You’ll hear all about premature aging, especially from makeup and beauty product companies. There’s always something that prevents your skin getting saggy or repairs the fine lines and crow’s feet around your eyes. Then there are the products that state they add collagen and help with the tone of your skin.
These products and this whole industry can be overwhelming. You have no idea what you need to try and the types of products that will be good for your skin right now. Do you even know what premature aging is?
Before you even think about buying anything, you need to understand more about premature aging: how and why it happens and the ingredients you need to prevent it. This all-in-one guide to premature aging will set you straight.
We’re All at Risk of Premature Aging
While there are some elements of premature aging that are genetic or hereditary, there are others that affect everyone. Unnatural aging is mostly linked to poor lifestyle habits, whether they’re linked to the diet, the time in the sun, or even poor exercise habits. We’re all at risk of premature aging.
Medical conditions and some medications can also cause problems. The medications or conditions can cause the skin to age prematurely, often linked to the way the skin can produce collagen or due to the amount of moisture the skin can hold. There are steps that you can take to prevent some of the problems, but the steps are just treating the symptoms of the medication rather than fully preventing premature aging.
Just because we are all at risk of premature aging doesn’t mean we have to put up with it. It’s worth knowing the reasons, so you know when you can make changes to prevent problems.
It’s More Than Just the Skin
When you think of premature aging, you likely think of the damage to the skin. This is perfectly normal, and a lot of the reasons in this guide will touch on the skin. However, there are other signs of premature aging. They can include:
- Failing eyesight
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Bone damage
If doctors notice any of these, they can look at the possibilities of premature aging. They’ll also want to know why you’re at risk of aging earlier than your peers.
Now it’s time to look at all the reasons for premature aging, which will touch on the signs to watch out for.
Pulling and Stretching Your Skin
Your skin is like an elastic band. It’s designed to stretch and then return to the original state afterward. This repeats on a regular basis. Over time, like an elastic bad, the skin can stretch too much. It gets to the point where the skin tears and never returns to what it was originally like. This leads to sagginess and stretchiness.
Pulling and stretching of your skin can all lead to problems with over stretching and tearing of the layers. The eyes are more likely to suffer from this, as they have the weakest parts of the skin. When using creams around the eyes, you want to use the ring fingers, which are the weakest fingers in the hands. This helps to minimize the pressure around the area.
Other parts of the body can suffer from sagginess. You’ll likely notice stretch marks because of pulling and stretching of the skin. The middle layers of the skin tear, causing the lines to appear because the skin can’t return to its original size. Stretch marks are common in those who change weight quickly, whether due to pregnancy or weight loss/gain.
While you may commonly assume you’ll get the marks on your stomach or thighs, they can appear anywhere the skin stretches beyond repair. The breasts, back, sides and buttocks are other areas that commonly suffer from stretch marks.
You want to keep the moisture levels up in the skin when losing or gaining weight, especially during pregnancy. The extra moisture applied directly to the skin can help to keep the flexibility and elasticity in the skin.
Part of this is linked to low collagen levels. You’ll want to add food to your diet to improve collagen levels, which is something we’ll discuss soon.
Smoking, Sunbathing, and Poor Diets
Certain lifestyle choices are more likely to cause premature aging. Excessive sun damage is one of the biggest issues. It can cause dark spots and blemishes, while also increasing the risk of skin cancer.
This isn’t to say that you should avoid the sun completely. The sun in small doses is good for you. Around 15 minutes per day can help get the right amount of vitamin D to help support the brain and bones. However, any more than that and you do risk damage to the skin cells and increase the risk of burning the layers of skin.
While you can’t avoid the sun completely, you can take steps to protect your skin. One of the best options is to use sunscreen on a daily basis. Use this 30 minutes before you leave the house, giving your skin time to soak it all in. Even in the winter, you want to use sunscreen, as there is still the sun and there are still rays that can damage your skin.
Another major reason for premature aging is smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes, cigars, and other products lead to the decay and death of cells. They can also lead to the discoloration of the skin. Meanwhile, smoking prevents the body from absorbing all the nutrients from the diet and will also mean you’re more likely to follow poor diets and other lifestyle choices.
Quit smoking as soon as you can. There is plenty of hope around and absolutely no reason to smoke; it causes far more damage.
And then there’s the diet. A poor diet will lead to a lack of nutrients in the body. Your skin needs antioxidants to fight against free radicals in the body. It’s the free radicals that lead to damage to the cells, leading to dark spots, blemishes, and other skin damage.
Then there are the problems with producing collagen. The nutrients help the body produce the right proteins to create the collagen in the body. Without the nutrients, the skin loses its flexibility.
The lack of nutrients will also affect other parts of your body. Those who don’t get enough lean protein are more at risk of muscle weakness. If you struggle to get enough calcium or vitamin D, your bones are at risk of damage. A lack of micronutrients can lead to hair loss, scalp problems, and your eyesight is deteriorating quicker. For example, a lack of lutein can lead to more issues with cataracts and macular degeneration disease.
One of the best things you can do is follow a healthy and well-balanced diet. This doesn’t mean you have to give up all junk food but do cut down on sugar (this can also have a negative effect on the skin) and increase the number of lean proteins, vitamins, and minerals you get.
