Did you know that only 5-20% of our aging can be attributed to natural aging and genetics while the other 80-95% is a result of environmental factors and lifestyle choices? These statistics show us we have a great deal of control over how quickly and severely we age. So, what are we doing that causes our skin to age prematurely and how can we change it?
The first factor is one that we all know, the sun. Our sunbathing and sun burning days need to be left behind. We all know that harmful UV rays destroy our skin and can lead to skin cancer. Natural sun screen, protective clothing and makeup that contains an SPF are great for protecting our skin. We can use this information to treat ourselves to a fabulous new sun hat or to help us remember to find shady places to sit when outside. Or, if you love that sun-kissed tanned look, then a natural bronzer can be used to create the safe tan you desire.
The next major culprit to early aging is smoking. The chemicals that our skin is exposed to from smoking greatly speeds up the aging process and causes an increase in wrinkles and a dull sallow complexion. The obvious solution is to limit our exposure to first-hand and second-hand smoke as much as possible to save our skin.
Another cause of early aging is repetitive facial expressions like squinting or puckering caused from smoking or sipping a straw. When we contract the same muscles repeatedly it creates lines and over time they become permanent. Some simple solutions for wrinkles is to wear sunglasses when outside to avoid the lines created from squinting, pay attention to any inclination we have to scowl or sip from a straw too often, and use organic skin care products that have only plant-based ingredients that can nourish and support healthy skin cells.
Did you know that our diet is a huge factor in the health of our skin too? A healthy digestive system leads to healthy skin, so loading up on fresh organic fruits, nuts and seeds, vegetables and pure water will give our body the natural nutrients our bodies need to restore and heal. Large amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, processed food and alcohol can greatly accelerate aging and wrinkles.
One of the best things to heal our skin and take years off is to make exercise part of our daily routine. Exercise increases our circulation and boosts our immune system. It also causes the body to produce sweat which can rid the body of toxins and allows the skin to be healthier.
With increased sweating, properly cleansing the face will also help to prevent aging. It is important to wash our face soon after exercising because perspiration can irritate the skin. Always clean your face gently. Never use soap on your face. Soap strips the skin of its natural protective barrier, causing it to be more susceptible to environmental pollutants and allergens and making the skin at more of a risk of drying out and becoming irritated. Also, be cautious when using exfoliants. Never scrub your face, as pulling on the skin, especially the eye area, greatly increases wrinkles.
Last, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Moisturizing daily will hold water into our skin and keep it hydrated, as well as protect our skin from outside influences. Hydrated skin has less wrinkles, while dry skin creates wrinkles and causes them to be more obvious and pronounced.
I know this list may seem overwhelming but by changing our routine and habits one at a time we will begin to see a difference in the visible aging of our skin. The earlier we start in creating good habits the healthier our skin will be, and we can greatly slow the aging process.