It’s no secret that as we get older our body’s internal structures start to change. From skin, hair, workout recovery, more frequent naps… aging is inevitable in every form. Some of which can be impossible to hide the signs of. Wrinkles, fine lines, skin spots. You name it, we find it.
But what about premature aging? That can be a surprise altogether. Wrinkles arriving earlier than expected, dryer skin in places that were never dry, lack of elasticity in your chest, hands looking more wrinkly that you remember them… you get it.
As you get older, your body’s internal processes — from skin cell turnover to workout recovery — slow down and take longer to complete or recharge.
This leaves room for signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fatigue, to occur.
These changes may be surprising if they happen earlier than expected, hence the term “premature” aging.
It’s impossible to avoid these changes completely, but there are ways to reduce the signs of aging in your body — especially if they’re happening before you’re ready to embrace them.
Here’s what to watch for, why it happens, and more.
What are the signs of premature aging?
The aging process looks different for everyone, but there are certain signs of aging that are considered “premature” if you notice them before you turn 35.
Also known as age or liver spots, are spots that are caused by years of sun exposure. These hyper-pigmented flat spots can be found on your face, forearms, and back of the hands. Most people tend to find that they begin to appear around the age 40. If you have fairer skin, even earlier.
When your skin starts to contain less proteins that help it’s structure, like collagen, your skin begins to lose its shape and look thinner. Because the skin becomes thinner, your hands may start to appear more veiny and prone to wrinkling.
Having gaunt hands has no metric but on average, people start to notice it more in their late 30’s and early 40’s.
Wrinkles or Sagging
Collagen is the protein that gives it its shape, and as we get older the production of collagen starts to slow down. This means less bounce back and less plump-ness and shape.
Additionally. With less collagen in the skin, visible wrinkles and sagging start to show in areas that are frequently used like the forehead, around the mouth, areas with over sun-exposure or any muscle that is overused.
The age this starts to become obvious varies per person. And sometimes age isn’t even the culprit, it could simply be dehydration or dirt.
As the stem cells die off, new hair growth becomes scarce and hair loss happens. Men experience hair loss with half of men seeing hair loss after age 50, and 40% of women over the age of 70 experience hair loss.
This can happen slowly or quickly depending on other factors like hormone changes, genetics, diet, and environment.
Inflammation or Hyperpigmentation On Your Chest
Discoloration/hyperpigmentation or inflammation on the chest is also a sign of premature aging. Similar to sun spots, many people start to notice patchy discoloration on their chest. This is caused by damage to your skin cells from the sun.
This kind of condition isn’t always connected to premature aging or aging in general. It can be a result of additional skin conditions that can damage the melanin cells in your skin.
This can happen to anyone at any age.
Dry / Itchy Skin
Also known as xerosis cutis becomes more frequent the older we get. Because our skin is thinning, holding moisture becomes more of an issue. Which leads us susceptible to dehydration which leads to drying which makes your skin more prone to flaking.
It’s no secret that genetics will always play a factor in any sign of aging especially in childhood and early puberty. Some genetics may involve conditions like progeria, Wener syndrome, and Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome. Amongst these conditions, they may cause wrinkled skin, thin limbs, grey hair, and balding. But not to worry, most of these specific conditions are rare!
Some studies show that high sugar and refined carbohydrate diets can cause adverse effects to the skin over time and contribute to aging.
Cigarettes carry toxins that expose your skin to oxidative stress which causes dryness, wrinkles, and premature aging altogether.
Sun exposure and tanning
Penetrating UV rays damage your skin and the DNA in your cells which, in turn, cause wrinkles.
One of the best ways for your body to regenerate cells is sleep. Poor sleep has been connected to increased signs of aging. It affects our skin and the function of our skin altogether.
Alcohol and caffeine intake
With liquids like alcohol and caffeine that have a tendency to dehydrate you, studies have shown that excessive dehydration can add to sagging and the loss of shape in your skin.
However, caffeine has had some conflicting research and the connection between coffee and wrinkles is not 100% proven.
Because your skin comes into direct contact with the environment and the air around you, your skin is constantly being subjected to pollutants and toxins in your everyday environment. This can cause already pigmented spots and wrinkles to worsen or continue.
Managing stress is always difficult. But knowing that a stressful lifestyle can trigger additional aging might help motivate you to keep it in check. When under stress, your body may respond with inflammation, stress hormones, and bad sleep habits that aid in aging your body faster.
Ways to Prevent Premature Aging
Many factors affect how visible your signs of aging will be. Some factors can be controlled or prevented and others cannot. Here are a few ways to consciously work against aging skin:
One of the biggest preventers and number one on everyone’s list should be sunscreen. A least SPF 30 for every day use, even indoors. Avoiding all exposure, and protecting from all exposure of UV rays is one of the best ways to prevent signs of premature aging.
Not Just For Your Face
Sunscreen isn’t just for your face. Make sure to protect all skin barriers with sunscreen SPF 30. Although the face gets the most exposure to the sun, make sure to protect your entire body too.
Anti-Aging Products – be consistent and use one product at a time
Although the majority of skin care products on the market claim to have quick or even, overnight results, the truth is… any and all cosmetic products will take consistency and time to see any visible results. Be patient and give each product ample time to do it’s ‘thang’.
Remove All Your Make-Up Before Bed!
Washing your face: how frequent, when necessary, etc., will be huge influence on the way your skin appears. In general, you should wash your face twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser. Do not go to bed with the day’s residue and most definitely be make-up free before bed.
Have A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Sleep is not only good for aging skin but also for your body in total. Give your organs, skin included, time to refresh and renew itself daily.
Maintain A Balanced Diet
Not just for health and wellness but a balanced diet ensures your body gets all the nutrition it needs to produce more healthy skin cells.
Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and replenishing that daily is important. Dehydration can aid in the appearance of wrinkles. At minimum, 8 cups a day of water to keep your body hydrated.
Find Exercise You Like!
Exercise already has so many additional benefits. Bet you didn’t know that the boost in circulation keeps your skin healthier and youthful.
In many studies, research has shown that participants that quit smoking noticed that their skin looked younger. It gives your skin time to repair itself if it’s not being exposed to toxins in cigarette smoke.
Manage Your Stress.
Whatever you find that helps you decompress, do it. Make it a habit to find a stress relief in your daily life. Whether that be meditation, relaxation, yoga, and/or meditation. Finding healthy coping mechanisms will not only benefit you in your daily life, it’ll show on your skin.
It’s Never Too Late To Try!
Even if you’re already experiencing signs of premature aging, you always can benefit from any lifestyle change. Allow time to repair your skin, whether it’s protecting it from the sun, quitting smoking, adjusting your diet, etc. reversing some of the damage is possible!
If you still see signs that your skin aging has become premature, make an appointment with your dermatologist to talk about your options for less-invasive procedure, treatments, tightening, smoothing wrinkles, and fine lines, to improve your complexion and regain your youth back!
Call Dr. Balshi at Balshi Dermatology About Skin Aging
For over ten years, Balshi Dermatology has provided the most exceptional state-of-the-art skincare and cosmetic services to patients of all ages in South Florida. Dr. Thomas Balshi is board certified in both internal medicine and dermatology. His specialties include the aesthetic enhancement of pigmented skin conditions, non-invasive skin rejuvenation, and cosmetic dermatology.
To schedule a preliminary consultation about your skin questions and concerns, call board-certified dermatologist in Delray Beach, contact Balshi Dermatology at (561) 272-6000 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up your appointment.