Top Up on Your Water Content
The amount of water you drink will also affect the signs of aging. Healthy skin is hydrated, and that means you need to keep your water content up. If your body starts to get dehydrated, it will draw the water initially from where you least need it, which includes the skin. This can lead to stretch marks, elasticity problems, and issues with the greying and scaly skin.
Dehydration causes the rest of your body to shut down. Your organs need the water, so they take it from other parts of the body. This can cause the eyes to fail and the hair to become damaged and fall out. Your hormone development changes to the point that all your bodily functions are affected.
If you drink eight glasses of water a day (around two liters) you should find your body is hydrated well. Listen to your body. If you have cracked lips, you’re allowing yourself to get dehydrated.
The Way You Sleep
Your sleep will affect the look of your skin. This isn’t just about the amount of sleep that you get but also about the way that you sleep.
Let’s start with the way you sleep. Those who sleep on their front or side are more likely to suffer from some wrinkles on their face. It’s linked to the way the skin is pulled or stretched while you sleep. The fine lines that appear can lead to wrinkles within the skin.
If you want to prevent this, you need to consider sleeping on your back. This isn’t a possibility for all for other reasons, but it’s something to be aware of.
The amount that you sleep has a bigger effect on the way your skin looks and ages. Those who don’t get enough sleep will find their whole body ages faster. You can end up with dark rings around your eyes and crow’s feet. The skin loses its flexibility, meaning you’re more prone to wrinkles and other damage.
When you sleep, your body heals itself from the inside. This is the time for your body to repair some of the damage to the cells and fight against oxidative stress. If you don’t give your body the chance to fight, you’ll find it harder to fight against the signs of aging.
And yes, the lack of sleep affects the other parts of your body. The eyes can’t repair, and the muscles can’t build in strength. You’re more likely to suffer from illnesses, which will weaken the rest of your body and cause you not to absorb all the nutrients you can. Even with the right amount of nutrients from the diet, your body suffers due to the lack of sleep.
You want to get 6-8 hours of sleep as an adult. Children need more, or they can start suffering the risks of premature aging. This doesn’t help prevent premature aging but will also look after your whole body.
Stress Is a Common Factor
If you’re naturally stressed, or you suffer from anxiety, you’ll likely find that your skin shows some damage. Your whole body will be affected by stress, and you want to overcome it as soon as possible.
Stress makes it harder to sleep. You affect the development and production of hormones, which will have a knock-on effect on every part of your body. It’s impossible to produce the right amount of collagen, while your skin cells suffer from damage and can’t repair easily. These effects lead to the skin looking duller, wrinkled and more blemished than ever before.
One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to change the way you manage your stress levels. You’re also putting your heart and brain at risk, so you want to find a way to deal with your issues, reduce stress levels, and enjoy a more relaxing and comfortable life.
Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and will also help to reduce the signs of aging. You will build muscle and bone strength, which reduces the risk of premature muscle and bone weakness. Your blood flow is improved, helping to keep your eyes, skin, and hair healthy.
What Can Medical Issues Cause Aging?
Premature aging can be a symptom of a condition. This is usually the case with chronic illnesses since the immune system is constantly working. Digestive complaints can also lead to premature aging. The body struggles to absorb the nutrients, leaving you suffering despite a healthy diet.
Some conditions affect the amount of collagen that is produced by the body. This can lead to the skin problems but is also linked to muscle weakness.
Then there are some conditions like alopecia, which leads to hair loss. Sometimes this is complete hair loss, but it can also come out in clumps and is embarrassing for many women.
Illnesses and medications affect the hormonal balance. Some of the side effects are a double vision or vision loss, hair loss, weight gain (leading to skin issues), and bloating. Your digestive system can be affected and you may find it hard to improve blood flow, affecting the overall health of your body.
What Can You Do to Prevent Premature Aging?
It’s up to you to prevent premature aging from becoming a problem. While you can’t stop everything, there are steps you can take to minimize damage. You may not be comfortable sleeping on your back, but you can take steps to improve the amount of sleep you get on a night. Changing a hormonal condition may not be possible, but you can follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to help minimize the negative side effects.
Follow the tips above, and you reduce the chances of seeing the earlier signs of aging. You’ll have glowing and beautiful skin and feel decades younger, too!
You can also use the right creams and treatments. In your 20s and 30s, you want to take action. Use creams that will lock in the moisture and keep your cells healthy. Use day and night creams that add collagen or help to improve the production. You want creams that also have a few added nutrients, such as vitamins E and A for healthy skin and eyes.
In your 40s and over, you’ll need to take the preventative measures to slow down the signs of aging. This is the point that seeing some blemishes and signs is common, but you shouldn’t have to put up with them. Opt for the likes of night creams that will soak in for hours overnight to leave you refreshed and ready for the day the next morning. Opt for a day cream that doesn’t block the pores but does moisturize from the deeper layers.
Sunscreen is a must, regardless of your age. Don’t leave the house without it. The darker your skin, the lower the SPF you can likely take, but think about the care of your skin. Don’t go lower than SPF 30. There’s also no point in going higher than SPF 50! If you have darker skin, you may want to stick to SPF 30-40 at the most!
Finally, if you suspect any signs of premature aging, talk to your doctor. Blemishes and changing moles are things you should check out, as they could be signs of other health problems linked to premature aging.