The youthfulness of the skin when we are younger is due to the protein collagen which is naturally found in the skin and body. When we get older, levels of collagen begin to decrease and this can result in the formation of lines, wrinkles and loose skin. People who have spent large amounts of time in the sun may be more prone to developing hyperpigmentation including age spots, sunspots and patches of seborrhoeic keratosis. People with excessive pigmentation have often developed signs of premature ageing. Although the ageing process cannot be stopped or reversed, we have the full range of non-surgical and surgical treatments to tackle signs of ageing affecting the face here at Centre for Surgery. The intended outcome is to restore a youthful appearance which can make you appear many years younger than you actually are. There are several lifestyle factors which may contribute to the development of premature or accelerated ageing. Appropriate lifestyle modifications can significantly help to slow down the natural ageing process.
How does good nutrition help to prevent premature ageing?
The quality of the diet can have a significant impact on slowing down signs of ageing affecting the face. A diet which is high in sugar may result in the formation of glycosylated end products and these can have a significant impact on premature ageing. Examples of foods which have a high glycaemic index include processed white bread and fried potato chips. Refined sugar is a key component of glycosylated end products and can also be a cause of acne and other skin concerns.
Fried foods have a detrimental impact on skin quality leading to a reduction in skin elasticity. We would recommend cutting down or preferably removing deep-fried foods such as fried chicken from the diet for the maintenance of healthy, supple and firm skin. Highly processed meat products such as bacon and sausages are high in saturated fats and salt and these contribute to dehydration of the skin and reduction in the amount of collagen in the skin. Excessively salty foods can increase dehydration of the skin which increases the risk of developing lines and deeper wrinkles.
Making healthy food choices will help to improve the health of your skin and reduce your risk of developing premature ageing. Highly processed meats which contain high levels of fat can be substituted for lean protein sources such as white fish or chicken which contain high levels of protein and low levels of saturated fat. Lean protein sources help to promote the formation of new collagen and healthier skin. We would also recommend eating more green vegetables and fruit such as berries. Nuts, seeds and avocado are healthy fat sources with high levels of unsaturated fat which are thought to be a good type of fat. Eating more of these types of superfoods will promote tighter and more youthful-looking skin.
How does maintaining good hydration prevent premature ageing?
Dehydrated skin is more prone to developing accelerated signs of ageing including lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Consuming minimal quantities of water can result in dry and irritated skin which may result in dark circles under the eyes, sunken eyes and a coarse skin texture. Increasing fluid intake to at least six glasses of water a day will help to minimise dehydration of the skin. We would advise consuming drinks that do not contain sugar. Low-fat milk is a good source of protein and helps to maintain hydration. Low-caffeine versions of coffee and tea will help to keep the skin supple. Following a disciplined skincare routine, each day will also help to keep moisture in the skin. Compared with dry skin, skin that is dehydrated often appears coarse in texture and may be cracked. Regular water intake will help to eliminate waste products more efficiently from the body and keep bones and joints healthy and supple.
Why should you stop smoking to prevent premature ageing?
Smoking is one of the most potent causes of premature ageing in the face. There are known to be thousands of toxic substances in tobacco smoke and these have a synergistic effect to cause significant reductions in collagen and elastin content of the skin. Smokers’ lines around the mouth are commonly seen in those who smoke and these can develop into deeper wrinkles and make someone appear much older than they actually are.
Crow’s feet at the outer aspect of the eyes and forehead wrinkles develop more commonly in smokers. Evidence has shown that people who stop smoking can still develop healthier skin provided they do so as early as possible in their life. The negative effects of smoking do not stop at the reduction of collagen in the skin on the face. Smoking can also contribute to loose skin in other parts of the body such as the abdomen and in arms. Loose skin affecting the inner arms may result in the appearance of bingo wings.
Stopping smoking completely will help to promote much-improved health and well-being with a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD can be significantly reduced by stopping smoking.
How can alcohol cause premature ageing?
Alcohol possesses diuretic effects which result in the elimination of water from the body. Excessive intake of alcohol results in loss of skin moisture and the development of dehydrated skin. Inadequate water intake will amplify the effects of excessive alcohol intake leading to the development of lines and wrinkles. Certain vitamins and minerals may be deficient in those who drink large quantities of alcohol including vitamin A which is beneficial for maintaining collagen levels in the skin. Reduced levels of vitamin A all linked with a loss of skin elasticity and loose skin. Inflammatory changes in the skin may also occur in those who are long-term alcohol drinkers leading to facial redness. Over time, facial redness may develop into rosacea and this can accelerate premature ageing changes in the face. It is recommended to reduce alcohol intake to 14 units a week or less and maintain healthy skin.
Can air pollution cause signs of ageing affecting the face?
Air pollution is a potent contributor to the development of premature ageing affecting the skin on the face. Cities with high levels of car usage result in an increase in toxic exhaust outputs and this can lead to a reduction in the collagen content of the skin. The skin is then more likely to develop lines and wrinkles earlier. Excessive air pollution can also trigger several skin conditions including eczema and rosacea. Certain types of pigmentation such as age spots may also be more common in areas of high air pollution. Many of the leading skincare companies have either developed or are in the process of launching specialist skin care products which are designed to protect the skin from the effects of air pollution.
Mineral make-up is often recommended by skincare experts and is a recognised intervention which people can implement to give the skin increased protection against the harmful effects of toxic fumes and prevent the onset of premature ageing.
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