While aging and the sun adversely affect the skin, you can mitigate some of the damage with a little TLC. A Renown skincare expert shares his top tips for improving the health of your skin.
By Stephen Bajo, MD, medical director, Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care
Just like any organ, your skin changes as you age: It thins, losing fullness and smoothness and becoming more transparent. Veins and bones beneath the skin are more visible. Thinning blood vessel walls cause skin to bruise more easily. We naturally lose elastin as we age, which causes skin to sag. Fine lines, wrinkles and age spots develop over time.
Gravity, sleep position, obesity, stress and normal daily facial movement can all accelerate the natural aging of your skin. Pollution, heredity, lifestyle and diet also play a role. The sun, however, is the biggest culprit. Sun exposure is responsible for more damage to the skin than aging or any other factors.
Protect Against the Sun
It’s never too late to start protecting yourself against the harmful effects of the sun. Your skin even has the ability to repair a little of the damage that’s already been done. Here’s some steps to take:
- Stay out of the sun if you can — especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Avoid tanning beds. Like the sun, indoor tanning accelerates the aging process.
- If you must be in the sun stay covered. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and long sleeves.
- Wear a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen year-round. Choose one with SPF 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Fortify Your Skin
Once you tame the sun, here are a few more things you can do strengthen and repair your skin:
Put out that cigarette. If you smoke, quit. Smoking cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood and constricts blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow. This causes the skin to lose elasticity and gives way to the appearance of red lines and skin discoloration. The toxins in tobacco leave your skin dull, dry and leathery and contribute to premature wrinkles and lines.
Bottoms up. Your skin cells, like other cells in the body, function best when properly hydrated. Without enough H20 your skin becomes dry and flaky, loses elasticity and is more prone to wrinkle. Water helps flush out potentially harmful toxins and is essential to skin metabolism and regeneration.
Take beauty sleep seriously. While you’re getting some shut-eye, your skin is busy repairing itself. It generates new collagen when you’re sleeping, which helps prevent sagging and makes skin plumper and fuller and less likely to wrinkle. Because blood flow increases while you sleep, getting sufficient rest means you’ll wake up to a healthy, glowing complexion.
Keep it clean. Wash your face twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser — not soap — to remove impurities like oil, dirt and dead skin cells. Moisturizer prevents dryness by trapping water next to the skin. Apply your moisturizer within a couple of minutes of bathing or face washing while skin is still porous for better absorption.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. The better your diet, the better your skin will look. So shoot for balanced nutrition with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and lowfat dairy. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin A, antioxidants and essential fatty acids to give skin an extra boost.