It is never too early to think about looking after your skin. It’s the largest organ of your body – an adult can carry 22 ft ² (2 m²), and it has a hard time. As we are children, it puts up with hundreds of cuts, scrapes and bruises, through our teenage years it stretches and battles acne. Then, just as we have seen the back of raging hormones, our collagen production slows down – and that means wrinkles.
The slowing-down of your collagen production is a natural quirk of aging – it can happen in your thirties, or as early as your twenties, and certain lifestyle factors speed it up. Even some of the ways that we irresponsibly treat acne can even be a cause of premature skin aging. Preventing fine lines and wrinkles is not something you should worry about – stress and anxiety can make them much worse but adopting a healthy, skin-conscious lifestyle, you can ward off those wrinkles for longer.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Stay Safe In The Sun
- 2 Beauty Sleep Is Real!
- 3 Don’t Smoke!
- 4 Remove Pollution – Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise
- 5 Healthy Diet
- 6 Minimise Stress
- 7 Conclusion
Stay Safe In The Sun
The dangers of sun exposure are well-publicised and well-known nowadays. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and a huge percentage of cases are thought to have been preventable. What may not be quite as well-known is how sun damage can cause premature aging – or at least why.
The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The most common rays that reach us through our ozone are UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are what cause sunburn, while UVA rays, which were for a long time thought to be harmless, penetrate deeper into your skin and damages the cells in the basal layer of your skin. UVA rays are what creates a tan, but a tan is, in fact, the results of damage to your DNA. These attributes cause a reduction in collagen production and therefore wrinkles.
It is a common misconception that UV rays vary in strength throughout the day and year. This is somewhat true of UVB rays – they are stronger between 10am and 4pm, and in summer months, however, UVA rays are relatively stable in strength. It is therefore important to protect your skin from sun damage year-round, and the simplest method, other than covering up with clothing and staying in the shade, is to wear sunscreen.
Ideally, you want a broad-spectrum cream which blocks both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above. This means that you will be protected from the rays for 15 times longer than you normally would be. If you are going out for intense or extended sun exposure, however, it is better to go for SPF 30 or higher.
You may not feel so concerned about getting smile lines – permanent reminders of all the laughs and good times you have had through your life – but you probably don’t want to get wrinkles from squinting! Wrinkles commonly form in areas where you regularly repeat expressions – think raised eyebrows, frowning and smiling. Therefore, regularly squinting can give you some pretty strong lines around your eyes.
Sunglasses can provide up to 100% UV ray protection, and not only can they stop your need to squint in the sun, but they therefore also reduce the risk of you getting sun damage to your eyes which can result in cataracts. While we are on the subject of glasses, it is also worth getting your eyes checked regularly. You may not even realize you are squinting if you are straining to focus your eyes.
Beauty Sleep Is Real!
You mom wasn’t joking when she stressed the importance of getting enough sleep. Sleep is imperative for a healthy lifestyle. It is the chance for your body to rest, repair and recover. Getting more sleep can give you a noticeable difference in your skin health in a matter of days, so you should always aim for those golden 7 to 9 hours.
How Does Sleep Help My Skin?
In terms of wrinkles, sleep is an opportunity for your skin to produce more collagen, which keeps your skin smooth and supple. It is, therefore, more plump and less likely to wrinkle. Getting a good night’s sleep also increases your blood flow to your skin, meaning the cell turnover and processes are enhanced. This reduces puffiness and keeps your skin healthy.
We all know that smoking is extremely bad for you, but you may not know that the nicotine also delays wound healing and constricts blood vessels, whether you are smoking tobacco or vaping. It should therefore not be a surprise to you that smoking also causes premature skin aging. You can see the effects of smoking appear dramatically after just a few years of smoking, and the longer and more often you smoke, the quicker your skin will age.
Smoking damages your skin in the following ways:
- Constricting blood vessels, reducing the oxygen and nutrients that nourish your skin, meaning cell processes are less efficient.
- Over 4000 chemicals are present in tobacco smoke, which damage the collagen and elastin that strengthen your skin and keep it supple.
- Repeated expressions such as pursed lips and squinting eyes can result in fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth and eyes.
- Repeated exposure to the heat from cigarettes can dry-out and damage your skin cells, making them more susceptible to wrinkles.
The best way to prevent wrinkles from smoking is to not start in the first place. If you are already a smoker, then don’t believe that you might as well continue. Your blood circulation improves within 2 and 12 weeks of quitting smoking! In fact, men who quit before they are 30 add an average of 10 years onto their life. Don’t be disheartened if you are a lifelong smoker though – people who quit in their 60s add an extra 3 years to their life! So the sooner you stop, no matter what age you are, the better!
Remove Pollution – Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise
You are probably familiar with the mantra “cleanse, tone moisturize” from your acne fighting days, and there is a reason for that – the regime helps to keep your skin balanced and healthy, giving it resilience against bacteria, pollution and aging.
