Let’s be clear: there is nothing wrong with aging. It’s a privilege to age! Embrace the wisdom it brings and each and every wrinkle. But still, no need to hurry along the process right? You already know about UVB and cigarette smoke. Here are three other things to avoid to keep skin soft and crease-free:
1. Tanning beds: Hopefully this isn’t too much of a surprise. These beds emit UVA rays that penetrate into the deeper layer of skin (called the dermis) and wreak havoc on your collagen fibers. Through a series of steps, this ultimately leads to the production of special enzymes that try to rebuild collagen, but they don’t do a great job of it. Often times they malfunction, degrade the collagen instead, and you end up with skin that’s built the wrong way. This exposure to UV-A, year after year, takes a toll. Skin built with bum collagen eventually forms wrinkles and turns leathery.
2. Heat: More research needs to be done in this area, but derms have long noticed that prolonged and consistent exposure to heat causes inflammation in the skin—which can lead to redness, and then darkening. The heat seems to cause reactions that ultimately lead to higher levels of free radicals and lower levels of antioxidant power. Plus, any injury from the heat itself can lead to damage in collagen and elastin. That said, it may be wise to stop propping an overheated laptop directly onto your lap or stomach, placing a space heater too close to your legs at your work station, and overusing heating pads on the same spot. And if you bake a lot or have other hobbies that bring your skin in close contact with heat, make sure you wear protective gloves and treat your skin with a cool rinse of water as soon as you’re done.
3. Sugar: Apparently it’s not just excess poundage that can pile up from too many jelly donuts—wrinkles can, too. To be fair, its impact is tiny compared to UV light, but it’s real. Scientists have reported that when blood sugar spikes (as it does when you eat refined carbohydrates), sugars react with skin protein to create special compounds that damage elastin and collagen molecules and lead to premature aging. Eat a well-balanced diet, and you’ll not only be saving your health but your complexion too.
Photo by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay