7 Signs Of Aging And How To Slow It Down

Image: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes

Whether we like it or not, we are going to age. It’s part of the natural process.

Many of us usually notice the signs of aging starting at the age of 25. The most common signs include sun spots, fine lines, crow’s feet, dullness, puffy eyes, dryness, and drooping.

1. Age Spots

Age spots refer to the small, flat brown spots on the surface of the skin. Also called as liver spots, sun spots, and senile lentigo, age spots may also appear gray or black in some people.

Skin experts don’t always know why age spots develop but they suspect that it has something to do with the excess production of melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color.

People usually develop age spots as a result of sun exposure or any other form of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure such as the use of tanning beds. The face, shoulders, upper back, forearms, and back of the hands are the common areas where age spots develop. These are the areas commonly exposed to the sun.

How to slow it down:

Over-the-counter bleaching agents containing 2% hydroquinone can help fade age spots that aren’t too big or too dark. While you cannot expect immediate results from using these products, they can work for you if you use them regularly.

Sunscreen products can prevent new age spots from developing and keep existing ones from getting darker. When buying sunscreen, choose the broad-spectrum type. These are sunscreen products that protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. And don’t forget to choose one with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

2. Fine Lines

After the age of 20, our body’s production of collagen reduces 1 percent less each year. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and it’s what gives our skin its strength and elasticity. A reduction in the production of collagen results in thinner and more fragile skin, causing fine lines and wrinkle formation.

How to slow it down:

A healthy lifestyle is one way of slowing down the appearance of fine lines. This means eating healthy food which will provide the body with the essential nutrients it needs for cell regeneration and maintaining vital body processes. This also means protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun (i.e. using broad-spectrum sunscreen when heading outdoors), quitting smoking, staying well-hydrated (dehydrated skin will only make fine lines more noticeable), and getting enough sleep.

3. Crow’s Feet

Crow’s feet are fine lines that form around the eyes. While unprotected sun exposure is the main culprit of these lines, unhealthy lifestyle choices may also contribute to their development.

There are two types of crow’s feet: dynamic lines and static facial lines. Dynamic lines are those produced by the actions of the underlying muscles. They are usually activated when you are smiling, frowning, or squinting. Static facial lines, on the other hand, are those that are present the whole time even when you’re asleep. These lines are often the result of long-term sun damage and a long history of squinting and frowning.

How to slow it down:

Wearing sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 can help in slowing down the development of crow’s feet. The sun weakens the skin and can reduce its elasticity.

Aside from wearing sunscreen, donning a good pair of UV-protecting sunglasses can also help in preventing wrinkles around the eyes as a result of squinting.

Facial exercises are other non-invasive ways to get rid of crow’s feet. When you do it right and on regular basis, you can loosen those muscles that are activated when you’re smiling, frowning, or squinting.

4. Dullness

Dullness is a common skin complaint and is one of the first few signs of skin aging. It refers to the lack of radiance or glow which is often associated with healthy, young-looking skin. Skin dullness may also refer to uneven skin texture or tone.

Every 10 years, our skin loses about 7% of its ability to renew itself. Couple that with an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and unhealthy eating, the skin eventually loses its natural glow as a result of oxygen and nutrient deprivation.

How to slow it down:

The best way to slow down or prevent skin dullness is preventing the major culprits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Shifting to a healthier lifestyle which involves healthy eating and sufficient hydration also helps. Effective and regular skincare regimen which involves exfoliation and use of antioxidant-rich products can also be a great way to prevent skin dullness.

5. Puffy Eyes

Aging can cause thinning of the membrane responsible for holding back the fat for both the upper and lower eyelids. As a result, the fat herniates and pushes forward, causing the formation of bags under the eyes.

A diet high in sodium, lack of sleep, dehydration, and stress can also contribute to the development of puffy eyes.

How to slow it down:

Lifestyle is an important factor in the prevention and even in slowing down the formation of bags under the eyes. Cutting back on salt, getting enough sleep, avoiding known allergens, and using cool compress on the eyes can reduce the puffiness and darkness of under-eye circles.

6. Dryness

Our skin tends to get drier as we age as a result of having fewer natural oils, accumulated damage from the sun, decreased cell renewal, and loss of hormones responsible for keeping the skin well-moisturized. It can also be a result of dehydration and smoking.

Dry skin doesn’t look good. It can appear rough, flaky, scaly, or cracked. When left unmanaged, dry skin can lead to skin irritation and even to infection.

How to slow it down:

Like other age-related skin changes, sun damage plays an important role in skin dryness. Hence, one of the best ways to prevent it is to wear good quality broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.

A diet rich in antioxidants and healthy oils can slow down and may prevent the damaging effects of the free radicals on the skin. Free radicals are one of the contributing factors to the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and skin dryness.

The use of a moisturizer also helps especially if it contains vitamin A, glycolic acid, and moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera, glycerin, and mineral oil.

7. Drooping

There are two possible reasons for sagging or drooping skin – loss of collagen and loss of facial fat.

Sun damage contributes to sagging skin as it breaks down the collagen, the protein that keeps the skin smooth and supple.

How to slow it down:

Making healthier choices in life can make a difference in preventing and slowing down skin sagging. If you’re a smoker, it’s worth giving up the habit. Thousands of chemicals in a tobacco smoke can trigger the destruction of elastin and collagen.

Aside from quitting smoking, protecting your skin from the sun can also prevent skin sagging. Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when you’re heading outdoors and staying in the shade between 11 A.M. and 2 P.M., times of the day when the sun is strongest.

Incorporating foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids such as berries and nuts can also fight off facial sagging. They help in regulating the degenerative processes and inflammation in the body.

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