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What Causes Skin Aging?

Written by Anchor & Blend

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Posted on May 04 2020

This isn’t another blog post telling you about all the things that you’re probably not doing to take care of your skin. We get it. You’re not a vegan Madonna. And we’re here to say there’s nothing wrong with aging. This isn’t to overwhelm you with a list of Do Not’s but to give you an idea of areas that you may want to improve. Am I perfect with this? Hardly close, I call it a Work In Progress as I try making small daily adjustments that are beneficial while still trying to have some fun!

Natural changes to our skin can and will occur as time goes on. An inevitable fact of life that we all will visibly look older. What we’re seeing in our skin is multifactorial and my goal (and most likely yours as well) is to not have my skin age prematurely.

Why the visible changes?

Well, there’s a reduction in collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (very important components of your skin). Also, a reduction in size and number of skin cells that turnover less quickly. The skin then becomes thin and less of a protective barrier. Whether by intrinsic or extrinsic factors, we are visibly seeing aging as dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles with loss of support and textural changes. Besides those aesthetically undesirable results, aging also affects the skin’s immune response and cancers can be more common the older we get.

Two categories of skin aging happen either intrinsically or extrinsically. Typically, we cannot prevent the intrinsic factors (i.e. our genetic determination or biological aging) but our lifestyle can put those intrinsic factors into overdrive. I say typically because I’m sure at this very moment research is already underway on how our DNA, mitochondria, and hormones (intrinsic factors) can be adjusted to combat the aging skin. Now extrinsic factors (exposure to sun and lifestyle: diet, exercise, sleep, stress etc.) are the ones that we can control which will ultimately either be preventative or contribute to premature aging.

First off: Sun Exposure

No matter your skin type or color, we all know the rays from sunlight (UVA and UVB) can be harmful to the skin. UVA and UVB rays cause free radical formation directly injuring skin cells, damage DNA, and cause sagging or wrinkles by activating enzymes that break down collagen. Now while exposure to UVA and UVB rays are considered the largest culprit to damage your skin, there are additional “habits” if you will, that can also either lessen or enhance premature aging.

1. Daily skin care routine

I’ll admit I’ve fallen prey to the “easy” route of not washing my makeup off before bed and I’m sure there’s been a couple of days with only splashing water on my face before heading out the door…but honestly that habit isn’t going to cut it anymore. Now not everyone’s routine will be the same, but the general rule will apply to all. Take care of your skin daily just as you would with brushing your teeth. A good routine will usually include some type of exfoliation, cleansing and lastly adding topically nourishing and moisturizing ingredients. More to come on this in future posts.

2. Smoking and… Vaping?

I’m not sure anyone could argue against the fact that smoking causes wrinkles and sagging skin but what may not be so well known is that vaping, albeit, to a lesser extent, can prematurely age the skin. While vaping is considered a good start to an alternative to smoking there are still risks associated with this habit. Smoker’s lips could still appear (due to the repetitive motion of puckering the lips to smoke). Nicotine causes blood flow restriction which means less oxygen and nutrients going to your skin and possibly the biggest effect is dehydration from the additives in E-cigarettes that can cause drying effects.

3. Alcohol

Speaking of drying effects, that is exactly what too much alcohol does to your skin too. Alcohol is a diuretic which will dehydrate your body (including your skin) and you’ll notice after a big night out, your skin to appear drier, paler, and less plump. Alcohol also depletes the body of nutrients and vitamins needed for healthy skin functioning such as Vitamin C. For example, Vitamin C is a MAJOR player in collagen production which is what gives skin it’s support. And no, adding orange juice to champagne, though delicious, will not counteract this effect. If you’re’ looking to have a glass or two, make sure to keep HYDRATED and eat your fruits and veggies. Moderation is key.

4. Inactivity

I’m all about lounging around but we need to move for a variety of health benefits. Exercise can improve blood flow to carry oxygen and nutrients to skin cells while removing waste products. Exercise can also help you relax and relieve stress, which is another factor in aging skin. (See below)

5. Processed and high glycemic index foods

Many skin conditions arise due to inflammation so our goal should be reducing it, right? Well what we eat does play a role in our bodies inflammatory response which could affect the skin. Eating a diet high in sugar such as refined carbohydrates and processed food has been linked to acne and premature skin aging and inflammation. Glycation is the name of the game. It’s where a sugar attaches to protein and eventually forms harmful molecules that accumulate and causes damage to collagen and elastin.

6. Sleep

Not enough sleep can release the stress hormone cortisol, causing inflammation and breaking down collagen. Your skin also repairs during the night to restore skin cells and less sleep makes this process less effective for repair and regeneration of your skin.

7. Stress

Ugh…cortisol…Can we ever escape stress? Probably not, but if it’s not under control, your hormones will be off balance, elevating cortisol levels that create free radicals that break down collagen and elastin fibers and impair skin renewal. Controlling stress can be done a variety of different ways. Do what works for you.

I can tell you that premature aging does happen because life happens and takes precedent over our skin care routines, our sleep, and our eating and drinking habits. As you can see skin care is more than just skin deep. Healthy habits are key to a healthy mind and body and ultimately this will show up as radiant and glowing skin.

As you just read earlier Vitamin C is a MAJOR player in collagen production which is why one of the first formulations Anchor & Blend has for you is our Island Drops Vitamin C Brightening Facial Oil. With a highly stable active 7% Vitamin C that will help prevent premature aging as you work it into your skin care “regimen” the best you can. Don’t forget to relax and enjoy life while you’re at it!