What is premature aging?
From a molecular standpoint, the human body is full of telomeres, or sections of DNA protein structures at the end of chromosomes. Telomeres help preserve the genetic information that keeps you looking young and spry. Some of the telomeres are lost when each cell divides, although an enzyme called telomerase helps replenish this. Over time, the telomeres naturally shorten with age and expose your DNA to damage and eventually die off.
This process is known as intrinsic aging (sometimes called chronological aging). It’s unique to each individual since it’s entirely tied to your genetics.
However, certain environmental and behavioral factors can speed up the telomere shortening process that makes your DNA more prone to damage. This is called extrinsic aging.
As a result, premature aging can set in long before it was expected. In other words, your biological clock is more advanced than your chronological clock. Controllable factors such as stress, smoking, and sun exposure can all play a role in expediting extrinsic aging.
What happens to skin as we age?
One of the most noticeable aspects of aging is the changes your skin undergoes. You may bruise easier, experience dries sky more often, or notice wrinkles in places that were previously smooth. All these changes, which can be sped up by external factors, occur due to a variety of changes.
The skin has three important layers: the outer epidermis, the middle dermis, and the inner subcutaneous fat layer. The epidermis is a thin layer that contains the pigment that colors your skin. The thicker dermis layer contains hair follicles, oil glands, and blood vessels. The inner, fatty layer serves as a protective barrier to your organs.
As you age, the epidermis gradually thins and pigment levels decrease. This results in thinner, paler skin. You may also notice sunspots from UV exposure, known as lentigos.
The dermis contains connective tissue made up of collagen and elastin that provides strength and flexibility to your skin. The lack of elasticity as you age, known as elastosis, makes the skin loose.
The dermis is also home to blood vessels, which become frail as you age. The weakened blood vessel walls are more prone to bruising and bleeding. Additionally, sweat glands in the dermis lose functionality and make it more difficult for the skin to produce sweat to cool you down.
The sebaceous glands, also called oil glands, are responsible for keeping the skin moist and hydrated. Over time, oil gland production decreases and makes you more prone to dry, itchy skin.
At the bottom layer, the thicker subcutaneous fat slowly thins out as you get older, resulting in less protection against temperature and trauma. This explains why many older adults are constantly cold and experience skin injuries.
Prevention is better than cure: Curate an anti-aging skincare routine as soon as you bid adieu to your 20’s. Add anti-aging products including good Vitamin C Serums to your skincare routine.
Avoid Sun: Sun plays a vital role in speeding up your skin aging process. Protect your skin from the sun every day whether you are spending a day at the beach or running errands. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant.
Use a moisturizer with anti-aging properties: Toss your basic moisturizer and buy the one that has anti-aging ingredients like Vitamin C, Ceramides, and Peptides.
Use retinoids in skincare: Reduce fine lines and wrinkles by applying serums on your face that have retinoids in it.
Exercise regularly: Light exercise even for half or one hour, be it a workout in the gym or a brisk walk in the park is extremely essential to maintain the glow. Exercising regularly improves your body’s blood circulation and boosts your immune system which results in a youthful appearance.
Consume antioxidant-rich food: ‘You are what you eat, and there’s no second thought about it. If you are fond of all that junk food that is high in sugar and fat, you better push them aside and adapt to healthy eating patterns. Include foods that are rich in antioxidants like kiwis, strawberries, oranges, etc. in your diet.
Avoid Tanning: Both indoors and outdoors, tanning is the biggest mistake young women tend to make. The ultraviolet radiation will damage the elastin and collagen making the skin look discolored and worse.
Avoid Stress and Stay Happy: Constant feelings of depression, anxiety and stress will make you look older than your actual age. Fretting over minor things and overthinking increase the level of cortisol or stress hormones inside your brain leading to mental and psychological disorders.
Regulate the Sleep Cycle: Nothing works better for your body than a good night’s sleep. If you compromise your sleep for any reason, your aging process will expedite well before time.
It’s never too late to Rewind!
Even people who already have signs of premature skin aging can benefit from making these little changes. Altering your lifestyle will give your skin a chance to repair some of the damage.