
- Thinner skin – from around 40 the dermis and your skin’s fat layer begin to thin producing sagging and loss of plumpness. It will happen first where skin is thinnest naturally – that means under the eyes and around the neck and decollete.
These changes are all part of intrinsic skin aging – the natural aging process which will happen whatever we do.
If you find the list depressing or feel powerless to stop your skin aging – then think again. The natural process of skin aging can be accelerated or reduced depending on the lifestyle choices you make.
So here’s nine things you CAN do from today to slow down the process of skin aging:
- protect your skin from UVA or UVB light
- stop smoking or inhaling other people’s smoke
- follow an anti aging skin care regimen
- limit your exposure to environmental toxins
- eat a diet rich in vitamins A,C and E, Omega 3 and folic acid
- avoid too much fat, sugar and salt in your diet
- limit your alcohol consumption
- avoid or limit stress and manage stess better
- follow a healthy sleeping pattern and get enough sleep
Not surprisingly these lifestyle choices are the same things that matter for healthy aging. Study after study shows that people who take these factors into account during their lives not only look younger but are much healthier than those who choose to ignore them.
But then you probably don’t need a study to show you that – you will likely have seen the evidence all around you in the faces of the people you know.
Some changes in our appearance are inevitable as part of the process of skin aging. But we all have a great deal of control over the rate at which our skin ages.
Put simply – we can choose to slow down or speed up skin aging by how we live our lives – and that has to be good news.