Premature aging meaning in skincare
As we grow older it’s natural to experience signs of aging. However, how we age and how soon we start experiencing those signs, entirely depends on how well we take care of our skin.
What is premature aging of skin?
This is when someone’s body or skin shows signs of aging such as wrinkles, sagging, dry skin, sun spots, fine lines and hair loss, at a much younger age than what is normally expected. Alternatively, premature aging can be defined as a person’s biological age being higher or older than their chronological age.
Biological age simply refers to how old our cells are. On the other hand, chronological age refers to the actual number of years we count as our birthdays. Biological age is determined by (DNAm) DNA methylation — based age predictors called epigenetic clocks. Some of the most common ones include Horvath’s clock (first generation), PhenoAge, GrimAge and Zhang’s clock. Chronological age is determined by what’s on your birth certificate.
Causes of premature aging
1. Genetic factors
- Werner syndrome
- Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome
- Hormonal imbalance (PCOS) causing obesity
2. Lifestyle factors
3. Environmental factors
- Sun exposure
- Air pollution and dust
- Seasonal/ climate change
- Oxidative stress (free radicals)
How to prevent premature aging of skin
The good thing as far as premature aging is concerned, is that there are ways or solutions to slowing or preventing it from happening. We can age gracefully if we pay close attention to the things that we have control over, such as our lifestyles and environmental factors.
1. Use sunscreen
It’s recommended to go for SPF 30 at the very least, rather than something lower like an SPF 15. This is because sunscreens with (SPF) Sun Protection Factor of 30 block about 97% of UVB rays, meaning only 3 out of 100 photons enter the skin. On the other hand, SPF 15 which blocks about 93% of UVB rays allows around 7 photons to enter the skin. If you go without sunscreen 100 out of 100 photons enter the skin therefore leading to photoaging.
2. Wear protective clothing
First things first! Always wear a hat if you are going to be outdoors for prolonged periods of time. Second, remember to always bring your sunglasses with you. Sunglasses help you see clearly on a sunny day without the need for you to squint, or make other repetitive facial movements that actually accelerate wrinkles. Third, wear clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of at least 30.
3. Avoid tanning beds
Did you know that UV rays from indoor tanning beds are similar to those from the sun? Did you also know that some tanning machines produce higher levels of UVA rays, which are more intense than what’s produced by natural sunlight? What this means is that long term exposure to UV rays from tanning beds do in actuality cause photoaging, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma just like the sun.
4. Opt for healthy diets
If you consume a lot of fast foods, artificial sugars, refined grains and refined meat, you might want to change your diet for the sake of your skin and overall health. For instance, artificial sugars have no real value at all for your body. They in fact lead to a high glycemic index.
This causes a spike in insulin levels which results in a process known as glycation — the attachment of a sugar molecule to a protein. In this case, the excess sugar links, bonds or attaches itself to elastin and collagen in your skin.
When this occurs, tissue elasticity becomes impaired and a loss of protein function takes place as well. Your skin then starts to show signs of aging. It is therefore important to go for a healthy diet such as Mediterranean diet or natural foods that have collagen boosting action.
Foods that are especially rich in Zinc, Vitamin C, E and Proteins are recommended. Such nutrients can be found in fish, citrus fruits, flax seeds, almonds and avocados just to name a few. Last but not least, don’t forget to drink enough water to help keep your skin hydrated.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise doesn’t have to be clangin’ and bangin’ as Dwayne the Rock Johnson would put it. There are other forms of exercises that might be more appealing to you, if lifting weights is not. One of them is aerobics which can be both fun and effective.
It gets the job done and it increases metabolism while helping reduce the risk of heart diseases. It also helps with weight management and over time, it improves your appearance and attractiveness.
6. Get enough sleep
Your skin takes advantage of the time that you are asleep to repair, recalibrate, improve and regenerate cells. That is why when someone does not get enough sleep you can easily tell by just looking at their face and especially their eyes.
This is because the regenerative process, sleep pattern and body clock (circadian rhythm) were interfered with. So make sure to get at least 7–8 hours of sleep every night.
7. Use natural skincare products
Both your skin and hair collect a lot of debris, dust and pollutants when you step out of your house. On top of that, they also get a lot of exposure to UV rays.
If you apply synthetic products to your skin, you not only fail to clear the elements collected, but you also make the situation worse by introducing parabens, formaldehydes and phthalates. These are well known to cause itchiness, redness, breakouts and even breast cancer.
So make sure to go for skin and hair care products that contain natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Shea butter and coconut oil among many others. Remember to also keep off brands that do not sell cruelty free, eco-friendly and non-comedogenic products.
8. Know your skin type
A lot of people use products that are not meant for their particular skin types. This ends up damaging their skin and causing premature aging. Eventually, they end up spending a lot of money on corrective procedures in order to try and regain their youthful vigor.
To avoid that you have to know your skin. Now, how do you know your skin type? By first understanding the two main parts of your face known as zones! T-zone denotes forehead, nose and chin. C-zone denotes the outer portions surrounding the T-Zone. It includes the chicks, jawline and chin.
Before going to sleep, wash your face with just water and do the same the next morning. Wait for about an hour and do not touch your face. Grab some blotting paper or a piece of tissue and dab it on your face separately on the two zones.
- Dry skin: Both zones are dry. No trace of oil or moisture on blotting paper.
- Normal skin: No traces of oil on blotting paper. Sebum and moisture are balanced.
- Oily skin: Both zones are oily. Forehead seems shiny and has large pores.
- Combo skin: Your T-zone is oily and your C-zone is normal or dry.
- Sensitive skin: Easily irritated and has lower tolerance to certain skincare products.
Once you know your skin type, you can go ahead and start using products that are specifically formulated for your skin. If you are still not sure, it’s best to make an appointment with your dermatologist so that you can get further assistance.
9. Have a morning and night routine
As I mentioned earlier, your face gets exposed to a lot of elements during the day which could lead to premature aging. To avoid that, it’s imperative that you have a morning and night routine. There are generally four steps that make up a routine
- Cleanse — Removes elements from skin
- Treat — Correct or control issues
- Moisturize — Hydrate your skin
- Protect — Sunscreen SPF 30
Depending on your skin type, your morning routine would probably be something like cleansing, toning (nonalcoholic), applying serum, moisturizing, some lip balm and sunscreen.
In the evening or for the night routine, you probably want to start with a makeup remover, then double cleanse, apply eye cream and a night moisturizer. You should also incorporate clay masks and exfoliants in your routine, but only several times a week rather than daily.