Written by Naqia Ahmed
In a perfect world, we would all have fresh dewy youthful skin forever but the reality is that as we get older our skin will inevitably age. While we cannot stop time, we can take care of our skin by trying to manage environmental factors that exacerbate signs of aging. So what can we do to help us stay looking fresh and young? Here are 5 things that you do have control over that will prevent premature aging.
We need vitamin D and the best way to get it is to absorb a few rays of sunshine. That being said, this doesn’t mean you need to sit in the sun for hours. Sun damage is one of the quickest ways to age your skin. The UV (ultraviolet) radiation breaks down the collagen and elastin in our skin but the good news is that there is sun protection, which you should wear every day, all year round. Luckily there are also some great bronzers, for that sun-kissed look.
What to keep in mind for your sunscreen.
It should be labeled Broad Spectrum, which means the product will cover shield against UVA and UVB rays.
For everyday wear, a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF)of 15 or 30 is recommended. It’s also important to reapply sunscreen to exposed areas every 90 to 120 minutes, or as indicated on the label.
For the beach or pool, make sure it’s Water Resistant. This will protect the skin in water for a specified duration of time.
My favourite products– Sun Bum sunscreen (no parabens/PABA/oil free) and Too Faced bronzer in Chocolate Gold Soleil.
2. NO Smoking
I think this one is pretty obvious but to elaborate, nicotine impairs blood flow to your skin which in turn limits the oxygen and nutrients, promoting sagging and wrinkling. It doesn’t end there, many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage your skin’s collagen and elastin, leading to premature aging.
The saying “you are what you eat” always just seemed like a way for your mother to get you to eat your vegetables. Who knew she was right! Aside from the overall benefits to your body, a healthy diet can have long lasting effects on your skin, effects that most skin care products cannot match. The one thing that should be eliminated (or at least minimized), is white sugar. With white sugar (and fast-release white carbohydrates), glycation occurs within the body. This forms advanced glycation end-products (shortened, appropriately to AGEs), which causes protein fibres to become stiff and malformed. The proteins in skin are collagen and elastin, which is what keeps your complexion looking tight and supple. When renegade sugars latch on to our skin’s proteins they become hard, weak and then break down. Hence the wrinkles, sagginess and less radiant skin. Since we’d like to look fresh and dewy always, go for the fruits instead of the cupcake!
The effects of stress on your skin are real. When we are stressed our body releases the hormone cortisol and high levels of cortisol contribute to the break-down of collagen. Other hormones can also become imbalanced, frequently causing over-active sebum production, leading to breakouts. The next time this happens try focusing on managing your stress and not overdoing it with the skincare.
Ever notice that when you’ve had a late night, the next morning your skin looks dull, you have dark circles and bags under your eyes and you feel like you need that heavy moisturizer, well there is a reason for the term Beauty Sleep. The body repairs, regenerates and recovers while you snooze. During sleep, skin rebuilds its collagen, blood flow increases and the body repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots. While we live in a culture of “busy-ness” and sleep is always low priority, remember that it’s another part of being healthy … mind, body and fresh-faced dewy skin.
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