As we get older, we naturally start to lose collagen and elastin in our skin, this loss is a major reason for the physical signs of aging. Collagen and elastin keep the skin looking tight, supple, and hydrated. By the time I hit 30, I really started paying attention to what the lifestyle and environmental factors of premature aging are. As a nutritionist and a fitness professional, it didn’t take me long to figure out what the three biggest causes are when it comes to signs of aging. So, I always tell everyone, stay away from these three S’s to reduce the signs of aging.
The Sun is responsible for the majority of our physical signs of aging. This is by far the largest among all factors. The sun’s rays, including beds, cause 80% of wrinkles, sun spots, reduced skin elasticity, and degradation of the skin’s texture. All of the above contribute to the look of premature aging. Using a broad spectrum, water resistant sun screen everyday, year round, at any age, will help to keep the skin moisturized and protected. I say that all ages need sun protection not only for anti-aging purposes but to also help with skin cancer prevention. Prevention is key since the signs of sun damage can start appearing five years after the actual sun damage. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum of SPF 30, but personally, I would recommend SPF 50 or higher. A 2% increase in sun damage can age the face by 3 years. It’s never too late to shave off 3 or more years!
Excess sugars in the bloodstream from processed and simple sugars cause damage the collagen and elastin. It does this by attaching the proteins in the blood and once the collagen and elastin is damaged, we start to visibly see a loss in skin firmness and wrinkles will start to appear. The natural loss of collagen starts to occur after the age of 35, so regularly increased levels of sugar in the bloodstream can cause premature damage, which leads to visible signs of pre-mature aging. In addition to the damage to collagen and elastin, sugar will also cause inflammation in the body, also leading to the skin looking less supple. And of course, we won’t even get started on the havoc it can wreak on your hormones and weight! The best way to avoid this is to have a few pieces of fruit or some berries during the day. This is a great way to cut down those pesky sugar cravings with a little natural sugar that’s also giving you some vitamins and anti-oxidants that your skin will thank you for!
Last but certainly not least is stress. This too is a huge factor when it comes to possible premature aging on multiple levels, from hair, to weight, and of course skin. It has been said from numerous medical sources that chronic stress that is not properly managed can possibly damage and shorten the length of DNA. Like collagen this DNA naturally starts to wear down and lessen in length over time but chronic stress is found to accelerate this process. It’s not uncommon for highly stressed people to look 5-10 years older and actually reverse this by changing the stressful situation that they may be dealing with. Stress works a number of ways, including releasing stress hormones, causing inflammation, and causing dehydration, all resulting in increased wrinkles and various other signs of aging. Obviously, not everyone can just quit their stressful job immediately, so, try these tips to reduce stress even for short periods of time. Try to get in 10 minutes of meditation or quiet time at any point during the day. Strive to get in 20-30 minutes of cardio in, even if it’s a 20 minute walk during lunch. But don’t skip lunch and be sure to eat healthy meals during the day. Stress depletes vitamins and minerals so be sure to supplement with a high quality multi-vitamin. And finally, get a good night’s rest. These things will help cut down on some of the chronic stress and help to minimize the effects.