If there is an observation to be made about aging, it is that there is an increase in the elasticity in your waistband of your pants and a decrease in the elasticity of your skin. Unfortunately, while our pants get stretchier it seems our skin just gets saggier and we begin to wish that the skin on our faces was as plump as the skin on our mid-sections. If you are noticing the effects of gravity on your skin, there is hope! There are a few things you can do to make sure the skin on your face stays as resilient as the elastic on your sweatpants.
Your skin is made up of two main proteins; collagen and elastin. Elastin gives your skin its stretchiness and collagen provides your skin with structure. As you get older, these proteins begin to break down, as does your bodies ability to produce them. While you may not be able to control the intrinsic causes of aging skin, such as genetic makeup, there are factors that you can mitigate.
Aging Caused By the Sun
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, even a minimal amount of exposure to the sun without proper protection can cause premature aging. Photoaging, or aging caused by the sun, not only breaks down the collagen existing in your body, but also prevents the production of new collagen. The result? Saggy skin.
The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology says skin needs about 10 to 15 % water content to maintain its supple appearance. Dehydration causes skin to thin, putting it at risk for sagging and wrinkles. Even if you are getting adequate amounts of water, you may still experience dehydration caused by drinking too much alcohol, exposure to inclement weather or disease.
Yellow stains, thinning skin, and lip lines are all things that a smoker is likely to develop. A study in the journal Archives of Dermatology says that smoking inhibits collagen synthesis. In addition, lighting up increases enzymes called (wait for it) matrix metalloproteinases (spelling bee word) that can degrade collagen and other proteins in your skin. The researchers also found that these changes occurred independently of absence or use of sun block.
What Can You Do?
It is never too late to change, and, thankfully, there are some small alterations you can make to maintain skin elasticity. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and avoid sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is at its harshest. Drink plenty of fluids, including lots of vitamin C enriched juices to help build collagen and use moisturizers for hydration.
Certain skin creams can be used to replace antioxidants lost through smoking and sun exposure. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, creams with alpha-lipolic acid, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ100 and selenium are effective at restoring antioxidant compounds Laser resurfacing and radio frequency are other options for improving skin appearance.
How do you bounce back when your skin doesn’t? Let us know how you keep your skin supple and plump!