What Makes Our Skin Age? Lifestyle Factors That Cause Ageing
Many of us worry about our looks fading. The fact is, having a positive self-image is important for our overall wellbeing and mental health, whatever our age. But understanding how certain lifestyle factors contribute to ageing means we can make better choices and, ultimately, look after our skin as we get older.
What causes our body to age?
Hormone levels, poor circulation and genetics are just some of the things that determine how well we age. When it comes to our skin, fine lines and loss of elasticity are simply a part of life. This is due to a loss of hyaluronic acid, slower cell turnover, reduced sebum production in the epidermal layer, and a decrease in collagen, a protein that promotes cell regeneration in our skin.
But while we can’t exercise much control over these aspects of our skin health, we have agency over the external factors outlined below.
Ultraviolet light from the sun is said to be the worst culprit for skin ageing. Long-term sun exposure can cause visible signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sun spots, tags, and even skin cancer.
Wearing an SPF cream every day (even in winter) is one of the best – and simplest – ways to protect your skin from UV damage. Look for a ‘broad-spectrum’ formula, which offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And try to choose a product with at least SPF 30.
Aside from topical sun protection, you may also wish to try our specialist skincare supplement, Colladeen Visage. This high-performance formula is crammed with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanidins. These highly active plant compounds give berries their deep blue, purple, and red hues. Anthocyanidins are known to support the production of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body that gives skin its structure.
Colladeen Visage combines super-strength anthocyanidins with three other important plant extracts for skin health: lutein, zeaxanthin, and green tea.
Lutein is a well-known carotenoid naturally found in leafy green vegetables, where it protects plants from excessive sun damage. Lutein operates in much the same way in the body. Zeaxanthin is another important carotenoid with antioxidant properties that may be helpful in protecting the skin from sun damage.
Green tea, meanwhile, is a source of polyphenols, naturally occurring compounds that may help protect cells from oxidative damage.
In a 24-week study, participants taking Colladeen Visage reported a natural internal SPF of 15, making it a great addition to any sun-safe skincare routine.
Smoking is widely known to age the skin prematurely. According to Cancer Research UK, a cigarette releases 5,000 different chemicals when it burns.1 Most of these chemicals are harmful and carcinogenic, which increases a smoker’s risk of developing some forms of skin cancer. Smokers may also notice their skin losing its glow earlier on in life, with skin tone becoming uneven. And heavy smokers might spot signs of premature facial ageing around the mouth known as ‘smoker’s lines’.
Hydrating the layers of our skin – or dermis – is vital to keep the skin looking younger for longer. Applying natural skin care products with hydrating properties, such as rosehip oil, will help nourish and replenish your complexion. Aside from topical products, it’s also important to hydrate the skin from within. The NHS recommends consuming 1.2 litres of water – around 6-8, 8oz glasses – every day to avoid dehydration.2
As with hydration, the foods we choose to eat can directly impact skin health. Overindulging in sugary treats, alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate skin and accelerate the signs of ageing, so try to limit your intake of these. Everything is fine in moderation. Just try to make some healthier swaps where you can. Think nuts over crisps, dried fruit over refined sweet snacks, and whole foods over processed food.
Bad sleep hygiene
It cannot be emphasised enough just how important quality sleep is for maintaining radiance and vitality as we age. As we get older, sleeping patterns may change. However, it’s a common misconception that we need less sleep. We need the same number of hours throughout adulthood; 7-9 hours remains the golden standard.
There’s much truth in the idea of beauty sleep. Poor sleep quality can affect skin health and accelerate the ageing process. As we sleep, the body undergoes a rejuvenation and repair programme, replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones. Consistently poor sleep interrupts this restorative phase and can cause early signs of ageing.
Low-quality sleep is also often accompanied by higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to play a role in ageing. To reduce stress and support sleep hygiene, you may wish to consider meditation, yoga, journaling, or even having a long bath with some essential oils before bed.
Still finding it hard to clock off? Why not read our article on steps to help you drift off naturally?
Poor skin care
A good skincare routine is the cornerstone of a healthy, glowing complexion. From sloughing away dead skin cells with an exfoliator to hydrating with nourishing creams, maintaining a healthy glow may require some effort but the results are worth it.
Make sure to cleanse the skin before bed – and always take make-up off! Many people choose to use antioxidant-rich vitamin C serums and retinol (topical vitamin A) to support skin health and prevent ageing.
Dry brushing is another popular anti-ageing skincare technique. Not only does it support circulation and remove dead skin cells, but it also helps to drain the lymphatic system, the network of vessels that remove waste materials from the body.
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Want to find out more?
Read more of our resources on ageing and related content here.
Cancerresearchukorg. (2018). Cancer Research UK. Available online: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/whats-in-a-cigarette-0
NHS UK. (2011). Six to eight glasses of water ‘still best’. Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/six-to-eight-glasses-of-water-still-best
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Keri Filtness has worked in the Nutrition Industry for 19 years. She is regularly called upon for her professional comments on health and nutrition related news. Her opinions have been featured by BBC3, Prima, Vitality, The Mirror, Woman’s Own and Cycling Weekly, amongst others. She has also worked one to one with journalists, analysing their diets and health concerns and recommending changes and additions, where appropriate.