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What Causes Aging?

by Emily Linehan on February 17, 2022

It probably comes as no surprise, but aging is a top skin concern for most. With all kinds of skin treatments, medical intervention, and anti-aging skincare products out there, it's something that everyone craves: more youthful skin!

However, when treating the skin (especially when it comes to anti-aging), understanding exactly what is causing fine lines, sagging, and wrinkles is imperative to slowing down the signs of aging from appearing. 

Aging of the skin is affected by many different factors. You can incorporate this knowledge into your own lifestyle and routine to see even better results down the road. Let's get started!

1. Facial Movement

Look in the mirror and raise your eyebrows. Now, give your biggest smile...how about scowl? When you do each of these expressions, you will see a different pattern of lines appear! Unfortunately, over time, the expression lines that these repeated movements create will become more and more pronounced. 

There are a couple ways to prevent this from happening as rapidly. One, don't move your face at all. How unrealistic is that? 

Instead, one option that many turn to is Botox. Botox limits the amount of movement that the muscles can make, softening these expression lines. (Note: I am a firm believer that nobody needs Botox. It is a personal preference and is not the absolute standard of beauty!) 

The second option is to add a potent peptide serum to your skincare routine, like Firming Peptide Serum which is known to mimic the effects of Botox. 

2. Loss of Fat in the Face

The society that we live in glorifies diets and weight loss, but what most people don't realize is that fat cushions our face, leaving it looking youthful and plump! The older that we get, the more fat we lose in the face, which can lead to the skin looking shallow or even gaunt. 

Similarly, if you live a very active lifestyle, you may find that your face looks aged beyond its years. That is due to fat loss in the face as well. 

One option to replace this lost volume is fillers and other collagen stimulating injectables (like Sculptra)...again, personal preference. However, maintaining a well rounded diet, including healthy fats, is so important for not only healthy skin, but a healthy body. 

3. Sun Exposure

A more well-known cause of aging, sun exposure is extremely damaging to the skin. Though the appearance of a natural tan is beautiful, under the surface, your skin cells are doing everything they can to keep themselves from mutating and being destroyed by solar radiation. 

We often think of sun damage as sun spots or hyperpigmentation. However, the sun also breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin, which leaves the skin sagging and wrinkled. 

Perhaps the worst part about sun damage is that it isn't immediate. Sun exposure that was done at youth won't appear until your early 30's or even beyond that. 

It is imperative that you wear sunscreen every single day, like our best selling Tinted Mineral SPF 40 or Illuminating SPF 58 (I like to mix them!). 

4. Smoking and Pollution

Smoking prematurely ages the skin like no other. This damage compounds over time, so it's not something you notice overnight. Oxygen in the bloodstream is essential for healthy skin and smoking depletes it, leaving your skin looking dull or even grayish. 

Smoking also creates a damaging environment of free radicals, which break down collagen and elastin, which leads to sagging and wrinkles. 

You may also be aware of "smoker lines". These are the lines that appear around the mouth from the repeated action of pursing the lips around a cigarette or vape pen (and amusing enough, from constant use of straws!). 

Fortunately, when a person quits smoking, the skin visibly improves quite quickly! If you are having trouble quitting, reach out to your doctor for a strategy that might work for you. 

5. Collagen Production Slows Down

In our late twenties, fine lines begin to appear on the skin and it also might start showing signs of sagging. This is because our collagen levels decrease. The skin contains something called "fibroblasts". You can think of Fibroblasts as little worker bees in the skin, working to create new collagen. However, in our late twenties, these little worker bees (fibroblasts) slow down and go into semi-retirement. They don't actually die, they just don't work the way that they used to.

Luckily, with skincare products, you can actually coax them back to work! When you hear "stimulates new collagen growth", what the product really does is it encourages fibroblasts to start working again. 

High quality ingredients that stimulate collagen growth are retinols, AHA's, antioxidants, and peptides. 

To get our worker bees back to work, I recommend: 

6. Genetics

Many people believe that they are destined to look like their parents when they age, however when it comes to the skin that's only partially true. Only 10% of how the skin ages is inherited, meaning the other 90% is a variety of other factors! 

7. Nutrition

When it comes to the skin, healthy cells is instrumental to youthful radiance. However, the health of your cells is dictated by how nourishing or harmful your diet is. With that being the case, it's important to take a look at how you're nourishing your cells by what you eat.

The skin loves a diet that is nutrient-dense, diverse, and filled with anti-inflammatory foods. The skin loves and craves: lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. 

8. Facial Bones

Think of facial bone structure like the foundation of your face. The facial muscles connect to it and the skin is "draped" over the top. As we get older, our bone density can decrease which not only changes the structure of the face, but also changes how the skin sits on top of it. 

When this happens, the eyes tend to look more sunken in, and our cheeks and jawline begin to sag. Our temples become more hollow and our upper lip folds over. Even the nose begins to elongate and droop. These are all inevitable signs of aging that we will all experience to one degree or another, however we can slow down bone loss in the jaw area by wearing a night guard (if you are someone who tends to grind or clench your teeth!) 

9. Hydration

We hear it everywhere "drink more water!" For the skin, good hydration really is important. As you're probably aware, every cell in the body is made up of water. The skin itself is composed of 63% water! There are many visible benefits to being well hydrated. Fine lines get plumped up and dark circles are reduced. You'll even find that your skin tone is brightened and you will experience less skin irritation. 

10. Sleep

While we sleep, the skin works hard to repair all of the damage done throughout the day and regenerate brand new skin cells. If you don't get enough sleep, this reparative process can't happen (or can't happen in full), leaving you skin that is lackluster and dull in appearance. Aim to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. 

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