When it comes to anti-aging care, there’s never a better time to start than now. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are because everything you do, eat and feel, will all contribute to how your body ages. If you’re in your 20’s or 30s, take advantage now! You’re at the perfect point in your life to give your body the best chance of resisting premature aging.
Even if you’re no longer in your 20’s or 30’s, it’s never too late to start living a healthier lifestyle and fighting the signs of aging. This guide will show you the changes you need to make in your life today to start preventing or reversing the signs of aging.
What is Premature Aging?
There are two types of aging that occur in our lives. The technical terms are Intrinsic and Extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging is the type that our genes control, or the natural aging process. This type of aging can’t be controlled by us and is inevitable. Extrinsic aging is aging that relates directly to how we take care of ourselves as well as environmental factors. This extrinsic aging is also known as premature aging.
Causes of Premature Aging
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (maybe you feel more protected that way?), you should know by now that too much sun exposure can cause accelerated aging as well as other problems such as skin cancer. In fact, sun exposure is the most common cause of premature aging. It’s important to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This includes your face, neck, ears, hands, and any other part of your skin that is exposed to the sun.
Wearing sunscreen daily also means wearing it even when it’s cloudy outside. The sun’s harmful UV rays can still wreak havoc on your skin when it’s not so nice out. Avoid any sort of tanning including tanning beds.
If you really desire that bronzed goddess look (and who doesn’t?), then opt for a sunless tanner instead.
Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Smoking and drinking are terrible for your body both inside and out. Not only can excessive drinking cause liver damage and smoking cause lung cancer or emphysema, but they can rapidly age your skin.
Avoid primary and secondhand smoking at all costs as it can give you a sallow, grayish-tone to your skin and dry you out like no one’s business.
Not only will smoking cause your skin to become wrinklier, but the act of puffing on a cigarette (same action as sucking on a straw) can actually give you wrinkles around the mouth over time.
Not getting enough sleep can contribute to premature aging as well. It’s important to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Your body needs a sufficient amount of sleep each night to properly perform the next day and repair the body.
More Causes of Premature Aging
- Unhealthy foods which cause inflammation in the body.
- Colder environments cause the skin to become thinner and more wrinkly overtime.
- Mental health plays a huge role in how your body ages. If you’re depressed and unhappy or stressed out all the time, it will take a toll on your body. The reverse is true for preventing aging. If you live a happy life and try to stay positive and stress as little as possible, your body may just reward you for it by staying healthier longer.
- Harsh chemicals on or in the body. This goes for eating unhealthy and using skincare products that contain a lot of bad ingredients for your skin. Ingredients like alcohol and fragrances can dry out the skin causing premature aging. Using ingredients that are too emollient for the skin can cause breakouts, leading to acne scars which age the skin.
- Pollution. Are you living in a toxic environment? Chemicals in the air can play a huge factor in how your body ages- both internally and externally. If you’re constantly inhaling fumes or live in an area radiating pollution, it may be time to consider a move.
- Lack of exercise. Keep that body moving! Not only is exercise good for your body, but it may just help your skin keep that youthful glow. Exercising boosts circulation in the body which is what your skin needs to remain supple. It also improves your immune system which helps fight off disease.
- Brushing your teeth. Not only does brushing your teeth affect the health of your body, but it can also affect your skin. If you don’t take care of your teeth, the bacteria can spread onto your skin causing acne. Not to mention that your teeth will begin to decay over time…not a good look if you’re trying to achieve a youthful glow (not a good look in general!)
- Your weight. Being underweight depletes your skin of the natural fats it carries, causing the skin to sink in. This gives it a wrinkled and dried appearance. Being overweight can also affect the aging process as it will cause the skin to sag from lack of muscle tone in the face.
- Free Radicals. Free radicals wreak havoc on your skin at a cellular level. It’s important to not only consume foods high in antioxidants but choose skincare products high in antioxidants to fight this destruction.
Your body is very good at telling you when something is wrong. However, if you’ve been living an unhealthy lifestyle for quite some time, it can be hard to hear its cries for help. It’s usually only when serious illness or disease strike that you hear it or when you revert back to unhealthiness after living healthy for some time.
Ever eat completely clean for a few weeks then have a high fat, greasy cheeseburger? Yeah, that kind of stomach pain is something you may not have noticed when you were eating whatever whenever.
Are you an ex-smoker that decided to take a drag off a friend’s cigarette? That difficulty breathing definitely didn’t phase you quite as much before as it did the night you picked it back up.
Our bodies adapt to what we do to it, whether it’s a bad habit or a healthy decision.
Whatever habits you have right now, reading this article proves that you want to know more about how to care for your body, and it’s never too late to start!
So while you may or may not be at the point where you can truly hear your body talking to you, there are signs and symptoms you can look out for that will help you determine if you’re causing your body to age before its time.
Signs and Symptoms of Premature Aging
- Dry skin. Dry skin can occur for many different reasons, so it’s always best to first analyze what you’re doing to care for your body internally. Are you drinking enough water? Are you smoking or taking medications that are known to dry out the skin? A solid skin care routine is going to do wonders for your skin, but it’s important that you fix your internal health as well. Otherwise, it’s almost like throwing a band-aid on the problem. If you want to get the most out of your skin care products, focus on both internal and external health.
