What Causes the Skin to Age Prematurely? Service Page

As we get older, every part of the body undergoes changes. One of these is the aging process of the skin, whereby the structure alters over time and cell regeneration slows.

What is Skin Aging?

As we get older, every part of the body undergoes changes. One of these is the aging process of the skin, whereby the structure alters over time and cell regeneration slows. This results in skin appearing older, displaying features such as lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation irregularities.

Skin Aging: the causes 

There’s not a lot we can do about the passing of the years. However, knowing what the causes are and what can speed up the signs of aging means we can take active steps to slow it down. 

The following are some of the major reasons that skin aging can occur faster than it should: 

  • Sun exposure: By far one of the biggest culprits, UV rays are one of the greatest causes of premature skin aging. Both direct sunlight and sunbeds/tanning booths cause changes to the DNA of the skin cells, causing wrinkles and other unwanted aging symptoms.
  • Smoking: The many toxins contained in cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products place oxidative stress upon the skin cells.
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol intake can, over time, cause the skin to become dry and sag.
  • Environmental pollutants: Excessive exposure to high pollutants can cause premature aging symptoms.
  • Stress: This causes the release of various hormones, such as cortisol, into the bloodstream. This, in addition to the inflammatory response it’s also responsible for, can cause the skin to age faster than normal.
  • Diet: The skin requires balanced nutritional support to ensure good cell regeneration. Diets that fail to provide this will play an element in skin aging. Those that are high in refined carbohydrates and/or sugar are believed to be especially detrimental to the skin.
  • Poor sleep habits: The hours of slumber are when the body’s cells can regenerate. While this isn’t a confirmed element of premature skin aging, studies are beginning to see a link between reduced sleep and skin changes. The research is ongoing.
  • Caffeine: This is another element that’s undergoing much study as to the effects it has on the skin. The jury is currently out as to whether caffeine has a drying effect on the skin and is responsible for premature aging. 
  • Genetics: Some rare genetic conditions cause the skin to age faster than normal. One example is Werner Syndrome, which leads to wrinkles and greying hair in those aged 13 to 30.

What is Regarded as Premature Skin Aging?

There are no hard and fast rules as to when the first signs of aging usually appear. However, it’s generally accepted that skin aging begins to become noticeable in your early 30s. These changes are gradual, happening over an extended period. 

Premature skin aging can refer to symptoms becoming apparent before this or when they accelerate faster than one would expect. For example, someone who spends regular time in the sun, smokes, and eats a diet high in sugar and processed carbs might see their skin age far quicker than someone who undertakes steps to reduce the triggers for premature skin aging. 

Skin Aging: the symptoms

Skin aging shows itself in many ways. These include:

  • Fine lines: This is one of the very first signs of aging that we notice. Fine lines tend to first appear at the corners of the eyes, on the forehead, and around the lips.
  • Wrinkles: Fine lines evolve over the years, ending up as wrinkles. Because the structure of the skin changes as we age, with less collagen acting as structural support and less elasticity that allows it to stretch and relax back into shape. Wrinkles tend to appear in the areas that move a lot when we change expressions. These include between the eyebrows (frown lines), the forehead, and around the mouth area from smiling.
  • Sagging: Skin around the jowls, neck, and chin region is particularly prone to sagging.
  • Age/sunspots: These are flat brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body. The face and hands are some of the most common places they’re found. They are also known as liver spots.
  • Altered pigmentation: Skin can change color (pigmentation) on any region of the body. If this occurs, it’s important to get this checked by a dermatologist to rule out any health concerns. 
  • Inflammation: Areas of the skin can become inflamed or red. Although this isn’t necessarily a sign of aging, it can be in certain cases.
  • Itchiness/dry skin: Once again, not a definitive sign of aging skin but many people do suffer and find it worsens as they get older. It’s often due to dehydration and can be combated with increasing the intake of water and regular moisturizing.
  • Hair changes: While hair isn’t exactly the skin, it’s a good indicator as to how well the body’s cells are regenerating. Hair that is greying, thinning, or falling out is often accepted as a sign of the body aging. 

What Can be Done to Counteract Premature Skin Aging?

While we can’t stop getting older, there are plenty of things that can be done to help prevent skin aging earlier than it should or accelerate too fast. It’s also important to remember that while most of us concentrate on our face when it comes to good skincare, other parts of the body must also be cared for. 

One area that many of us are guilty of overlooking is our hands. They are subjected to as much daily wear as our face, if not more, and should be prioritized as such.

The following are some of the most important steps that will help counteract premature skin aging:

  • Use sun protection: Every day, especially on your face. It should be a high SPF (preferably 50 but no lower than 30) and used without fail. For those who have fragile skin on their hands—easily signified by pale, translucent skin with veins apparent—then you should consider using sun protection here as well.
  • Drink plenty of water: This is by far the most effective method of hydrating the skin. Doing it from the inside out is vital—you should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day and more if in a hot climate or you undertake excessive physical exertion.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize: Your face, hands, and whole body will benefit from a high-quality moisturizer that locks in hydration for long periods.
  • Make lifestyle changes: Give up smoking, include healthy nutrition in your diet, reduce alcohol and caffeine intake, and try to reduce unhealthy levels of stress.
  • Seek expert advice if you notice any skin changes: This includes moles that change in shape and/or color, the appearance of new moles or age spots, any areas of skin that change color, areas of skin becoming inflamed or red, hair that begins to fall out or changes dramatically in its condition.
  • Consider minimally invasive cosmetic procedures: There are many procedures available that help combat the signs of aging. These include dermal fillers, Botox (or equivalent), chemical facial peels, laser skin treatments, skin rejuvenation, microdermabrasion, CoolSculpting, and more.

Are Cosmetic Skin Aging Treatments Safe?

There are many cosmetic skin aging treatments that can help you roll back the years and embrace youth once more. However, if you’re thinking of taking advantage of any of these, there are 3 golden rules to ensure that you only undergo those that are proven to be safe: 

  1. Only utilize the services of a highly qualified dermatologist: Sadly, and as in many professions, there are excellent providers of skin aging treatments and there are those who aren’t so good. While procedures, such as dermal fillers, can be carried out by those with minimal training, you will only ever get the best results and the safest service from those who have undertaken extensive training and have many years experience.
  2. Follow the advice of your dermatologist: There’s a reason that certain procedures can only be carried out on an individual. Every one of us is unique, therefore a highly trained professional will assess your particular skin needs and advise a safe treatment (or course of treatments) that will give the best results and ensure the highest standards of safety.
  3. Accept that no treatment will return your skin to that of a 20-year-old: We all age—it’s a process that we can’t prevent. However, what we can do is to look after our skin from an early age, use age-specific care products, and undergo professionally advised cosmetic anti-aging treatments to look as great as possible for our age.

Following these 3 golden rules will ensure that you care for your skin in the best way possible, whatever your age, and that any treatments you do undergo will have the desired effect. Growing older is not something we have a choice about but having the best skin possible for your age is. Taking strategic steps to address this will ensure that no matter how old you are, you’ll always be able to turn heads, no matter whether you’re in your 20s or your 70s.