They say you are as old as you feel. But even if you’re 60 and still have the same vigor and vitality you did at 20, your skin may be giving away your date of birth. That’s because skin ages. For some people, the process is more dramatic, but invariably everyone gets some fine lines and wrinkles. The key is to understand how much of your skin changes are due to the aging process and what are external factors cause lines and wrinkles, which you can control.
In Scientific American, Dr. Suzan Obagi, associate professor of dermatology and plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, writes that in normal, healthy skin, the epidermis' outer layer serves as a barrier to water and environmental injury. It has an abundance of collagen to provide skin firmness, elastin to supply skin elasticity and rebound, and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs to keep the skin hydrated.
As we age, collagen production declines, and the skin becomes more fragile and thinner. Also, sweat and oil glands' functionality diminishes, and the production of elastin and formation of GAG decreases. However, according to Dr. Obgi, “Wrinkle formation as a result of intrinsic aging is inevitable, but it will always be slight.”
Sun needs to be blocked
The natural aging process only accounts for part of the development of lines and wrinkles; environmental and lifestyle habits are the other culprits. When it comes to the environment, nothing is more damaging than the sun. Its UV rays destroy collagen and elastin, which leads to wrinkles. A study reported in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigative Dermatology conducted on 298 women from 30 to 78 found that UV exposure seems responsible for 80% of visible facial aging signs, including wrinkles.
But the sun isn’t the only environmental factor that contributes to wrinkles. Air pollution gets some of the blame. The free radicals in pollutants break penetrate the skin’s surface to break down collagen productions, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.
Old lifestyle habits die hard
Our own habits also can cause fine lines and wrinkles. Not getting enough sleep or exercise or eating too much sugar all can contribute to wrinkles. Here are others:
Sleeping on your stomach
Stomach sleepers beware. When you snuggle headfirst into your pillow, you are pushing on your face. That can cause creases, which eventually result in permanent wrinkles.
If you need another reason to give up smoking (your friends and family have probably given you several), here’s one – it leads to wrinkles. Consumer Health Digest explains that cigarettes' nicotine narrows blood vessels in the skin’s outer layer, which impedes blood flow. When there’s less blood flow, your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen and important nutrients, such as Vitamin A. Also, tobacco smoke is a pollutant with more than 4,000 chemicals that damage collagen and elastin.
People have been chewing gum for thousands of years, but maybe they didn’t know that it causes lines. It forces your mouth to form different shapes, resulting in a downward turn in the corners of the mouth.
Looking at your smartphone
Too connected to your mobile devices? Looking down at your smartphone too much may cause wrinkles below your chin.
Wrinkles and lines don’t have to be a given. In addition to protecting your skin from the elements and making the right lifestyle choice, try. Six new easy-to-use products can help decrease fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration associated with natural skin aging.