Aging is a natural process and so are wrinkles but if they occur before time, there could be some factors causing it.
Aging is a natural process as we grow older but sometimes the signs like wrinkles and fatigue show up prematurely. When we grow older, there is also a slow down of the body's internal process like skin cell turnover and workout recovery. Sometimes, they happen before time and we are left surprised. There could be many factors that contribute to premature aging, which leads to wrinkles showing up early. Some of the signs of premature aging include sun spots or age spots, gaunt hands, inflammation and hyperpigmentation along the chest area, dry or itchy skin, hair loss, wrinkles or sagging.
While it's impossible to avoid the changes that aging brings, it's possible to slow them down a bit by choosing a healthier lifestyle. However, there are some factors that are completely out of our control. Here are six factors that could be contributing to premature aging:
It's not brand new information that smoking and drinking in excess are not good for us. They can deplete the nutrients in our body. For our skin to look healthy and youthful, it needs a certain amount of hydration, collagen, elastin, and oxygen. When we have excessive amounts of alcohol, it dehydrates our body and over time it can cause our skin to sag and lose shape. Caffeine may have a similar effect but there is conflicting research about how much coffee consumption causes wrinkles, as per Healthline.
If we go out in the sun too much and are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation excessively, it can result in premature aging of the skin, a process called photoaging. UV light breaks down collagen fibers and leads to the production of abnormal elastin, according to Cleveland Clinic. Skin tissue damaged by ultraviolet light produces an enzyme called metalloproteinase which creates and reforms collagen. Health collagen fibers end up getting damaged during this process and wrinkles develop if it happens over and over again. US News reported that being a frequent flyer or living in high altitude can use premature aging because of excessive UV light, which is why applying sunscreen regularly is very important.
Sleep plays an important role in keeping us healthy. It gives our body the chance to refresh and regenerate cells. One study, published in Clinical and experimental dermatology, indicated that bad sleep quality is associated with increased aging signs. "While you sleep, your body initiates the repair process for lots of different tissues in the body, including the skin," explains Dr. Mary P. Lupo, a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University in New Orleans, to US News. "So without enough deep sleep, in particular, the skin doesn't get the repair and restoration it needs," she added.
When we eat highly processed or sugary foods it causes a dramatic increase in blood sugar levels which can cause chronic, low-grade inflammation at the cellular level. It degrades the collagen and elastin, a protein that gives skin elasticity, explains Dr. Ellen Marmur, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City to US News. This affects collagen and elastin, which can get stiffer and less functional. When that happens, our skin can sag, wrinkle, and look older than it should.
Even yo-yo dieting that causes our weight to fluctuate dramatically can cause aging signs. If our skin continuously stretches and contracts it takes a toll on its elasticity. Not only can it lead to stretch marks and cellulite build-up but also sagging and wrinkles.
Consuming medicines like oral corticosteroids, which are usually for asthma, arthritis, or other conditions, or applying them topically can cause a reduction in collagen and elastin. This can make the skin thinner and blood vessels prone to rupturing easily. Antibiotics like ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and anti-seizure medications can lead to photosensitivity. This makes our skin extra sensitive to sun damage that leads to premature wrinkles and pigmentation changes.
"Since stopping these medications is not an option, it's very important to be sun-smart," Dr. Doris J. Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Medical Center told US News. "This means avoiding [exposure to] mid-day sun, wearing sun-protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day and reapplying it regularly," she said, adding that using a retinoid cream at night can stimulate collagen production.