Best guide to reduce premature skin aging



Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we cannot do anything about; others we can influence.

One thing that we cannot change is the natural aging process. It plays a key role. With time, we all get visible lines on our face. It is natural for our face to lose some of its youthful fullness. We notice our skin becoming thinner and drier. Our genes largely control when these changes occur. The medical term for this type of aging is “intrinsic aging.”

We can influence another type of aging that affects our skin. Our environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. The medical term for this type of aging is “extrinsic aging.” By taking some preventive actions, we can slow the effects that this type of aging has on our skin.

11 ways to reduce premature skin aging

The sun plays a major role in prematurely aging our skin. Other things that we do also can age our skin more quickly than it naturally would. To help their patients prevent premature skin aging, dermatologists offer their patients the following tips.

1. Protect your skin from the sun every day. Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.

2. Apply self-tanner rather than get a tan. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. This holds true if you get a tan from the sun, a tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment. All emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.

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3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.

4. Avoid repetitive facial expressions. When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.

5. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging.

6. Drink less alcohol. Alcohol is rough on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older.

7. Exercise most days of the week. Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.

8. Cleanse your skin gently. Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.

9. Wash your face twice a day and after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

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10. Apply a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.

11. Stop using skin care products that sting or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can make it look older.

Note: Some anti-aging products prescribed by a dermatologist may burn or sting. When using a prescription anti-aging product, this can be OK. Just be sure to let your dermatologist know.

Never too late to benefit

Even people who already have signs of premature skin aging can benefit from making lifestyle changes. By protecting your skin from the sun, you give it a chance to repair some of the damage. Smokers who stop often notice that their skin looks healthier.

If signs of aging skin bother you, you may want to see a dermatologist. New treatments and less-invasive procedures for smoothing wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving one’s complexion are giving many people younger-looking skin.

We don't know how to stop the clock, but we can help you fool the cameras and mirrors into thinking you’re a younger you. Here’s some essential tips to get the skin care routine you need.

Wash with a gentle cleanser

Cleansing is important for removing any skin care product or makeup that you’ve applied during the day, as well as natural skin oils, pollutants, and bacteria that’s accumulated. It also means your skin care products will be able to enter your skin and work more effectively!

You’ll want to use a gentle cleanser to preserve your skin
 barrierTrusted Source and keep it resistant to dehydration and damage. Cleansers with a high pH like natural soaps are very harsh and can leave your skin vulnerable to irritation and infection. Cleansers with a low pH, such as this one by Cosrx ($10.75 on Amazon), work to maintain optimal skin balance.

Another ingredient to avoid is sodium lauryl sulfate, as it’s very harsh. You also don’t need to buy cleansers with fancy, active ingredients. Cleanser’s aren’t on your skin for very long. Those active ingredients are far more useful in later steps, like when you apply serum.

Do you need a toner?

Toners were developed in the past to restore the low pH of the skin after washing with a high-pH cleanser. If you’re using a cleanser with a low pH, then a toner is unnecessary. It’s much better to avoid damage in the first place than to undo it later!

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Use a physical or chemical exfoliant

As you age, your skin slows downTrusted Source replenishing itself. Dead skin cells aren’t replaced by fresh cells as quickly, which means your skin starts to look dull and uneven, and may even crack. Exfoliants are a great way to help get dead cells off your skin.
There are two main categories of exfoliants: physical and chemical. It’s best to avoid harsh physical exfoliants, such as sugar scrubs and cleansers with beads, because it makes your skin more susceptible to sagging. Instead, choose a washcloth or a soft sponge, like this Konjac sponge with activated charcoal ($9.57 on Amazon), that can handle your skin’s needs.

Chemical exfoliants gradually dissolve the bonds between skin cells and allow them to detach. They’re also suitable for skin of any age! The best exfoliants for maturing skin are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)Trusted Source like glycolic acid and lactic acid. You can also find these acids in toners, serums, and at-home peels.

Bonus tip: AHAs are also great for fading uneven pigmentation, and will help hydrate your skin as well! One great product is this Gylo-Luronic Acid serum ($5.00 on Makeup Artist’s Choice), that has a mix of glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid. It has properties to exfoliate and moisturize your skin.

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