Is aging skin preventable?

Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we cannot do anything about; others we can influence.
How much is the aging skin really under our control? Some of the factors that cause skin aging  can be avoided -- and it's never too late to start.

As we age, the fiber network weakens, and skin sags as it loses its support structure. Other unavoidable forces contribute to aging skin, as well:
  • Skin becomes thinner with age, and loses fat. The plump smoothness of our skin as children is replaced by a rougher texture.
  • Gravity relentlessly tugs on weakened skin, creating the droop of jowls or "chicken fat" under the arms.
  • Our genetic code contributes invisibly to the process -- leading to skin that looks 50 at 80 in some people, the unfortunate reverse in others.

Ways to reduce premature skin aging

1. Protect your skin from the sun every day.  The ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate into the skin. There, they damage the elastic fibers that keep skin firm, allowing wrinkles to develop.  Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.

2. If you smoke, stop.  Wrinkles occur sooner and run deeper in people who smoke, leading to so-called "smoker's face." Decreased blood flow to the face, and damage from toxic chemicals in smoke, are the likely causes. In addition, smokers tend to squint to keep smoke from their eyes, which can cause wrinkles.

3. Drink less alcohol.  Excessive alcohol (more than one drink a day for women, two for men) is bad for skin, and your health in general. People who drink heavily tend to not eat a healthy diet -- depriving skin of the nutrients it needs to prevent aging.

4. Avoid repetitive facial expressions.  When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.

5. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.  Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging.

6. Exercise regularly.  Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.

7. Cleanse your skin gently.  Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.

8. Wash your face twice a day and after sweating heavily.  Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

9. Remove your makeup before going to bed.  You may find it tempting to fall into bed after a busy day—or a late night on the town—without cleaning your face. But skipping a cleanser at night can lead to breakouts later.

10. Apply a facial moisturizer every day.  Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.

11. Get enough of sleep.  Getting insufficient shut-eye can age skin prematurely—and, in the short run, result in dark circles and a lackluster complexion. During the day, our skin cells are battling against an onslaught of stressors, like UV rays and pollution. Sleep is vital because stress hormones drop to normal levels at night, giving cells time to repair and rejuvenate. So make sure you’re not depriving yourself of the sleep you need.

12.  Never sleep with your face pressed against the pillow.  Keeping up with the first tip, here is another sleep related tip you may have never heard about it before. Do you know that sleeping with your face pressed against the pillow can cause "sleep lines" that, over the years, can turn into wrinkles. So, if you are habituate to sleep with your face downwards, guess it’s time to break the habit and cut a few years from your face.

13. Drink lots of water.   Water is a gift from above, a living, nourishing substance important not just for life but for quality of life as well. Doctors recommend to drink 8 glasses per day, however we say make it a habit to drink at least 12 glasses each day. Not only will these keep you healthy, but will leave a radiant glow on your skin which will make you look younger.

14. Exfoliate Your Skin.  One of the most important habit that we should try to induce in our daily routine is exfoliate. Exfoliation is one of the best way to renew your skin. Not only it removes dead skin, unclog pores, it also makes skin more receptive to moisturizer and improves the look and feel of your skin. However, one word of caution: Don’t exfoliate more than once a week especially during winters. It might leave your skin dry and you will end up losing the charm on your skin altogether.

15. Keep a positive attitude.  Last but not the least. Keep a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude towards life goes a long way in achieving mental peace and thereby keeping you stress free. Stand back and don’t let the daily hassles grind you down. It’s too easy to become angry and cynical. There are millions of reasons not to do things. We have to get up each day and try again. Keep searching. Stop and smell the roses. Accept. Be grateful for what you already have. Enjoy.

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