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Dermatology Blog

Wrinkles – Aging vs. Poor Lifestyle Choices

Wrinkles are one of the several changes your body and skin go through as they age. However, they’re not entirely a cause of aging. Changes in lifestyle and eating habits are also some of the biggest contributors to wrinkles at an early age.

By definition, wrinkles or rhytids are creases and lines in the skin that usually develop due to aging. This is because as you age, your skin becomes dryer, thinner, and also slower with the repairing process. In simple words, aging is when the pull of gravity can easily draw your skin downwards causing wrinkles and sagging among other problems.

While women usually witness such changes after menopause, men certainly also go through the process of aging, contributing to wrinkles. Apart from biological and natural factors, they are also a cause of certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive facial movement, and sun exposure, etc. As we proceed, we’ll see the impact of both aging and lifestyle choices on the development of wrinkles alike.

Aging

Your skin goes through many changes as age progresses and more often than not, it does contribute to wrinkles. Here is how:

  • Your dermis or the skin’s middle layer becomes thinner.
  • Your skin loses collagen, which is an essential element to provide elasticity to your skin.
  • Your skin’s ability to maintain moisture declines, causing it to be dryer.
  • Your rete ridges (tissue extensions that merge the epidermal and dermal skin layers) become flat, leaving your skin exposed to wrinkles and wounds.
  • Your blood vessels become constricted, preventing the flow of oxygen and blood to your skin cells, interfering with the repairing process.
  • Your skin also becomes loose due to the pull of gravity, causing issues such as sagging, wrinkles, and lines.

Lifestyle

While some factors that cause wrinkles are inevitable, others are not. These factors have to do with how well you look after your skin, the elements you expose it to, and what you consume.

Smoking

People who smoke are more likely to experience the development of wrinkles than those who don’t. You may also notice them appearing much older than others of the same age who don’t smoke. This is because smoking involves intoxicating your body with harmful chemicals such as tobacco. It’s one of the biggest contributors to problems of texture and elasticity of your skin because it produces excess metalloproteinase. Moreover, nicotine has long been known to narrow your skin’s blood vessels, making it hard for blood and oxygen to reach your skin.

Lack of Sleep

Contrary to popular belief, you do need a good amount of sleep even as your age progresses. Being old has nothing to do with a lack of sleep because experts are still very much in favor of seven to eight hours of sleep every night for ideal health. If your body does not get enough sleep, it can hinder your ability to function well during the day. Among several other problems, it also contributes to weight gain and of course, wrinkles. In case you suspect having a sleep disorder, better consult an expert in time.

Lack of Greens in Your Diet

Even though aging is natural, many people are able to delay its effects by simply incorporating healthy elements into their diet. One way to be able to do that is by reducing your calorie intake followed by lots of fruits and vegetables. Apart from fruits and vegetables, experts also recommend including whole grains and plenty of fiber in your diet.

Sun Exposure

After diet and aging, sun exposure is one of the leading causes of premature wrinkles on your skin. Generally speaking, people with darker skin have better natural protection from radiation as compared to lighter skin tones.

Sun exposure can damage the collagen fibers of your skin to the extent that your elastin fibers start accumulating to an abnormal level. Due to the accumulation, large quantities of metalloproteinases are produced, causing malfunction and breaking down collagen. As a result, your skin repeats the rebuilding process and causes the development of wrinkles.

Exposure to Air Pollution

Places with a high amount of air pollution can cause premature wrinkles. This is because air pollution also contributes to the production of excess metalloproteinases, which can cause your skin to overwork itself and get wrinkly.

Stress

Physical decline is often a result of mental decline and this is where stress comes in. Keeping your mind young helps keep your body young which is why it’s important to identify the stressors in your surroundings and circumvent them by practicing meditation and different relaxation techniques.

Having Too Much Alcohol

Even though moderate drinking is considered safe, the meaning of “moderate” changes with age. Having more than a glass of alcohol is often too much once you’re old and excessive consumption can result in cognitive and physical decline. Alcohol may also interfere with certain medications, which is why you may need to consult a doctor to see what amount is safe for consumption.

Sudden and Excessive Dieting

Quick fixes in life can seem tempting, especially when they’re about losing weight in a short amount of time. However, they’re hardly ever a good idea. Crash dieting may give you the desired results for a while but it will leave your body impaired with low levels of energy in the long run. It can also mess with your concentration and make you irritable and depressed.

Moreover, it contributes to wrinkles because as your body ages and skin loses elasticity, your skin is unable to adapt to changes brought about by dieting. Therefore, weight management is an important aspect of life no matter how young or old one gets. As a precaution, avoid losing more than two pounds a week.

In conclusion, apart from natural factors at play, aging is also a result of poor dietary habits and other environmental triggers. Moreover, unhealthy habits such as smoking can also cause premature wrinkles.

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