May 31 , 2020
Most of us talk about skin ageing with a deep sigh! Whilst ageing is inevitable, are there some factors we can control? The honest answer is yes and no…
There are two different types of ageing - intrinsic (internal factors), and extrinsic (external factors).
INTRINSIC factors are the natural processes caused by genetic factors that are happening to your whole body over time. For the skin, this includes a decrease in collagen and elastin production, increased dryness, and decreases the skin cell turnover rate. Gravity obviously doesn’t help either! So intrinsic ageing is something we have less control over.
EXTRINSIC factors are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors, e.g. sun exposure, smoking, excess alcohol, drugs, nutritional intake, poor health habits, stress, to name a few. Extrinsic ageing is the bigger problem, and can cause more damage over time. The good news is you do have more control over these factors. You can slow down extrinsic ageing!
Whilst it’s important to use products that target and help existing intrinsic ageing factors, you can also take steps now to help prevent and diminish the external signs of premature ageing.
So what can you do to help your skin?
Here’s six ways that will make a visible difference to your skin, by improving your lifestyle.
- Sun protection: Most premature ageing is caused by sun exposure. Research tells us sun is necessary for Vitamin D synthesis. However sun damage can take decades to show up and by the time you are aware it’s way too late to completely reverse the damage done. Sun exposure can cause freckles, age spots, rough and leathery skin, fine lines, wrinkles and skin pigmentation - and the worst sun damage can lead to skin cancers (especially in the harsh Australian sun!). So cover up if you are outdoors a lot, stay out of the sun from 10 – 3pm where you can, and wear a sunscreen every day to reduce photoageing (characteristic changes to skin induced by UVA and UVB exposure, typical of people living in Australia unfortunately!).
- Smoking: Just don’t do it! Nicotine affects blood flow, limiting the availability of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. And the repeated muscles movements used to smoke increase the number and depth of wrinkles, especially around the mouth and eyes! The damage caused to your skin is huge (long and short term), not to mention your lungs and general health.
- Alcohol: In moderation only. Regularly consuming large amounts, or binge drinking, will dehydrate your skin – leading to early signs of lines and wrinkles. Also this will deplete vitamins and the production of collagen and elastin. So alternate that sparkling wine with a sparkling water!
- Nutrition: It’s true – you are what you eat! Better nutrition not only helps you lose or maintain weight, but also clears your skin. Definitely one to read up on or speak to a professional about, as every body is different.
- Sleep: Yes you need plenty of it - about 8 hours per night, otherwise your skin starts to look dull. A good night’s sleep has so many other benefits as well, but this is the (fresh) cherry on top.
- Good skincare routine: Last but certainly not least, regularly cleansing and removing dead skin cells with an exfoliant, followed by a really hydrating moisturiser can make a huge difference. And always, always take off your makeup before going to bed!
So you can see we do have some control over how our skin ages and to what degree, and there are lots of things you can do to help keep your skin healthy and reduce the signs of ageing naturally.
My last top tip - it doesn’t matter how young or old you are – start today!