What makes your skin age faster? It’s not what you think.
Story highlights – A chronically unhealthy exposure (environment and lifestyle) can add years of premature aging to your skin. Proper skin care helps give back what your exposome takes away.
Why Skin Ages and What You Can Do About It
It happens to us all: we see our faces in the mirror and realise that we’ve aged. Our formerly fine lines have begun to etch deeper grooves, our skin tone has become uneven and our once-taut jaw lines have become slack. When did that happen? Apart from the genes we are born with, the answer may lie in our exposure.
What is an exposome?
Your exposome is your environment and lifestyle and it greatly influences how your skin looks over time. Up to 50% of visible signs of skin aging come from your exposome, not just your genes. Factors that make up your exposome include your behaviour, climate, UV exposure, pollution, sleep quality, diet, stress etc. These factors can be healthy or unhealthy.
For many people, a chronically unhealthy exposome leads to premature signs of skin aging such as wrinkles, loss of elasticity and uneven skin tone. On average, smoking can make skin look 2 years older while excess sun and poor sleep quality can make skin look 6.5 and 2.5 years older, respectively.
Good genes only go so far.
If you were born with ‘good genes’, congratulations! But remember, just because you inherited a predisposition toward fewer wrinkles doesn’t mean you’re safe from an unhealthy exposome. We know this in part, from studying twins with different exposomes. Those who had more exposure to cigarette smoke, sun and/or chronic stress, showed more wrinkles, deep creases, uneven skin tone and age spots, than the twins who had less exposure. These premature signs of skin aging still added beyond 10 years to their perceived age (how old they looked).
How to look younger at any age.
While research on the underlying interactions between our genes and our exposome is still ongoing, there are steps you can take to reawaken and preserve the nature of younger-looking skin. Here are our suggestions . . .
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