You may think that you will need very different products in your teenage, spot-fighting years compared to your slightly older, wrinkle-preventing years. The chances are that your skin type will have changed moderately over time. However, there is a big similarity that you want to bear in mind whether you are looking for acne products, wrinkle products or both. That is that you choose products which balance your skin’s natural oil levels, not strip them out. In acne products, stripping-out the oil can result in your skin overcompensating and producing more oil – leading to more spots. Alternatively, if your skin does not overcompensate, the harsher products can just dry-out your skin and make it more susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles as you get a little older.
By choosing an oil-balancing range of skincare products in your younger years, you will over time create a healthier environment in your skin, reducing the number of bacteria there are and nourishing the cells so that they can function efficiently.
Choose a gentle, soap-free cleanser. Ingredients such as charcoal, alcohol, mineral oils and sulfates are harsh on your skin and can seriously dry it out. They can be good at treating the odd spot if you have an event coming up, but long-term use can affect your skin resilience and make it more prone to fine lines and wrinkles.
A good toner can reduce the size of your pores (which can be exacerbated in aging skin), rebalance your skin after a deep cleanse and help your skin to retain moisture. Some toners can be very harsh, so stopping short of moisturizing with such products can seriously dry out your skin. However, a good toner can impart antioxidants, vitamins and moisture into your skin.
As well as finishing off the routine with some moisture-boosting cream, this is also an opportunity to apply some sun protection. Many moisturizers come with an SPF of 15 or even 30, so it is a great base to start your day. In addition to SPF, this is a great opportunity to apply an anti-aging cream. These creams come in a range of strengths, with very different ingredients, and by starting early, you can seriously boost your skin’s resilience against wrinkles.
- Young/teenage skin – vitamin E creams. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory It promotes skin healing and reduces the effects of sun damage and even the appearance of scars by enhancing collagen production.
- Young adult skin – for when you spot the first hints of fine lines, opt for non-comedogenic, natural-based, pro-collagen creams which promote your skin’s natural collagen production. Such creams often have marine ingredients such as seaweed.
- Mature skin – for when you need something that packs even more of a punch, consider a retinoid cream. These are more heavy-duty creams that feature chemicals related to vitamin A that can boost collagen production.
To find out more and anti-wrinkles products, read our best anti-aging cream reviews.
Using a facial mask is not necessary every day, but it can form an important part of your weekly skin regimen. Facial masks can impart moisture, vitamins and antioxidants into your skin, and while you can buy pre-made masks, you can also make your own at home for a truly natural alternative. Look for ingredients such as certain clays and seaweed, which can be great for balancing your skin and imparting nutrients. Cucumbers and coconut oil are fantastic hydration, while avocado and aloe vera are packed full of vitamins, with healing properties.
The easiest way to improve your healthy lifestyle is to eat a healthy diet. That is one rich in protein, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. Zinc, vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids are all important elements of your diet for maintaining strong, healthy and resilient skin. Here are some ideas of what to eat to improve your skin:
|Garlic||Brussell Sprouts||Kale||Olive Oil|
|Beef||Bell Peppers||Blueberries||Oily Fish|
|Pumpkin Seeds||Liver||Artichoke||Whole Grains|
Drinking plenty of water is an important part of everyday life. It affects every organ in your body. Keeping yourself hydrated means you provide enough water for cell processes to complete, and therefore results in healthier cells and tissues. In your skin, this results in more efficient cell processes such as the production of collagen and elastin and keeps your cells resilient against damage and bacteria.
With that being said, also consider cutting down your alcohol consumption. As you will know from that “morning after the night before” feeling, alcohol dehydrates you from the inside, so it shouldn’t surprise you that it affects your skin too.
We mentioned before how stressing about wrinkles can make them worse. That is because stress really does take a toll on our bodies. When we are anxious or stressed, our bodies release cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol can cause a range of issues, for example, sleep and digestive problems, headaches and weight gain. In terms of your skin, cortisol can cause inflammations, which over time can results in the breakdown of collagen, creating fine lines and wrinkles. High levels of cortisol can also increase the oil produced by your skin – resulting in acne.
Reduce Stress With Exercise
A fantastic way to relieve stress is to exercise regularly. It gets your heart pumping, releases endorphins that make you feel good and helps you establish a good sleep routine. All these factors combined can reduce stress, which will have a visible effect on your skin. Exercise also improves your circulation, meaning your tissues are more nourished and therefore able to carry out cell processes more efficiently. This can increase the collagen production and improve your skin tone!
As you can see, there are a great deal of ways that you can promote healthy skin and therefore prevent wrinkles from appearing. No matter how old you are, adopting a healthy lifestyle can do wonders for your overall health and your appearance, so it is never too early or too late to start looking after your skin. Our key take-home message is to choose healthy habits and nourish your skin with gentle products which promote a healthy, balanced skin tone.