As we age, we notice more wrinkles on our brow and bags or puffiness under our eyes. While your genes, sun exposure and other aspects of age are responsible for a large portion of these changes in your skin, there are some factors of your life that are aging your skin without you even knowing it.
While this may seem scary, it is actually good news! Because only 20 to 30 percent of skin aging is genetically determined, there are a number of things you can change about your lifestyle to improve your skin now and in the future.
Sugar. You know your sweet tooth isn't helping your diet much, but did you know it can also damage the collagen in your skin that keeps it taut and youthful-looking? Studies have shown that sugar molecules in your cells stick to protein fibers, causing the skin to lose its elasticity and become more vulnerable to wrinkling, sagging and damage from UV rays.
This goes for all sugars – those from soft drinks and candy bars and from white rice and bread. When you are craving a sweet treat, opt for a small square of dark chocolate or some fruit, both of which have antioxidants to support healthy skin.
Airplanes. You probably know that your face is subjected to UV rays when you are driving in your car, but the same goes for when you get the window seat on the airplane. Solar rays can penetrate windows, and when you're at high altitudes, they are even more intense and damaging to your skin. Plus, nothing sucks moisture from your skin like that dry, cabin air.
If you fly frequently, make sure you are wearing SPF 15 or higher, and stay hydrated with plenty of water during the flight.
Emotional issues. When you are stressed or depressed, your skin suffers, too. If you are under intense or chronic stress, your body produces more cortisol, which can damage collagen and elastin and lowers the skin's ability to self-repair. The same thing happens if you have depression. Plus, if you are feeling down, you are more likely to frown, grimace and lose sleep, all of which contribute to skin aging.
Exercise is one of the best ways to release tension and improve your mood. However, if it is not helping either condition, you might want to consider counseling or talking to your doctor about other treatment options.