The aging process isn’t entirely based on genetics. In fact, there are a number of external factors that affect the skin to cause signs and symptoms of premature aging. While most premature aging is caused by over-exposure to the sun’s UV rays, there are additional factors. For example, a commonly used facial expression can, over time, lead to expression lines that resemble that expression.
Here are a few of the key factors that cause extrinsic aging:
- The Sun - The sun is your skin’s biggest enemy. Every minute under its harmful rays causes premature aging called photo-aging. UV rays penetrate the skin and damage skin cells, decreasing their productivity. Eventually, the skin is no longer able to recover from the damage, and wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin results. The best way to stop photo-aging is to stay out of the sun altogether and use a powerful sunscreen when exposed to its rays.
- Expressions - Repetitive facial movements and expressions have been shown to cause fine lines and wrinkles. Every time you use a facial muscle, it forms a groove under the skin’s surface. Eventually that groove gets deep enough to be visible, and an expression line forms.
- Gravity - This one is completely unavoidable. Gravity is constantly pulling your body down, and in doing so, it tugs on the skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging areas. As the skin’s elasticity decreases, gravity’s effects become increasingly evident.
- Sleeping Positions - If you rest your head on the pillow the exact same way every night you sleep, it’s possible that your habit will lead to wrinkles. Also called sleep lines, these wrinkles start on the surface of the skin and eventually become permanent. To avoid this extrinsic age factor, try sleeping on your back instead of your side or belly.
- Smoking - This is perhaps the most controllable extrinsic age factor. Smoking causes chemical changes in the human body that accelerate the aging process. We’ve all seen it - the leathery, wrinkled skin of a long time smoker. It’s no coincidence. Those who smoke have a tendency to develop an unhealthy, yellow complexion and have been shown to have significantly more wrinkled skin.
- Pollution/Environment - Smog, smoke, and exhaust can all lead to extrinsic aging. Pollution attacks your skin with free radicals that can break down otherwise healthy skin cells. Other free radical producers include florescent lights and the light emitted from cell phones and computer screens. This is another reason to use antioxidant and sun protection daily, even when not in direct sunlight.
Don’t worry - there is hope. By using an anti-aging treatment regimen, you can combat extrinsic age factors. For example, Cosmedica 20% Hydra-C Serum and 79% Vitamin C Power Serum remove free radicals that form due to sun exposure, limiting the damage they can do to the skin.