Aging is a natural process we really have no control over — it plays a key role in the appearance of our skin. With age, visible lines begin to appear on skin and the face loses its general look of youthfulness. Skin also often becomes thinner and more dry with age. Many of these changes are controlled by genetics alone — a process called “intrinsic aging.” The years you celebrated on your birthday do have an affect on your skin, but your physical age is not the only factor contributing to aging appearance. Environment and lifestyle factors can cause premature aging of the skin — a process called “extrinsic aging.” Despite the cause, your friendly dermatologist in Dallas, Dr. George Wooming, knows best when it comes to the aging process, prevention, and treatments.
Symptoms of Aging
What does aging skin look like? Here are some of the common symptoms of aging you may notice in your appearance:
Wrinkles — Factors including skin type, genetics, and sun exposure can all cause your skin to become wrinkled. People who are fair skinned with a history of ultraviolet (UV) exposure are more susceptible not only to wrinkles, but also to skin damage and skin cancer.
Age spots — These flat, brown marks on the skin usually appear on the face, chest, back, backs of the hands and tops of the feet. Also caused by exposure to UV radiation, if you have a family history of age spots, you should take extra precaution to protect yourself from UV exposure.
Is Aging Skin Preventable?
While age and genetics do play a factor, there are some tips from your friendly dermatologist in Dallas to help you reduce premature skin aging.
Protect your skin from the sun — Exposure to UV radiation from the sun and indoor tanning beds is the most preventable cause of early skin aging. To prevent age-related sun damage, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, wear protective clothing, a wide brimmed hat, and seek shade when you’re outdoors.
Use a self-tanner rather than a tanning bed — Instead of using a tanning bed or the sun to darken your skin for swimsuit season or a special occasion, apply a self-tanning lotion or consider a spray tan. These methods will accomplish the same look, without damaging your skin and putting you at risk of skin cancer.
Don’t smoke — Use of tobacco products significantly speeds the rate at which your skin ages. Smoking causes your skin to look wrinkled, dull and saggy.
Watch your facial expressions — Repeatedly making the same facial expressions, or even squinting in the sun, year after year, can cause lined and wrinkles to become permanent. Wear a hat or sunglasses when out you’re out in the sun to avoid squinting.
Eat healthy and exercise — Studies have found that a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging of the skin. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Exercise improves circulation and can boost the immune system, which may contribute to a more youthful appearance. Make a habit of exercising at least 30 minutes five days a week.
Reduce alcohol consumption — Alcohol dehydrates your body and your skin, in time permanently damaging the skin, which will only add to aging. Drink in moderation, and when you do consume alcohol, drink plenty of water as well to keep your body and skin hydrated.
Practice good hygiene — Gently clean your face twice daily to remove pollution, makeup and other substances that may irritate your skin. Avoid scrubbing your skin, as this can cause irritation. If you have been sweating heavily, wash your skin as soon as possible.
Use the right products — Apply a facial moisturizer daily to trap moisture in your skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. Avoid using skin care products that stink, burn or otherwise irritate your skin.