Ageing might be inevitable, however there are a number of actions we can take in order to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the environment, what we put on it and what is causing premature ageing. We will try to list all of the causes, what to avoid and every consideration you should take.
1) The Sun
We were all silly once, spending too much time in the sun hoping for a tan while not laying on enough sun cream. Well this is one of the biggest factors, so make sure to put on at least SPF 30 (I regularly opt for 40) and make sure it is water resistant.
Not just this, if you get in and out of the pool or in the sea while on holiday, make sure to reapply the cream afterwards, as most will be washed off.
Try to stay in the shade where possible, as the UV rays are a key reason for discolouration and age spots. There is no hiding from the fact that sun damage is by far the biggest cause of wrinkles, so if you’re serious about protecting your skin then think carefully on your next holiday, or day to day if you see a lot of sun.
It should also go without saying that tanning beds are a big no-no.
2) Sleeping On Your Stomach
I originally learned this can cause bags under the eyes, so I stopped sleeping on my stomach a couple of years ago, however another effect it can have is accelerated ageing. Try to sleep on your back or on your sides and use a couple of pillows for optimal results.
However this leads me onto my next point…
3) Not Enough Sleep
Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night, as the vast majority of us don’t and this can cause discolouration and swelling under and around the eyes. As you can imagine, this can cause the impression of aged skin and will make you look less youthful. Forget adding a cucumber to the skin, just start going to bed earlier.
The general recommendation is to have 7-9 hours per night, however the use of mobile phones means we struggle more to relax in the evening and put down our devices. The consumption of coffee and energy drinks is also impacting our quality of sleep. You may want to look into your consumption levels of magnesium, to improve the quality of sleep you are having.
4) Loss of HGH
This might sound like something for bodybuilders, but your body naturally produces human growth hormones, however the HGH levels decrease as we get older. HGH helps by combining with that famous ingredient collagen, to help keep you skin healthy as well as helping muscle composition. Inevitably, as your body ages and you produce less, you will find it feels like your skin is thinner or looser.
But do not fear. A number of studies have shown you can increase and stimulate the production of HGH via consuming a combination of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and can also help to increase collagen production. Not just that, the studies showed a strong increase in production, as well as a faster metabolism, so the results were undeniable.
So which amino acids are important? They big three are arginine, lysine and ornithine. It should however be stated that HGH can naturally decrease if you are overweight, so a healthy diet and a visit to the gym are important as well.
You knew it was coming. We all enjoy a drink, so I do hate to put this on the list, but it is certainly a factor in premature ageing of the skin. Alcohol is a natural diuretic, meaning it increases the amount of water or salt expelled from the body via urine. This therefore dehydrates the body (hence the headache in the morning) and also sucks moisture from your skin.
While the occasional drink is completely fine, we are mainly warning not to have excessive amounts, as this can exacerbate the increase of wrinkles. Less you drink, less impurities have to be flushed from the body, which will have a noticeable effect on your skin complexion.
Smoking isn’t just bad for your health, being one of the biggest causes of cancer, it’s also devastating for skin health. The main reason why is because it causes vasoconstrictions of blood vessels. This ultimately means your skin won’t get as much oxygen as it needs, which means it will suffer from oxidative damage. You will see the recently mentioned collagen levels drop drastically, while the elastic fibres will also decrease.
Your biggest enemy is cortisol, the stress hormone, produced by the adrenal glands. While cortisol is essential, to help you in stressful times by reducing inflammation, helping your body to respond sufficiently to danger and increasing glucose metabolism, producing too much cortisol too often can cause weight gain, acne and most importantly for this article, it can cause the skin to thin or heal slower.
Cortisol will also damage collagen as it will harden it (creating wrinkles and lines) through what is called glycation. In other words, it is time to have some me-time and focus on what is causing you stress and removing it from your life.
8) Not Enough Water
A large number of points on this list relate to the skin becoming dehydrated. Well one of the biggest and cheapest wins you could do today would be to ensure you are getting enough water each and every day. We are supposed to be consuming at the very least eight glasses of water a day. Keep it on your desk and set a timer and this becomes incredibly easy, but many people just forget.
However if you are struggling to increase your water content, you can also consider water packed food items, such as fruit and vegetables, which can have a positive effect. Just make sure to have whole fruits rather than fruit juice, as eating it in the whole form will mean an increased amount of fibre.