Your skin’s quality will inevitably alter as you age. It happens to everyone. There are factors beyond your control that influence the way it looks. The natural aging process is the lead cause for skin quality diminishing. Primarily, your production of collagen, a crucial protein that promotes skin firmness, begins to decline. However, other factors can cause your skin’s quality to decline, making it age prematurely. These factors are in your control. Although your skin will inevitably begin to show signs of age because of factors that are out of your control, it’s possible to retain its integrity and prevent it from developing premature signs of age.

Let’s consider some of these premature signs of age, why they develop, and what you can do to prevent them from occurring.

Signs of Premature Skin Aging

Sunspots: Sunspots, also known as age spots or liver spots, are dark flat spots that can form on various parts of your body, including your face, back of your hands or on your forearms. As their name suggests, these spots are the result of years of sun exposure. They typically form in people over the age of 40 but can become evident sooner if sun exposure is frequent.

Inflammation: Inflammation is similar to sunspots because the premature sign of aged skin can develop because of frequent sun exposure. Inflammation, a patchy discoloration, often occurs on the chest and results from sun exposure causing damage to the skin cells.

Dry Skin: Your Skin becomes more susceptible to dryness as it thins. Dry skin becomes a more prominent concern by the time people reach their 40’s but can potentially become an issue sooner if your skin’s quality diminishes sooner.

Wrinkles and Sagging: Wrinkle and sagging become more noticeable as you enter your 30’s because your collagen production starts to decline. However, various factors can speed up the development of wrinkles, making you seem prematurely aged.

Causes for Premature Skin Aging

Smoking and Alcohol: The toxins you inhale from smoking can lead to oxidative stress, which affects your body’s potential to detoxify and heal itself readily. Because of this, smoking can lead to thinning skin, dry skin and wrinkles. Alcohol has a similar effect, but it instead results because it causes your skin to dehydrate.

Sun Exposure and Tanning: The sun and tanning beds possess ultraviolet (UV) rays. When these rays penetrate your skin, they can alter your skin cells’ DNA and ultimately result in wrinkles.

Stress: Being exposed to stressful situations can trigger an inflammatory response from your body. If you are regularly exposed to stressful situations, your body will continuously release stress hormones, which cause your skin to age more quickly.

Eating Habits: Studies suggest that what you put in your body will influence the way your skin ages. Foods high in sugars and refined carbohydrates can gradually cause damage to your skin.

How You Can Reduce Premature Skin Aging

  • Protect Your Skin From the Sun: The sun can take a definite toll on your skin. From wrinkles and inflammation to sunspots, the sun’s UV rays can disrupt your skin’s integrity, resulting in an aged look. That’s why you should always be protecting your skin from the sun. Utilize sun-protective clothing, such as lightweight and long sleeve shirts, whenever you are outside and apply a 30 SPF titanium or zinc based sunscreen daily to parts of your body exposed to the sun.
  •  Use Self-Tanner: Getting a tan may make you appear younger, but attaining one from the sun or tanning beds will ultimately make your skin appear older in the long-run. Instead of putting your skin at risk, use a self-tanner to achieve a youthful glow.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking can affect your body’s natural healing process and will ultimately make it age quicker. Wrinkles and a dull complexion can be staved off if you quit smoking
  • Try to Not Make Repetitive Facial Movements: Repetitive facial movements create what is known as dynamic wrinkles. Over time, certain facial movements, such as squinting or frowning, develop fine lines and wrinkles that appear permanently imprinted on your skin. One step you can take is to start wearing sunglasses, which will make you squint less in the sun.
  • Eat Healthy: Regularly Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent the effects of premature skin aging from taking hold. Try replacing foods high in sugars and refined carbohydrates with fruits and vegetables to make your skin’s integrity long-lasting.
  • Drink Less Alcohol: Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on your skin, making it thinner and more susceptible to damage. Drink less alcohol to retain your skin’s hydration.
  • Exercise Often: Moderate exercise improves your circulation and boosts your immune system. If you exercise at least three to four times a week, either through cardio or weightlifting, the quality of your skin can remain intact longer and more youthful.
  • Gently Cleanse Your Skin: If you scrub your skin too hard, it can lead to irritation and ultimately damage it, which can accelerate the aging process. When cleaning your skin, do so gently. You can still remove pollutants, makeup and other substances by gently washing your skin without causing irritation.
  • Wash Your Face Twice a Day: Heavy perspiration can lead to skin irritation. It’s best to wash your face at least twice a day so that sweating does not take a toll.
  • Utilize Facial Moisturizers: Applying a moisturizer to your skin daily can help promote your skin’s health. Moisturizers help hydrate the skin by trapping moisture, which will give it a more youthful appearance.
  • Don’t Use Skin Care Products: That Sting Some skin care products can activate your pain receptors, which causes a burning or stinging sensation. If you are using a product that is causing this, it’s best to stop. These products are only furthering irritation, which will make your skin appear older after continued use.
  • Take 300mg of Polypodium Leucotomos (PLE): Daily PLE is a plant extract from a fern found in Central and South America that is believed to slow down the DNA mutations caused by UV rays. Taking the supplement can minimize the risk for photoaging, pigmentation and skin cancers.

The above information can also be found on the American Academy of Dermatology and Association.

Learn More About Premature Skin Aging Prevention at California Dermatology Care

Your skin’s quality will inevitably change, but just because it will doesn’t mean it has to soon. If you take the necessary steps, you can retain your skin’s youthful quality for as long as you can. Such steps as wearing sunscreen daily, limiting your alcohol intake, and taking PLE can all benefit your skin a significant amount.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can prevent premature skin aging, please contact California Dermatology Care of the Bay Area. We can be reached at 925-328-0255 or via our contact page.