It’s ironic how things are– younger people often want to look older, while older people want to look younger. Though most of us are fully aware that aging is a natural process, we often try to intervene and manipulate the pace to suit our preferences. This is especially true when it comes to anti-aging efforts. Hence the number of 20-somethings who concern themselves with wrinkles and wrinkle prevention.
A second irony is that people put a substantial amount of time, energy and money into maintaining a youthful appearance. They place deep emotional investments in the results. Yet, they live lifestyles that promote premature aging. Here are five examples.
UV rays are one of the leading causes of premature aging. According to the EPA, 90 percent of the visible changes associated with aging comes from the sun. Known as photo-aging, this is one issue that African-Americans do not take seriously enough. The sun’s effects are not as drastic on our skin as on that of Caucasians and realizing this results in a false sense of security and in reckless habits. Make no mistake, sun exposure does have negative effects on us if we don’t take the proper precautions, especially long-term.
Taking the proper precautions means applying and reapplying sun protection year round. It means wearing protective clothing and accessories during periods of prolonged sun exposure. Furthermore, when the sun is the brightest, you should do your best to stay indoors or in the shade.
Many people are unaware that the way you sleep can affect the way you look. An experienced dermatologist can often determine patients sleeping positions without being told. They do so by reading the sleep lines, which are wrinkles that appear on the area of the face that spends the most time against the bed or pillow.
Due to differing sleeping habits, men tend to have sleep lines mostly on their foreheads and women on the sides of their faces. Both can avoid these telling signs by sleeping on their backs.
How much a person sleeps also impacts the aging process. Rest is essential and irreplaceable. When people are busy and tired, they often come up with quick fixes for energy, such as power drinks or stimulants. But, it is important to remember that the body does the bulk of its repairing and regenerating when we rest. If denied that opportunity, the effects can become visible. Therefore, individuals should prioritize sleep and get 6 to 8 hours per day.
Have you ever heard of the fountain of youth? Now, ask yourself what is in a fountain? Water, of course, indicating that it is a fluid that plays a major role in our appearance. This makes sense considering that water is a major component in the skin’s makeup.
When skin is not properly hydrated is can become dry, cracked and tight. It can lose its vibrance and elasticity. As is the case with sleep, the cells need water to remain healthy. Therefore, make sure you drink plenty and avoid regular, heavy consumption of alcohol, a major dehydrator.
Another of the side effects of smoking (as if there aren’t enough) is that it can lead to premature aging. To begin with the chemicals in tobacco products adversely affect collagen and elastin, essential components of healthy skin. Aggravating matters further, nicotine constricts the blood vessels. When blood does not effectively flow to the skin, the skin does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to feed the cells.
If you are at risk of premature aging due to smoking, it is obvious what needs to be done.
Some people will indeed argue that they have and continue to do one or more of the things listed above but still they get regular compliments about their youthful appearance. You may even agree these people look good for their age. Do not be mislead.
Most of the causes of premature aging take a toll over the long term. One day at the beach or a night without sleep are not going to add ten years to your appearance. But, realize that premature aging is an effect that tends to be delayed. The result of one’s actions often aren’t apparent for years or even decades. Premature aging is a process that may start in one’s 20’s or 30’s but the signs may not appear until she’s 40 or 50.