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6 ways you may be unknowingly ageing your skin

Are your lifestyle and beauty habits playing a part in your personal ageing process? We reveal the potential culprits

Getting older is a privilege, but with it comes some changes in both our inner wellbeing and our outward appearance. In terms of our skin, it's when we start to notice fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and laxity.

This, of course, is totally natural but most of us would prefer to see these changes later rather than sooner. So, what should we be aware of in order to maintain a youthful appearance for longer?

Forgetting to use sunscreen 

We all know the importance of using sunscreen in the summer and before hitting the beach, as it protects our skin from harmful and skin ageing changes. However, it’s easy to forget this vital step in our skincare routine during the winter or when it's overcast.

“Just because it’s a cloudy day, it doesn’t mean you won’t be exposed to the strong UVA rays that cause premature ageing and potential skin cancer,” says EV Expert and Medical Director of Cosmedics, Dr Ross Perry. “Even if your makeup has added SPF, using an additional SPF as part of your skincare routine is important for all skin types, especially those with fairer skin.”

Eating lots of processed food

A poor diet can be a direct cause of early changes to our skin. Fast food in particular, is packed full of nasty, unhealthy ingredients, one of the main culprits being sugar. “Sugar is known to lower collagen and elastin,” shares Dr Perry. “Although we lose this naturally as we age, too much sugar in the food we consume will only speed up this process, leading to wrinkles being more noticeable.”

Eating too much processed food can essentially cause inflammation in the body, which has a direct impact on the skin’s appearance. Functional Doctor Dr Tamsin Lewis says, “As a doctor, I often observe that a poor diet impacts skin health, particularly when lacking essential nutrients. Many chemically processed foods can disrupt gut health and show up in the skin, so the less processed the better.”

Not enough water

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!”, says Dr Perry. “It’s no myth that drinking at least eight glasses of water will keep skin looking, heathy, smooth and plump.” Dehydration shows in the skin which can look dry and flaky with more pronounced wrinkles, while “drinking water also helps to flush your system of toxins while reducing the risk of acne and other skin problems,” says Dr Perry.

Poor sleep

The term ‘beauty sleep’ isn’t just an old wives’ tale: lack of quality sleep usually shows up in your face the next day, and over time can affect the quality of your skin.

“Poor sleep can significantly impact skin health,” confirms Dr Lewis. “Lack of sleep leads to decreased blood flow to the skin, causing it to look dull and lifeless, while chronic sleep deprivation can lead to more visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and decreased skin elasticity, due to reduced collagen production and impaired skin repair processes.”

Skipping exfoliation

As we get older, our skin’s cell turnover rate reduces so we need to make sure we are including regular exfoliation in our skincare routine. “Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells,” says Dr Perry, “however, as we age our skin’s natural ability to shed skin cells slows down.”

He explains that cleansing won’t do quite the same job, and dead skin cells left on the skin can prevent other products from working. “To ensure skin is looking tip top and working well with skincare products, and to give the skin a good base for makeup, exfoliating will prove to have a real benefit on the overall appearance of the skin," Dr Perry confirms.

Conversely, over exfoliation can also cause a decline in our skin’s appearance and health– exfoliating greater than once or twice a week can lead to inflammation, micro tears and dryness.

Rapid weight loss

Losing weight too quickly and yo-yo dieting can have a real impact on how our skin looks as we age. Losing volume in the face can make facial features appear more pronounced and can create a gaunt appearance.

Not only do we lose elastin, once the skin starts to sag following weight loss, the lines appear. Dr Perry shares that, rather than extreme dieting, it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle as once the skin loses fat, only dermal fillers will help to restore lost volume.

Ross Perry, Medical Director

Dr Ross Perry is a leading aesthetic and dermatology doctor who specialises in botulinum toxins (Botox), fillers and...

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