Do you look in the mirror each day and see wrinkles, dull skin, pigmentation and wonder how come you already start to have ageing signs on your face while your real age is still defining you as a young individual? Well, maybe that ageing is not really genetical.
Due to a hectic lifestyle and external factors, something called premature ageing (or extrinsic) can incur and we’re here to dig more into depth and understand the WHY’s of it.
These factors disturb the way skin cells work. Environmental factors and poor lifestyle choices cause DNA damage, elastin and collagen damage, melanin destruction, inflammation, change in skin permeability, deficiency of vitamins, hormonal imbalance and change in the PH level of the skin.
OVEREXPOSURE TO UV
Sun overexposure is the leading and most dangerous cause of extrinsic aging. UV rays penetrate skin cells and damage the melanin and connective tissue cells. Melanin is a brown pigment present in the outermost layer of your skin and protects your skin from sun damage. Prolonged exposure to sun damages melanin, which results in hyperpigmentation. UV rays also affect connective tissues of the skin, which include collagen and elastin.
Chemical compounds in the air like free radicals and carbon monoxide are the ones attacking the skin and disturbing the functioning of cells. These environmental pollutants penetrate the skin and destroy the connective tissues. Destruction of connective tissues means that the elasticity of skin gets affected. The other harm caused by air pollutants is a decrease in the level of antioxidants and vitamins in our skin which play a role of strengthening the skin barrier.
Stress is the most common issue of our days. So how come stress affects our skin? How can a psychological disorder affect our skin? Stress is of two types. Acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is triggered by specific events and has a short lifespan. In acute stress, the hormonal imbalance causes a change in the structure of proteins that maintains the skin’s firmness. Loss of elasticity leads to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is a long-term stress and also promotes premature aging by disturbing the DNA function and structure of your cells.
LACK OF SLEEP
When we do not get enough sleep, we disturb the hormonal balance of our skin. This imbalance is then causing DNA damage, oxidative stress, and increased inflammation leading to premature ageing signs (dull, puffy skin, wrinkles). If DNA damage gets severe and chronic, it may also lead to more serious health issues.
Let’s start with water…water keeps the cells hydrated and firm. But when we don’t drink enough water, it causes dehydration in our bodies. Our skin cells get shrunk and lose elasticity. Dehydrated skin becomes dry, dull and less firm. Vitamins and minerals are also very important for a healthy skin. Lack of vitamins and minerals cause dullness and destruction of collagen.
Refined sugars also play a role in premature ageing of skin. Sugar in our bloodstream attaches to the surrounding proteins and damage them. It also produces harmful free radicals in bloodstream which are called Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), process also called glycation. Chemicals in overcooked meat or meat cooked at high temperature also contribute to premature aging. Excessive intake of red meat also causes a decrease in collagen production.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals, Nicotine is one of the most harming one as it causes the narrowing of blood vessels, reducing oxygen flow and the transportation of nutrients to skin cells. Lack of oxygen and nutrients causes skin cells to become dry and dull. Tobacco smoke also causes ischemia and induces the enzyme, MMP1 – metallo-proteinase, which degrades collagen. Collagen degradation causes a lack of elasticity and firmness in the skin’s structure.
The good news about extrinsic ageing of the skin is that it can be prevented and some ageing signs can be reversed. So, keep in mind that when it comes to healthy skin there has to be a holistic approach. Look at your sleep cycles, the food you eat, the environment you live in and start each day by creating healthy habits for yourself. Do routine medical checkups, drink more water, use sunscreen, keep your stress levels under control and create minimalistic skincare rituals by using efficient, clean products and never forget to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.