Though your genes do have a role in how your skin ages, other factors also play a role.

Aging may be inevitable, but some practices age a person more quickly than they should. Accelerated aging affects the internal organs as well as the skin, but the experts at the Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery are here to correct the signs of aging that appear in the skin. Here, we discuss six things you may be doing that are severely aging you, but first:

How Does Skin Age in the First Place?

Though your genes do have a role in how your skin ages, other factors also play a role. For example, people with dark skin aren’t as subject to fine lines and wrinkles as people with light skin, though dark-skinned people tend to have deeper creases and skin sag. But these creases, wrinkles, and sags are the price humans pay for being able to make facial expressions.

The skin found over the rest of the body grows in sheets over the musculature, but the muscles in the face penetrate the lower levels of the skin to allow people to make our amazing range of expressions. When a person is young and laughs or frowns or smiles, the dermis is supple and resumes its shape when the face rests. Over time, it loses more and more of its ability to spring back, thus laugh and frown lines become permanent. This will happen even if you take perfect care of your skin.

The six following behaviors accelerate it:

1. Being a Sun Worshipper

Life on earth would be impossible without the sun, but the sun’s many benefits come with penalties.

The sun’s infrared and ultraviolet rays smash into your DNA and disrupt it, and the energy the body needs to repair the damage and the damage itself causes the aging process to speed up.

The sun’s UV rays promote the creation of free radical molecules, which grab electrons from other molecules. This, in turn, damages the cells these molecules are part of. Most severe, premature aging involves cell damage by free radicals, both in the skin and throughout the body.

2. Smoking

It’s astonishing how bad smoking is for you.

There is no bodily system that smoking doesn’t harm in some way. Not only does smoking encourage free radical production, but it causes the capillaries in the lower levels of the skin to close up. This means the skin doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs.

Dermatologists say that even the act of pursing the lips to draw in cigarette smoke sets up those tiny lines around the lips. Worst of all, a person doesn’t even have to smoke themselves to suffer damage. Being in a smoke-filled room and suffering second-hand smoke is also injurious.

3. Drinking Too Much

Though a glass of alcohol here and there is fine, heavy drinking accelerates the aging process. In contrast to smoking, which constricts the blood vessels in the skin, alcohol causes them to open up. This damages the collagen and elastin that keep skin springy and support the blood vessels themselves. Heavy drinking starts to take a toll as you age, and your skin is damaged by UV light and other stressors. Eventually, the capillaries in your skin collapse and show up as thread or spider veins in your face. Uneven skin tone is another consequence of heavy drinking, as alcohol leaches your skin of nutrients.

4. Too Much Time in the Cold

As some people love to be out in the sun, others love to be out in the cold. They could be folks who love to ski or enjoy other winter sports or just like to get out in the snow. Unfortunately, spending too much time in a cold climate is almost as bad as spending lots of time in the hot sun.

The air during the winter is dry, and this dryness pulls moisture out of the skin and can cause it to wrinkle over time. Going indoors to a room full of dry heat can make the skin crack and bleed. Dry, cold weather can also induce flare-ups of eczema or psoriasis.

5. Eating Too Much Junk Food

As there are types of food that can slow down the aging process, there are foods that can speed it up.

Junk foods such as sugary sodas, processed foods, and other comestibles high in sugar and fats contribute to facial aging. Even too much dairy and “white” foods such as bleached flour can cause rapid aging.

An unhealthy diet sets up inflammation in the body, and inflammation brings the vicious free radicals that the body has to use its energy to defeat.

6. Being Over or Underweight

Everyone seems to understand that being overweight or obese can add stress to the body that accelerates the aging process, but so does being underweight. Not only this, but underweight people lack the pads of fat beneath the skin that plump out wrinkles. When you’re too skinny, these signs of aging can’t be helped by cosmetic treatments such as facelifts or BOTOX.

Think You’re Aging Too Fast? Call Us for a Consultation

If you see signs that tell you you’re aging faster than you should, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Edward D. Buckingham, M.D., at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery. Dr. Buckingham is a board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Call us at 512.401.2500 today.

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