External Factors and Environmental Stress
The third category of aging is directly related to external factors. Yes, environmental stress is more damaging than you can imagine, and we are not only referring to UV radiation which is the most discussed topic. Weather extremes and pollution, food intake and dehydration, all bring free radical damage to the skin. Unfortunately, these free radicals exist everywhere in our environment.
To understand their effect better, compare your skin with a fruit you leave on the counter for a long time. It will turn brown, and that is because of oxidation or deterioration caused by free radicals. In the same way, your skin will suffer from premature aging. The good news is we can help protect our skin from these external stressors.
Let’s take the biggest culprit for wrinkles, sun exposure, as an example. Both UVA and UVB rays can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. But we can avoid this by staying out of the sun or using sunscreen, protective clothes, hats, or sunglasses.
But there is more! Insomnia is also a big issue. Lack of sleep alters the pH of your skin, which loses the ability to stay hydrated. Not to mention that during your sleep, toxins are flushed from the body. So, to have a healthy lifestyle and beautiful skin, make sure you rest for 6-8 every night. There’s a reason why it’s called beauty sleep!
Stress, food, and water intake are also aspects you have to consider when deciding to take good care of your skin. Stress increases cortisol levels, reducing your skin’s ability to stay hydrated. Stress also elevates blood sugar, damaging the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin. The best way to overcome this is by finding ways to relax, whether it’s exercising, walks in the park, hikes, or hanging out with your favorite people.
Hydration is also important as lack of water decreases cellular function and the skin’s immunity. While using high-quality products and moisturizing creams is a great way to keep your skin healthy, drinking plenty of water should also be on your must-do list.
And never underestimate the power of food! Having a healthy diet rich in natural products and lacking highly processed items is crucial. Sugar, for example, is known for causing weight gain, especially in your belly, but it also ages your skin. It weakens collagen and elastin and will lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Sure, you can indulge in a sweet treat once in a while, but don’t make this a habit!
As you can see, talking about external factors and free radicals is scary. You can, however, keep your skin safe, but only if you are ready to make an effort and change some of these harmful behaviors.