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Well, it’s a sad truth — there is really no way to stop the aging process and prevent wrinkles and fine lines from forming as we age! But, that’s not to say there aren’t things you can do to try to keep premature aging at bay. You can’t stop forces of nature, but you can change your habits.

sunscreen

Do we need to say it? Use sunscreen–daily! Wearing sunscreen consistently is the #1 most important thing you can do. Sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation given off by the sun is the primary contributor to premature skin aging. UVA rays cause wrinkles, age spots, and leathery skin, while UVB rays can cause sunburn and skin cancer. Protect yourself from all of these nasty effects by wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen that shields you from UVA and UVB rays. Use it every day, since UV damage occurs all year long, and stay out of the sun in peak daylight hours, particularly in summer.

Also, it’s important to remember that artificial sun is no good either. That means, no tanning beds or salons since these cause UV damage as well. Use a sunless tanning lotion instead.

no smoking

Don’t smoke. This is another important one — nicotine deprives your skin of oxygen. Tobacco also damages and weakens collagen and elastin (proteins which keep your skin elastic and youthful looking). Because of this, smoking can lead to premature aging, causing wrinkles, sagging skin, and a dull yellowing complexion. Repetitive inhaling can also lead to wrinkles around your mouth.

moisturize

Use a facial moisturizer. When you do, moisture helps to plump up your skin and make wrinkles less visible.

protect your eyes

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun as well. Doing this also keeps you from squinting too much at the sun, which can exacerbate lines around your eyes.

alcohol in moderation

Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and may make you look older. It can contribute to wrinkles if you drink excessively over a long period. Conversely, be sure to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.

eat healthy

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. These foods contain lots of antioxidants, which counteract free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage and lead to skin aging, and are generated from cigarette smoke, pollution, UV radiation (so minimize your exposure to these!).

You may not notice the ill effects of these behaviors right away; you’ll see the full impact decades down the line when it’s too late to take preventative action. Ultimately, we can’t stop the aging process, but we can take better care of our skin and our bodies!

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology

 

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