- Irritability. Are you finding yourself constantly on edge? Always seeming to be annoyed by other people or at small problems in your day? Take a look at your diet and lifestyle! Are you getting enough sleep? Have there been specific stressors in your life that you could learn to cope with or find a way to remove from your life? Do you still smoke? Pinpoint what problems are affecting your mood and find out healthy ways to cope with them or ways to solve them so you can avoid irritability.
- Weak muscles. Okay, so you don’t have to be Arnold to avoid premature aging, but it’s important to exercise on a regular basis. Living a sedentary life (this includes only walking- yes even if you’re on your feet all day!) can lead to the deterioration of muscles and other internal problems over time. Strength training is your best bet to improve your overall health. This means hitting each body part once a week. Allow yourself time to heal and let your body rebuild itself. Don’t overexert yourself either as this can cause problems as well. Make sure to push yourself, but always listen to what your body is telling you. Begin a weekly strength training routine, and you will quickly find that basic everyday tasks start to feel easy to do. You’ll also see your mood improve, you’ll have better sleep quality, and a number of other health advantages!
- Pain. This includes pain inside your body as well as pain due to skin infection. If you don’t do much to care for your body, there can be many different underlying causes of the pain and you’ll have to consult your doctor to determine the cause. Having skin that causes you pain is usually due to improper skin care. It’s normal to have an occasional pimple if you decide to binge eat chips and drink pop while watching your favorite Netflix series, but if you’re properly caring for your skin, that small pimple usually won’t even phase you. If you are following a skin care regimen either prescribed by your Dermatologist or Esthetician, you should see a huge reduction in the number of breakouts you have, which is usually the cause of pain coming from the skin. Skin cancer and other skin conditions can also play a big part in pain radiating from the skin. In these cases, it is best to consult with your doctor to figure out a treatment that is going to help you.
Other ways to see the signs of premature aging on your skin is the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, bags under the eyes, dull-looking skin, and clogged pores.
Who Is Most At Risk?
With so many different causes of premature aging, we’re all at risk. There are some, however, who are at a much greater risk than others. Those include:
- Heavy smokers
- Heavy drinkers
- Those suffering from depression and anxiety
- Those who are overweight or underweight
- Heavy tanners
- Those who take a lot of medication
- Those with an extremely unhealthy diet
If you think you need treatment for your current condition, there are many different options available to you.
- Routine check-ups. It’s important to take yourself to the doctor to make sure everything is going well with your body. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important, but getting screened for things like cancer or other problems are only going to benefit you in making sure your body stays as healthy as possible.
- Visit a Nutritionist or Dietician. If you need guidance on what you should be eating, seek out the help of a professional. Everybody is unique and they can help you set a plan that will benefit your body and lifestyle.
- Seek out the help of a personal trainer. New to the gym? Having a professional coach you in your workouts will be of extreme benefit to you. Not only will they show you new workout routines and help you reach your fitness goals, but they will also help you avoid injuries by teaching you proper form. That is a huge deal because hurting yourself in the gym can cost you time, money, and not to mention permanent injuries.
- Start seeing an Esthetician or Dermatologist. Both professionals will help you develop a skin care plan that fits your anti-aging needs. If you have severe acne or a medical skin condition, always consult with a Dermatologist as you may need a prescription-grade regimen or other medical treatments to help your skin clear up. If you’re looking to develop a daily skin care plan and seek anti-aging treatments, your Esthetician will be able to analyze what your skin needs and help you reach your goals.
- Visit a Chiropractor. This one I’ve recently added to this list, as I have personally started seeing a Chiropractor. If you can make the appointment, it’s very beneficial to live a chiropractic lifestyle. Spinal health plays a huge role in aging and beginning routine adjustments earlier in your life gives you the preventative care you need to avoid spinal degeneration (no one wants to be a hunchback when they are older!).
Any type of preventative care you invest in when it comes to preventing aging is going to save you a lot of time, money, and emotional stress down the line. The choices you make today are going to determine your future. Are you investing in yourself? I understand that life gets in the way and that you’re busy! But starting new daily habits now will soon become your lifestyle that you don’t even think twice about doing. It’s okay to start small and do what you can (some habits are definitely hard to break), but these small steps will soon lead you down the path to preventing premature aging.
- Quit smoking and drinking. These are tough habits to break, but if you can’t quit cold turkey, cut back on the amount as much as possible until you’re able to break the habit completely. If you prefer to keep drinking, limit it to social events or even switch to a glass of red wine, which is healthy for you!
- Cut out sugars and unrefined carbs. Opt for fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Make sure you’re taking in enough protein every day as well as sticking to whole grains. Choose healthy fats such as avocados and coconut oil.
- Drink water! Make sure you’re staying hydrated during the day. Staying hydrated is going to keep things running smoothly in the body and allow toxins to be flushed from your system. Your skin’s elastin will also remain intact if you make it a mission to drink enough water each day!
