Aging and your skin
Everyone ages differently. Your skins age can depend on many different factors, such as, your time in the sun, your diet, and your environment, but it also depends on your skin color. Dermatologists say there are six types of skin color, with type I being the lightest and type VI being very dark. The reason for the difference in skin tone is due to the level of melanin in their skin, which protects them from the sun. People who have darker skin often look younger than their lighter-skinned peers. An African American with skin type VI, for example, doesn't feel the aging effects of the sun as much as a blond-haired, blue-eyed, light-skinned person of Swedish heritage at a level one. Although the darker the skin the more you are protected from the sun, the melanin also puts darker skin at higher risk of scarring and pigmentation problems. Also, people with darker skin are not completely safe from sun damage, so it's important to wear sunscreen, even if you have dark skin.
As you get older, your body starts to slow down the manufacturing of collagen and elastin. This can lead to fine lines and wrinkles, add in sun exposure and gravity, and skin will begin to sag. Just like with the inside, the outside of your body (your skin) keeps changing as you age. The skin becomes thinner, drier, and more fragile as the inner layer, or the dermis, starts to thin. Fat beneath the skin in your cheeks, chin, and nose disappears, making skin sag. Facial hair increases and women going through hormonal changes may get acne.
Oily skin people may never stop having breakout as they age. The advantage to oily skin is, it wards off wrinkles better than dry skin because the oils keep skin moister and smoother.
Moisturizers are one way to decrease the effect of wrinkles before they appear and there are hypoallergenic moisturizers if you have oily skin.
With the breakdown of collagen and elastin, your body's ability to fight free radicals that attack and damage cells and collagen also slows with age. Antioxidants work to protect skin of free radicals and improve its appearance, repairing damage and moisturizing the skin. Antioxidants are found in vitamins C, E, and A, which should be a regular part of a healthy diet. Many skin care products now include these antioxidants in their formulas as well.
No matter if you skin type is a level I or a level IV, eventually years of sun damage catches up with you in the form of age spots and wrinkles. Some of this happens naturally with age, but you don't want to accelerate the wrinkling process
Sun exposure and your environment will damage and speed up the process of aging skin. Sun exposure is the number one cause of harm to the skin, and no type of skin is immune to sun damage. The sun causes 90% of skin damage. Wear sunscreen every day.
Here are some tips to pick the right sunscreen and proper use:
- It is important that your sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays: Look for the words “BROAD -SPECTRM” on the label and AT LEAST an SPF of 30 to provide good protection against both these rays.
- For the best results, apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before going outdoors, this allows the sunscreen to absorb into your skin and give you more protection.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, and more often if you are sweating or getting in and out of the water.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing, like a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Even with sunscreen, you should take precautions, such as limiting your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.
Making better lifestyle choices can help you reap the rewards of healthier skin.
Secondhand smoke, cleaning chemicals, and air pollution can all cause skin problems.
Chronic stress can also take a toll. Stress produces hormones that increase the levels of free radicals in the body, suppresses the immune system, dehydrates the body, and thins the skin. It can also lead to acne, upset your body's ability to help skin renew and replenish itself, and cause hives, eczema, itching, or redness. Stress also wears down the body's ability to fight free radicals and bacteria.
- Exercise. Exercising can reduce stress and help you sleep better, leading to healthier skin.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is your skin's chance to repair damage done during the day. Seven to eight hours a night allows your face to relax and smooth wrinkles, avoid dirt and grime in the air, and rejuvenate.
- Eat healthy, look healthy. Foods can affect skin because we see it when there is a deficiency. If there is a deficiency in vitamin C, it can cause scurvy. A deficiency in zinc can lead to a scaly, red rash. An iron deficiency can lead to hair loss. The best thing you can do for your skin is to eat well-balanced meals.
- Think before you drink. Dermatologists recommend drinking water to moisturize your skin from within. When you drink water, the cells absorb that water and look plumper, smoothing out wrinkles. The opposite is true of beverages that dehydrate the body and skin, especially alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Coffee, alcohol, and soda can also deplete the body of nutrients that keep skin from looking tired and dull, cause facial flushing, and worsen skin conditions such as rosacea.
- Don't smoke. Smoking is second only to sun damage in causing wrinkles and dry skin. Studies have shown that smokers have significantly more fine wrinkles than nonsmokers.
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