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December 18, 2020
Aging is a natural process of life. Everyone undergoes this process at a point in their lives.
Aging is the effect of the cumulative molecular and cellular damage over a period of time. It results in a decline in physical and mental capacity and an increased risk of illnesses. Healthy aging and life expectancy are determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies found that 25 percent of longevity is influenced by genetic factors.
The rest is determined by environmental factors which means that the proactive steps you follow now to take care of yourself can positively impact you for decades to come!
Let’s take a look at some tips on how to slow the aging process.
The damage done to the ozone layer has tremendously increased the threat that UV rays of the sun pose to your skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, experiencing a sunburn five times or more over your lifespan doubles your risk of skin cancer.
Frequent exposure damages your collagen which causes your skin to become thick, discolored, wrinkled, and sagging in appearance. This is also referred to as photoaging. However, some studies found evidence that people under 55 years old, who wear sunscreen have 24 percent less possibility of photoaging or sun damage. It also lowers your risk of skin cancer by 50 percent.
To help prevent discoloration and dark spots, apply sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 half an hour before sun exposure to give enough time for the skin to absorb it. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and right after swimming or sweating.
At a minimum, you should apply sunscreen on all parts of your body that are exposed to the sun, especially your face, neck, feet, ear, and behind your knees. For those with thinning hair, sunscreen can also be applied to the scalp.
Skin experts recommend using sunscreen every day because 80 percent of UV radiation from the sun is still present even on a gloomy day, so skin damage can still happen even if it appears to be a cloudy day.
For better sun protection, wearing protective clothing along with your sunscreen is recommended. A wide brim hat also provides additional protection to your face and neck. If possible, it is also good to use a sun umbrella.
If you usually spend a lot of time outdoors, consider buying clothes made of fabrics with Ultraviolet Factor (UPF). UPF signifies how much UVA and UVB radiation a fabric permits to come in contact with your skin. A UPF 50 fabric protects you from 98 percent of UV rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends UPF50+ fabrics as excellent materials in protecting you against the sun.
Wear sunglasses to protect the thin and sensitive skin around your eye area. It could also prevent you from squinting which contributes to the appearance of crow’s feet.
The American Optometric Association recommends lenses that protect from 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays and screen 75 to 90 percent of light. Wrap-around frames can also prevent UV exposure from the sides of the sunglasses.
Tanning is bad news for the skin whether it be on the beach or in a tanning bed. The collective damage caused by the UVA and UVB radiation can lead to premature skin aging characterized by wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging skin. A number of studies found that indoor tanning accelerates all forms of skin cancer.
According to the American Academy Dermatology Association, intermittent use of tanning beds increases your chance of having melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer by 300 percent.
Those who have been exposed to tanning beds are advised by a dermatologist to have a full skin check-up.
Alcoholic drinks are diuretic, meaning it causes your kidneys to produce more urine. You lose water and salt when the urine is excreted from your body making you dehydrated. Dehydration results in dry, itchy, and flaky skin.
Although alcohol could make you drowsy and induces you to sleep, it actually disrupts your sleeping rhythm and makes you restless. As a result, you wake up with dark circles around your eyes in the morning.
Alcohol also causes the skin to dilate which leads to broken blood vessels on your cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. To some degree, this could be rosacea that is triggered by alcohol.
Drink moderately to avoid the adverse effects of alcohol. Women and men below 65 years old should have one drink a day while men below 65 years old should only consume up to two drinks a day.
Smoking affects every aspect of your health. A chemical found in cigarettes known as nicotine constricts your blood vessels causes skin to be deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Because of this, you can develop an uneven skin tone more quickly than those who do not smoke.
Aside from nicotine, there are other various chemicals in cigarettes that damage your collagen and elastin fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity. Second hand smoke could also damage your collagen and elastin fibers causing you to develop deeper wrinkles and sagging skin. Smokers also develop deeper wrinkles around the lips and eyes.
Quitting smoking can improve not only your appearance but your general well being. As blood flow improves, your skin receives more oxygen and nutrients. Your skin becomes healthier, the stains on your nails and fingers also lightens and your teeth will become cleaner and whiter.
While you sleep your body does a number of different important tasks. Your body repairs muscles, organs, and tissues. Insufficient sleep does not give your body enough time to repair itself so the aging process is accelerated.
Poor sleeping habits age the skin faster. Eyebags and wrinkles become more evident. Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of age-related diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To achieve the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep a night, practice a healthy bedtime routine. Do not eat or drink caffeinated drinks and reduce screen time when it's almost time to sleep.
Chronic stress leads to various health problems because it impedes the body’s ability to repair itself. High amounts of stress hormones known as cortisol can damage the skin collagen and elastin fibers causing wrinkles and sagging of the skin.
Chronic stress also contributes to insulin resistance causing the blood sugar level to spike up. High levels of blood sugar accelerates glycation. Glycation is a process where sugar molecules connect to protein molecules such as collagen. It damages the collagen resulting in various skin concerns such as loss of skin elasticity. Glycation also accelerates skin aging by forming free radicals and oxidative stress.
Engage in deep breathing and meditation for at least 15 minutes every day to lower cortisol levels in your blood and improve your cognitive functioning and general well-being.
According to research, exercise can slow down the aging process through its immense impact on physical and mental health.
Exercise increases blood flow, sending more oxygen to properly nourish your cells and effectively eliminate waste. It also causes you to sweat, releasing toxins from the body that could clog your pores. Exercise strengthens and rebuilds your muscles to help prevent bone loss and significantly improve your posture.
Regular physical activity reduces depression and anxiety. It also enhances cognitive performance by helping you become more focused.
Health experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week and 10 minutes of strength and balance training two times a week.
Nutrition experts recommend that the best diet for avoiding age-related health concerns include whole natural food to prevent inflammation, diabetes, and heart diseases. Avoid consuming processed food with sugars, fats, and oils. Limit your consumption of red meat.
Whole foods that boost your body’s supply of nutrients include:
Scientific studies show that proper nutrition minimizes photoaging and skin wrinkling as well as enhances the proper functioning of the body and brain.
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