How does your skin age, and what can you do about it?

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. I like to describe it as a ‘social interface’ between you and the people around you. It’s one of the first things people notice when they see you, so of course we all want to present a healthy and radiant complexion to the world.

As early as your mid-twenties, you might notice that your skin doesn’t look as smooth or radiant as it used to. As you age your skin starts to become drier and rougher, and fine lines and wrinkles can start to appear. But by understanding how your skin ages and the factors that have an impact on the process, you can take steps to keep your skin looking healthy and younger for longer.

So how does your skin age?

There are two main types of skin ageing: intrinsic ageing and extrinsic ageing. Intrinsic ageing refers to changes in your skin which are likely due to genetics and processes that occur naturally over time. There’s not much you can do about intrinsic ageing. Extrinsic or premature ageing is due to external factors. Some researchers think that between 3% and 25% of skin-ageing processes are caused by genetic factors and that the rest is all lifestyle-based. That’s good news because it means there’s a lot we can do to slow down and prevent the signs of ageing. Prevention is clearly key, so what are these external factors that cause premature ageing and what action can we take?

Over-exposure to the sun

Ageing is accelerated in areas of skin exposed to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation), a process known as photoaging. The primary cause of dermal ageing, photoaged skin can look wrinkled, slack and rough, with uneven pigmentation, an increased epidermal thickness and alterations to the skin’s connective tissue.

The key feature of photoaged skin is the accumulation of formless, elastin-containing material that sits beneath your skin’s epidermal–dermal junction. Collagen and elastin – the fibres that support the structure of your skin – are more severely impaired in photoaged skin.

Your number one prevention strategy should be to stay out of the sun! At the very least, depending on where you live in the world, you should limit your exposure to UV by covering your skin and using a high-factor sun block.

Poor diet

There are many dietary factors that can speed up or slow down your skin’s ageing processes. Vitamins A, C and E – often called the ‘beauty nutrients’ – are essential for healthy skin at any age. Another key dietary factor comes in the form of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs), which I’ll discuss in detail in my next blog all about beauty nutrition.

Smoking and drinking

Smoking has long been known to speed up the skin’s ageing process, accelerating the arrival of wrinkles and leading to an uneven complexion and puffiness below the eyes. The sooner you can give up the better! Likewise, too much alcohol dehydrates, causing the skin to lose its natural plumpness, and wrinkles and pores to be more visible.

Stress and lack of sleep

I looked at the effects of stress and lack of sleep in my post on the importance of self-care in your skincare routine. Self-care and its ability to improve your skin is something I’m really passionate about and I’ll be talking about it a lot more in future blog posts.

Your secondary prevention strategies then, should be to eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of skin-loving nutrients, get plenty of restful sleep, give up smoking and drink less. If you do overindulge, make sure you rehydrate with plenty of water as this will directly benefit your skin.

What about skincare products?

The third type of prevention is using high-quality anti-ageing skincare products containing carefully balanced nutrition and high-performing active ingredients. All three preventative strategies must be in place to make a noticeable difference to your skin. When it comes to lifestyle choices, these are easier to manage when we focus on reducing our stress levels and improving our emotional wellbeing. What we feel on the inside will reflect on our outside. That’s why at Peace & Pure we see your emotional wellbeing and your skincare routine and products as going hand in hand. It's at the heart of our brand and everything we do. I’d love you to come on this journey with us, and together we will transform your skin.

With love,

Alice 

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