- Exercise. Start a fitness plan you can stick to every week (again, think of strength training). You will start to feel and look healthier.
- Stick to a skincare routine. One that is customized for what your skin needs and one that you can follow every day. Good quality skin care products that prevent aging will usually have ingredients like hyaluronic acid or vitamin C in them, but if you’re truly strapped for time in the mornings and don’t have the time to follow a bunch of steps, make sure to at least cleanse, tone, moisturize, and wear SPF before you leave the house. Follow the same steps at night, but try to fit in a serum containing an anti-aging ingredient before moisturizing.
- Destress as much as possible. I know that it’s easier said than done. Especially if you are going through tough times. But find ways to cope with your stress, anxiety, or depression as much as possible. Talk to a friend or a professional, go to church, meditate, start doing yoga, etc. Even if you can’t solve your problems, try your best to channel your emotions so that you can live a positive, happy life.
Best Ingredients for Anti-Aging
Before starting an anti-aging regimen, make sure that your skin care professional has given you the okay to use certain ingredients. These ingredients are great for anti-aging, but it’s important that you first find out if your skin can handle them as well as understand the steps to properly using them. Improper use can lead to adverse reactions and can do more damage to your skin which will only accelerate the aging process!
It’s important to note that everyone’s main focus should be fighting free radical formation by choosing products that will increase the skin’s antioxidant levels (products that are rich in antioxidants), and by choosing a diet rich in antioxidants. Preventing oxidation is the key to preventing aging!
- Idebenone. An antioxidant that can reduce roughness and dryness and increase hydration in the skin. Helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and photodamaged skin.
- Coffeeberry. A natural antioxidant that fights aging as well as lightens the skin.
- Vitamin A (retinol or retinoic acid). Enhances skin regeneration when used with vitamin E. Keeps skin looking clear and healthy. Helps fight skin infections. Fights dryness. Retinol fights fine lines and wrinkles, combats oily skin, and rosacea. Retinol has antioxidant properties and stimulates the production of new blood vessels in the skin. Improves skin tone. Retinoic acid helps treat acne and stimulates the growth of fibroblast cells. It also helps prevent aging, but the signs may take longer to notice than other vitamin A derivatives. Retinoic acid must be used cautiously as it comes with adverse reactions such as peeling, dryness, and redness. You may be susceptible to skin irritation with use. Do not use retinoic acid while pregnant, and always consult your doctor before use.
- Glycolic acid. An AHA that deeply exfoliates the skin to reduce acne, severely dry skin, and wrinkles. Improves skin hydration by increasing the skin’s natural ability to bind water by allowing the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid content to improve when mixed with glycolic acid. Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, normalizes the skin and is good for any skin type to get healthier, younger-looking skin.
- Lactic acid. An AHA that increases the water-retention capacity in the skin. It is known for its exfoliating properties and can improve the texture of the skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the skin. It regulates skin elasticity and aids the skin in binding water to itself. It’s a natural moisturizer that gives the skin a youthful suppleness because of the amount of water it can hold. When used as a skincare product, you must reapply it every day to see the results as it can break down in the skin within a day or two. You’ll see a huge improvement in the appearance of your skin when using an anti-aging product containing hyaluronic acid!
- Botanicals rich in antioxidants. Any ingredient rich in antioxidants is going to fight the aging process by fighting free radicals and toxins.
Foods that Fight Aging
- Fruits and vegetables should be a staple in everyone’s diet. Not only are the vitamins and minerals in them going to help your body fight disease and illness, but they’re going to help improve skin elasticity and keep your body clean and detoxified.
- It’s important to get enough protein every day to maintain muscle tone. In fact, protein is an essential building block of bones, muscles, skin, and more.
- Healthy fats and carbs will give you the energy your body needs throughout the day and will help your body properly shuttle nutrients to where they need to be and when they need to be there.
- Foods that are rich in antioxidants are going to be your best friend when preventing the signs of aging. Remember: antioxidants are vital to preventing aging!
- Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Not only will you feel better by cutting out these toxic foods, but your skin will start to glow!
- Eating beans and lentils can provide your body with the minerals it needs to function properly.
- Avoid dairy as much as possible. While everything is okay in moderation, dairy can cause acne which can lead to acne scars causing your skin to age.
Forming Better Daily Habits
Start to prevent aging today by getting into healthier daily habits. It can be hard to give up bad habits abruptly, just like it can be a challenge to stick to new habits. But do what you can every day to start living a healthier lifestyle.
You may find that even after a few days of sticking to a new routine, you quickly adjust to that new habit. If you have a long-term goal, set short-term goals that are easier to attain and make sure to celebrate those small victories. This will help you stay on track and reach your long-term goals.
Create a log to track what your diet is like each day. Make a checklist in the morning to make sure you marked off completing your skin care routine if that’s what it takes. Whatever you need to do to reach those goals, just do it! Each day is a new opportunity to improve your health and keep the signs of aging at bay. You’ll not only feel and look better, but your body will reward you for caring for it.
What steps are you taking to prevent aging? Let me know below!
Share this guide with your friends to help prevent premature aging!