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6 Things That are Aging Your Skin

How your skin ages will depend on many factors, some of which you have control over and some of which you don’t. For starters, aging is partly hereditary; that is, your genes help to determine whether your upper eyelids will sag in your 30s or stay perky well into your 50s, etc. Among the factors that contribute to wrinkled, damaged skin include normal aging and the inevitable breakdown of fatty tissue that supports your skin and muscle, collagen and elastin.

However, your lifestyle, diet, and other personal habits play an even more important role and can speed up the aging process. Let’s look at what you can control – so you can get a handle on the aging process and add years to your life.

1. Don’t Smoke Ever. Smoking can produce free radicals, those nasty little oxygen molecules that become overactive and unstable. Free radicals damage your healthy cells, leading to premature wrinkling, and a whole list of potentially life shortening conditions. Cutting back to a little nicotine helps but not as much as you might think. Any amount of nicotine can have a negative impact on your health and longevity.

2. Keep Your Weight Stable. Maintaining a healthy weight will help to avoid premature sagging and skin slackening. Years of yo-yo dieting is another common cause of lax skin quality. As you age, the more weight you carry, can have a dramatic effect on your joints, in particular knees and hips, making you feel older and less mobile as well. Excess fat around the mid section is a known cause of other health conditions, including heart disease.

3. Avoid the Sun and Pollution. Ultraviolet (UV) rays cause damage to the fibers in your skin that give it a plump, cherub-like texture and tone. The breakdown of elastin fibers causes sagging and reduces the resiliency that young, healthy skin has. The skin also bruises more easily, and with additional thinning, may take longer to heal. Furthermore, discoloration and brown spot (also known as age spots) will show up from prolonged sun exposure without adequate protection. The effects of sun and pollution on your aging complexion are cumulative, so they may not show up until later in life.  Stock up on ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF30

4. Sleep on Your Back.  The position in which you sleep can actually have an effect on lines, wrinkles and sagging. Sleeping on your side will inevitably cause a deeper furrow on one side of your face. The best position tends to be sleeping on your back whenever possible to avoid what is commonly referred to as “sleep creases.” Just as with excessive facial movements, lines become more visible as your skin loses its elasticity, sleep with your face dug into your pillow can exacerbate facial lines and wrinkles.

5. Manage Your Stress. Stress is a silent killer. It creates all sorts of skin problems, from acne to rosacea, due to hormonal flux. It also affects your ability to rest and get enough sleep to keep you going. Stress can actually damage your cells, and ages your brain, according to numerous studies. When you are embattled by stress, you also tend not to take such good care of your body, your skin and your health.

6. Don’t Overdo Alcohol. Although the occasional cabernet may deliver some much needed resveratrol, downing the whole bottle in one sitting will not serve you well over time. Alcohol, like caffeine, is notoriously dehydrating. Too much alcohol can contribute to other health conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation, dry skin, and a dull, grayish tone to your complexion.

Take Good Care of Yourself

If you’re concerned about wrinkles, and you know you can’t expect to solve all of your problems overnight, where do you start? Should you avoid sunshine and UV damage, reduce stress, change your diet, quit smoking and/or drinking, use better (or more!) skincare products, eat foods rich in anti-oxidants, take nutriceuticals, stay hydrated, exercise, have more facials?

Taking good care of your skin isn’t your only priority, so let’s address the worst offenders, as well as the best solutions.

  • UV exposure. This one is the real culprit of aging. UVB rays cause burning, but UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, cause wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and photoaging. You’re exposed to UVA rays even when you’re inside—about 90% of UVA rays are transmitted through ordinary glass and windshields. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen (like Oclipse SPF 30) every day, and use skincare products high in anti-oxidants.
  • Wake up your skin cells. Dormant skin cells exacerbate all of the signs of aging. You need to activate and stimulate them with high concentrations of retinol, which is generally considered the best topical anti-aging ingredient. In fact, scientists recently revealed that retinol (and other Vitamin A derivatives) is the only topical ingredient proven to provide anti-aging benefits.
  • Kick the sugar habit. Too much of the sweet stuff—either as sugar or as fructose—is the most common cause of glycation and inflammation. It binds to collagen, weakens it, and then induces sagging and wrinkles. Too much sugar will also reduce skin circulation and damage the texture.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking 8 glasses of water/day is important for digestion, circulation, and excretion. For skincare, you need even more than that, especially after reaching age 40. Water helps hydrate the skin (thereby disguising wrinkles), flushes toxins from the skin (reducing acne), reduces dark circles underneath the eyes, and reduces eczema and psoriasis. Water is surely the most readily available, and the cheapest, skincare remedy.
  • Huff and puff—but not nicotine. Cardio-vascular exercise is good for your skin. It improves the circulation and delivers nutrients. Plus it makes you feel better about yourself, and the radiance shines through.
  • Relax. Many aspects of daily life can lead to increased stress, and that stress can cause or exacerbate a blotchy complexion, blemises, dullness, and acne and rosacea flare-ups. It’s impossible to eliminate stress, but you should help reduce it. Find time for yourself, exercise, get 7 hours of sleep a night, enjoy friends, practice yoga—whatever works for you.

It’s also important to eat a healthy diet, rich in anti-oxidants and Omega-3’s—the perfect excuse to have an ounce of dark chocolate. Peels, laser treatments, Botox, and fillers may be an option, but they shouldn’t be your first choice. What you do every day and how you treat your skin every night help to make medical procedures unnecessary. So take good care of yourself.