Many of the causes of skin ageing – those determined by our genetics and hormones – are entirely natural and cannot be avoided. But there are external factors – such as over exposure to the sun – which can cause skin to age prematurely. Sensible lifestyle choices can reduce the impact of these factors and help to keep skin looking younger for longer.
What causes premature skin ageing?
Over exposure to the sun – alongside inappropriate or insufficient sun protection – accounts for more than 80% of premature skin ageing.
UVA and UVB rays trigger the release of free radicals in the body− a process known as Oxidative stress. Free radicals damage skin cells and accelerate photoageing. Skin protects itself by tanning, and thickening the epidermis, but there is a limit to how much protection these measures can offer. This limit varies from person to person and, once exceeded, results in permanent damage to the skin, and an acceleration of the visible signs of ageing: wrinkles, a loss of volume and a loss of elasticity, and deep wrinkles.
Other external factors which trigger oxidative stress and can contribute to premature skin ageing include:
- Inappropriate skin care
How to protect skin from premature ageing?
The following lifestyle changes will help to protect skin from oxidative stress and prevent skin from ageing prematurely:
Avoid extensive sun exposure and use appropriate sun protection
A little bit of sun is a good thing, but limiting the time skin is exposed to sun helps prevent premature ageing. A committed approach to sun protection will also help keep skin looking younger longer. We recommend that you integrate appropriate SPF products into your daily skin care routine. Appropriate sunscreen is one chosen to suit your skin type and your natural skin colour/pigmentation levels. The level of protection you choose should vary depending on your location and the sun’s intensity.
A balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides a good source of antioxidants (molecules that work to neutralize free radicals). Changing your diet to include more of these key foods can help to reduce oxidative stress and prevent premature ageing. A healthy diet may also slow down the general skin ageing process.
Protect skin from air pollution
Air pollution, common in many of our cities, also triggers the formation of free radicals and aggravates the effects of sun exposure, accelerating oxidative stress. Protecting skin daily with an appropriate SPF product will help to slow down this process.
Try to avoid smoking
The chemicals and nicotine in cigarettes trigger Oxidative stress in a similar way to pollution. Ceasing smoking will help to prevent skin for ageing prematurely.
An appropriate daily skincare routine
Certain chemical substances, such as surfactants, can be harsh on skin, cause oxidative stress and lead to premature ageing. A good skincare routine will help to prevent premature ageing and slow down the visible signs of general skin ageing. We recommend the following routine:
- Cleanse to remove make-up and dirt. A mild cleanser will clean skin without stressing or dehydrating it.
- Tone to prepare skin for care.
- Protect. Facial sun protection should be part of your morning routine.
- Care for skin with a moisturiser that gives it the hydration and nourishment it needs. Choose products according to your primary ageing concern: fine lines and wrinkles, a loss of volume or a loss of elasticity and the appearance of deep wrinkles.