Can your lifestyle effect the ageing process of the face?

9 July 2024

Skins ageing is an area of importance, not only because it is the most obvious sign of the ageing process, but also because it represents a visual indication for one’s overall health. Ageing of the skin, though, is not solely dependent on ‘age’, for example, your skin age can differ considerably to your actual age and this is because there are several other factors, which contribute to skin ageing.

These factors fall into either intrinsic or extrinsic categories

Extrinsic ageing refers to the premature aging of the skin caused by external results of lifestyle choice and external environmental factors.

Intrinsic ageing on the other hand is an inevitable, genetically determined, naturally occurring process that occurs naturally and is affected by the degenerative effects of free radicals, hormonal shifts and the body’s inability to perfectly repair skin damage.

Here is a detailed explanation of extrinsic ageing:

Key Factors Contributing to Extrinsic Ageing

  1. Sun Exposure (Photo ageing):

    • Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation: Prolonged and unprotected exposure to UV rays from the sun leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging.

    • Signs: Age spots, sunspots, leathery texture, and uneven skin tones with pigmentation.

  2. Pollution:

    • Airborne Pollutants: Exposure to pollutants like particulate matter, ozone, and smoke can penetrate the skin, causing oxidative stress and inflammation.

    • Signs: Dull rough, dry complexion, uneven skin tone, increased sensitivity, enlarged pores and accelerated wrinkle formation.

  3. Smoking:

    • Toxins in Cigarette Smoke: Chemicals in smoke reduce blood flow to the skin, deplete oxygen and essential nutrients, and break down collagen and elastin.

    • Signs: Deep wrinkles, especially around the mouth and eyes, a sallow grey complexion, darkened tones under eyes and loss of skin firmness with viable broken capillaries.

  4. Diet and Nutrition:

    • Poor Diet: Diets high in sugar and processed foods can lead to glycation, damaging collagen and elastin fibres.

    • Signs: Loss of skin elasticity, increased wrinkles, and a dull grey appearance with skin conditions such as acne, enlarged pores and skin sensitivities.

  5. Alcohol Consumption:

    • Dehydration: Alcohol dehydrates the skin and interferes with its natural repair processes.

    • Signs: Redness, puffiness, broken capillaries, and a lack of moisture leading to dryness.

  6. Stress:

    • Hormonal Changes: Chronic stress increases cortisol levels, which can break down collagen and lead to inflammation.

    • Signs: Fine lines, dull skin, and exacerbation of existing skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

  7. Lack of Sleep:

    • Reduced Skin Repair: Inadequate sleep impairs the skin’s ability to repair and regenerate.

    • Signs: Dark circles, puffiness, and a tired-looking pale complexion.

Effects of Extrinsic Ageing on the Skin

  1. Wrinkles and Fine Lines:

    • Accelerated formation due to the breakdown of structural proteins like collagen and elastin.

    • Commonly seen around the eyes, mouth, and forehead.

  2. Hyperpigmentation:

    • Dark spots, sunspots, and melasma resulting from sun exposure and hormonal changes influenced by external factors.

  3. Loss of Elasticity and Sagging:

    • Skin becomes less firm and begins to sag due to the degradation of collagen and elastin.

  4. Rough Texture and Enlarged Pores:

    • Accumulation of dead skin cells and reduced cell turnover leads to rough, uneven skin and enlarged pores.

  5. Dullness and Dryness:

    • Environmental pollutants and lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol lead to dehydrated, dull skin.

  6. Broken Capillaries and Redness:

    • Caused by sun damage, alcohol consumption, and exposure to harsh weather conditions.

Prevention and Management of Extrinsic Ageing

  1. Sun Protection:

    • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily.

    • Wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

    • Seek shade during peak sun hours.

  2. Antioxidant Skincare:

    • Use active products containing antioxidants (vitamins C and E, green tea, niacinamide) to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.

  3. Proper Cleansing: AM + PM

    • Cleanse the skin thoroughly to remove pollutants, makeup, and dirt using a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type.

  4. Moisturizing:

    • Keep the skin hydrated with moisturizers that contain active ingredients with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides.

  5. Healthy Lifestyle:

    • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

    • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.

    • Manage stress through relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, and exercise.

    • Ensure adequate sleep for skin regeneration.

  6. Professional Treatments:

    • Consider treatments like chemical peels, laser therapy, hydra-dermabrasion and Microneedling to reduce the signs of extrinsic aging.

    • Lift and tone with non-surgical options like Emface

    • Use injectables (e.g., Botox, fillers) to temporarily reduce the appearance of wrinkles and restore volume.

  7. Regular skin visits:

    • Regular check-ups with a specialist can help monitor skin health and address any concerns early on.

By understanding and lessening the known factors that contribute to extrinsic aging, individuals can maintain healthier, more youthful-looking skin for longer.