How much do you spend each year keeping your skin looking great? Skin care products, facials, fillers, smoothers — it all adds up quickly. Those visits to your esthetician and med spa are great, and very important, but what about the other factors that are aging your skin faster than you can repair it?
Sun Goddesses Beware!
As you may have guessed, sun exposure is number 1 on our list of things aging your skin prematurely. Exposure UV radiation is the main factor that causes 90 percent of wrinkles, hyper pigmentation (sun spots), and, GASP, sagging. It also causes the harmful lesions that lead to skin cancer. One of the more harmful changes that alter the structure and tone of your skin involves the destruction hyaluronic acid (HA), a molecule that contributes to cell growth throughout the entire body. UV rays cause skin cells to decrease the production of HA, resulting in inflammation (sunburn) and many of the signs of photodamage and aging. The good news? Sun damage is avoidable, and if you start now, you can improve the condition of sun damaged skin.
- Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher which protects from both UVA and UVB rays, use it year-round (yes, that includes cloudy days), and reapply every few hours. This also includes air travel — the airplane windows do not block out the harmful rays of the sun.
- Use high quality skin care products such as creams and serums containing alpha hydroxy acids. Products containing skin lightening agent or chemicals that work in a similar manner can help to fade sun spots. Retin-A is also a popular ingredient that has been linked to improving skin texture, diminishing wrinkles, and lightening sun spots.
- Cover up! Hats are in, big sunglasses are trendy — the best way to avoid sun damage is to block it out completely! Channel your inner movie star and accessorize!
- Get your sun-kissed look the safe way. Spray tans, tinted sunscreen, and a touch of bronzer are just a few ways to get the look without the damage.
Thank You For Not Smoking
Smoking. It smells bad. It’s bad for your lungs. It’s bad for your heart. It causes cancer. We all know this. Still need another reason to quit? It is also one of the top factors in aging your skin? How does smoking lead to wrinkles? The nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. This impairs blood flow to your skin. With less blood flow, your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen and important nutrients, such as vitamin A. Many of the more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, which are fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. As a result, skin begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely because of smoking. In addition, repeated exposure to the heat from burning cigarettes and the facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — may contribute to wrinkles. [Source: Mayo Clinic] Cigarette smoke also depletes your body of Vitamin C, which is a key ingredient for keeping skin plump and moist. No more excuses! Here are some links to smoking cessation resources:
Burning the Candle at Both Ends?
We have all been warned about what happens to us when we don’t get enough sleep and we all have our excuses as to why we don’t get enough shut-eye. Not getting 7-8 hours of good sleep on a regular basis shows up in our face in the form or dark circles, bags under our eyes, and sagging skin. A lack of sleep can cause your body to release more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. (Source: WebMD) Sleep is just as important as diet, exercise, and your skin care regimen. Find a pretty sleep mask. Sweet dreams!
Keep Calm and Don’t Stress
Just like sleep deprivation, stress can also cause your body to release cortisol and other hormones. These hormones can make you more prone to acne and other skin problems. It can worsen psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. It can even cause hives. Basically, stress does bad things to your skin. Here are a few tricks to keep in your bag next time you feel your stress levels rising:
- Write down the things that are causing your stress – seeing it on paper can sometimes put things into perspective or allow you to come up with solutions
- Get some exercise or just take a walk and get some fresh air
- Read a book, take a bath, or curl up and drink a cup of herbal tea
- Give yoga or meditation a try
Treat Your Body Like a Temple
Did you know that your skin is an organ? One that covers a total area of 20 square feet! Just like all of the other organs in your body, a healthy diet is essential to the health of that organ. Fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids and carotenoids – two powerful plant-based antioxidants – help remove free radicals from your skin and body that cause premature aging. Alcohol contributes to aging skin by dilating small blood vessels in the skin and increasing blood flow near the skin’s surface. Over time, these blood vessels can become permanently damaged, creating a flushed appearance and broken vessels on the skin’s surface. It also puffs out your face and after it wears off, your skin is stretched and wrinkled. Sugar consumption is also up there with sun exposure and smoking when it comes to the major causes of wrinkles. When blood sugar levels are high, a process called glycation occurs which damages the collagen in your skin. Once damaged, the normally springy collagen hardens, leading to wrinkles and sagging. Cutting out good, healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids could negatively affect the speed and way in which you age. Omega-3 fatty acids – present in oily fish, walnuts and flax seeds – are essential for keeping you looking and feeling young. Not only do they help keep skin supple and wrinkle-free, but they help boost brain health, keep your heart in good condition, and can even increase your lifespan.
Try one of our favorite anti-aging products:
Revision Intellishade – Tinted moisturizer in a regular or matte finish for that safe, sun-kissed glow.
Combatting the factors that are aging your skin don’t have to be hard! Follow these guidelines and your skin will thank you!