From dermaplaning to micro-peeling, we as a society, are always looking for “the new and improved” anti-aging strategies that can take years off of our appearance. And let’s be honest, there is always something new to try. Unfortunately, not all of them work and it can be incredibly difficult to know what anti-aging products and solutions are worth your time, money and effort. Some are infused with chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients, others cost an arm and a leg for just one session with your local dermatologist or cosmetologist, and others are just trendy products that have no scientific evidence supporting that they work. But in the mix of all of those things, there are some powerful anti-aging strategies that will give you all of the results you’re looking for. You just have to find them first.
In this article, we give you the inside scoop on anti-aging strategies that can give you that youthful, vibrant glow once again.
What Causes Premature Aging?
The body’s internal processes naturally slow down as you get older, which leaves room for signs of aging to appear. However, premature aging is when the expected effects of getting older, such as wrinkles, fine lines and fatigue, happen early. It’s when you begin to look and feel older than your actual age and it affects quite a few people. One study found that 83% of the participants had premature skin aging that got worse after the age of 30, and that’s not even covering the percentage of people who had premature skin – period. Needless to say, most of us have some type of premature aging, and the most common signs appear on the skin in the form of dark spots, laugh lines, dry skin and full-blown wrinkles.
But what causes premature aging if so many of us are showing signs of it?
Well, remember all of those times you were told to put on sunscreen when you were younger and you refused? That’s one major cause. Exposure to sunlight is a top cause and is responsible for causing 90% of visible changes to your skin. However, there are many other causes that you’ll want to be mindful of, many of which are controllable and preventable such as:
The other causes of premature aging are almost always environmental and lifestyle habits, such as:
- Exposure to UV light, HEV and infrared light: Breaks down elastin and collagen, causing the skin to sag, stretch and wrinkle. Exposure to UV light can also increase melanin production, resulting in dark spots.
- Smoking: The toxins in cigarette smoke change the cells in your body, and break down collagen and elastic fibers in your skin, resulting in wrinkles and sagging.
- Unhealthy diet: You are what you eat! Diets high in sugar and/or refined carbohydrates can speed up the aging process.
- Alcohol: Consuming too much alcohol dehydrates and damages the skin over time.
- Environmental pollutants: Your skin barrier gets disrupted by the toxins and pollutants in the air. Environmental pollutants can also trigger and worsen pigment spots and wrinkles.
- Stress: Your stress hormone (cortisol) increases with stress. It also blocks two substances – collagen and hyaluonan synthase, which are key for keeping your skin plump and vibrant
- Poor sleep: A lack of quality sleep ages the skin cells faster.
Genetics can also play a role in aging and in rare cases, certain disorders can contribute to signs of premature aging.
Ways to Slow Down The Aging Process
When it comes to aging, it’s something you just can’t avoid entirely but there are ways you can slow down the aging process or reduce the signs of aging. Since almost all of the main causes of premature aging are environmental and lifestyle factors, simply making a few healthy, positive changes in your daily life can make a huge improvement. Here are some things you can do to start slowing down the aging process:
Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting involves switching between periods of eating and fasting. It can help slow down the aging process, as fasting is known to slow down the process of DNA degradation, which happens with age. It can also accelerate DNA repair to further slow down the aging process as a whole.
Eat a clean diet: Eating a clean diet filled with delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables and avoiding too much sugar or refined carbs can help prevent premature aging of the skin by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to produce healthy skin cells. It can also boost your energy levels, so you look and feel like your younger self.
Stay hydrated: Drinking 8 cups of water each day can keep your body and skin hydrated. This will rejuvenate your skin and keep it looking nice and smooth.
Avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen: Wear protective clothing, opt for shade, and avoid a tanning bed at all costs. If you can’t avoid the sun, slather on that SPF 30 or higher to start protecting your skin when you’re out in the sun to significantly slow down aging, since sun exposure is responsible for 90% of the visible changes on the skin.
Butt out bad habits: Quitting smoking can increase the blood flow that carries oxygen to the skin, making your skin less susceptible to sagging and wrinkling.
Exercise regularly: Exercising daily can increase your circulation, which is key for keeping your skin healthy and youthful.
Reduce alcohol intake: Reducing your alcohol intake can help keep your skin moisturized and lubricated with healthy oils. Alcohol is also linked to accelerating the aging process and decreasing collagen production, so minimizing your intake will help combat these things as well.
Take vitamins and nutrients: Adding some supplements into your day can be an effective way to slow down the aging process, as it gives your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Some of the top recommended supplements for combating premature aging are:
- Collagen: Renews collagen production in the body to help maintain the skin, increase elasticity and reduce wrinkles and sagging
- Vitamin A: Also known as retinol, this dietary supplement prevents and slows down the effects of aging, boosts collagen and reduces wrinkles.
- Vitamin D: Protects the skin from UV light to prevent wrinkles and fine lines.
- Vitamin E: Neutralizes free radicals linked to aging, protects the skin from fine lines and wrinkles, boosts collagen production, and speeds up cell regeneration.
- Resveratrol: Combats wrinkles and fine lines and protects the skin from UV light damage.
Practice proper skin care: Taking care of your skin hygiene is an excellent way to prevent premature aging and to keep your skin looking flawless in the meantime. On the most basic level, wash your skin daily in the morning and before bed to remove any dirt, debris, or sweat that can clog your pores and cause irritation. Avoid using any products that contain harsh ingredients (high pH) or perfumes, and finish with a nice moisturizing cream.
Indulge in anti-aging products: If you want to take your skin care a step further, skin care products designed specifically to prevent or treat signs of aging are great – but not all are created equal. Look for high-quality products that contain ingredients such as retinol (treat signs of aging), vitamin C (protection), niacinamide (brightening), hyaluronic acid (moisturizing). These can all be found in the form of a cream, serum, toner, lotion or wash. Just remember to implement one product at a time and give it time to work and show you results before adding in another.
Get more quality sleep: Sleep is crucial for optimal skin health. Identify the reasons why you aren’t getting sufficient sleep at night and make some necessary changes. Perhaps it’s spraying some lavender on your pillow or taking melatonin to induce sleep, investing in quality sheets or following a sleep schedule that gives your skin time to renew itself overnight.
Reduce your stress levels: Start using simple stress relief and stress management strategies, such as meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, therapy, etc. and remove stressors and triggers from your life, if possible.
Be mindful of your facial expressions: Avoid making repetitive movements with your face, such as squinting, as it can affect the elasticity and cause wrinkles to form.
You can’t stop aging entirely but when it comes to slowing down the process and reducing the signs of premature aging, there are plenty of options available. Slowing the signs of aging is all about prevention and providing your skin with the nutrients and environment it needs to thrive. This can easily be done by making a few simple changes in your diet and lifestyle – and your skin will thank you for it later when you wake up with that vibrant, youthful glow!