What Causes Skin Aging and How to Prevent It

1. What are the causes of skin aging?

a. Does gravity cause aging?

b. Does oxygen cause aging?

c. Does smoking cause premature aging?

d. Do free radicals cause aging?

2. Three signs of premature aging and how to fight them

a. Dark Spots

b. Fine Lines

c. Dull skin

3. The best anti-aging products to help prevent premature aging and soften wrinkles

a. Add the best anti-aging serum to your routine

b. Dab on a powerful anti-aging eye cream

c. Double down with an anti-aging cream

d. Try a targeted anti-aging treatment

e. Neck cream might be missing from your routine



Here are the cold, hard facts: Skin aging is unavoidable, but understanding how and why it happens can help us manage and even prevent premature aging. Most of us start noticing the first signs of aging in our 20s, though depending on genetics and lifestyle, they can differ from person to person. “Skin starts to age much earlier than we think,” says Dr. Sonya Abdulla, a Toronto based dermatologist. “We start to lose collagen, an essential protein that provides elasticity and firmness.”



It’s important to note that our skin’s perceived age can differ considerably from our actual age. Things like sun exposure, pollution and stress are all factors that contribute to aging. These factors fall into two camps: intrinsic (internal physiological factors) and extrinsic (effects of external factors). Both contribute to aging signs that we can actually see on the skin, such as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness and skin discoloration.



We know we can’t stop aging, but we can strengthen and protect our skin and enhance our skincare regimen to slow down its effects. Read on to learn about the causes of premature aging and the best methods for self-preservation.



1. What are the causes of skin aging?


a. Does gravity cause aging?


We don’t necessarily get saggy skin because of gravity; a more significant contributor is the depletion of fat pads under the skin. As well as the loss of bony skeleton support that degenerates over time, just like the rest of the body. As the skin becomes less elastic, gravity compounds these changes and contributes to drooping eyebrows and eyelids as well as jowl formation.



b. Does oxygen cause aging?


This is a tricky one. Every cell in our body needs oxygen to survive. In fact, only a few minutes without oxygen will result in a cell’s death. But there is one type of oxygen species that is poisonous to cells: reactive oxygen species (ROS). The accumulation of ROS prompts an oxidative reaction, which is bad news. ROS are an important element in free radical production, which is a major factor in premature skin aging.



c. Does smoking cause premature aging?


We know that smoking tobacco is bad for your health—but is it equally toxic for your skin? Nicotine in cigarettes causes a narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin and deprives it of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in uneven skin tone, wrinkles, saggy skin, lines around the lips, age spots and so much more.



d. Do free radicals cause aging?


In short, yes. “Free radicals cause the silent damage that contributes to aging,” says Abdulla. UV-induced free radicals cause oxidative stress and damage to the proteins and cells that form the skin. They also disrupt cellular processes that help keep the skin looking young and healthy.



2. Three signs of premature aging and how to fight them


The following are the most common signs of aging that show up first—here’s how you can help stop them in their tracks.



a. Dark spots:


The mistakes of our past (like spending our teen years tanning by the pool, sans sunscreen) can catch up with us in the form of sun damage called lentigines—also known as sun spots, hyperpigmentation and age spots. These are flat areas of skin discoloration in varying shades of brown. They crop up on the parts of the body that get the most sun exposure, such as the face, shoulders and back. The best course of treatment is to limit sun exposure and ensure adequate protection with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30+. Additionally corrective skincare ingredients include retinol, glycolic acid, vitamin C, green tea and licorice extract are helpful to lighten some forms of pigmentation and give an overall brightening effect. In-office treatments like Intense Pulse Light (IPL), laser resurfacing and chemical peels can also help reverse the damage.



b. Fine lines:


If you’re starting to notice that your makeup is settling into under-eye wrinkles and fine lines, it might be time for a new moisturizer or maybe even an anti-aging cream to help soften the appearance of fine lines, suggests Abdulla. Look for products that have powerful ingredients that can penetrate the skin and help it compensate for the loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid. “Anti-aging peptides help stimulate collagen production, and hyaluronic acid replenishes the skin’s natural hydration supply and reduces inflammation,” she says.



c. Dull skin:


The outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, consists of dead cells that are always flaking or washing off. As we age, cell turnover slows down. Adding regular exfoliation into your routine can help scrub away built-up dead skin cells and eliminate dry, flaky and dull-looking skin. Look for products with a chemical exfoliant such as glycolic acid, like this night peeling cream to brighten your complexion.



3. The best anti-aging products to help prevent premature aging and soften wrinkles


Here’s your guide to the serums, creams and targeted treatments for smoothing, firming and lifting that actually work.



a. Add the best anti-aging serum to your routine


Serums are formulated with smaller molecules that can penetrate the skin on a deeper cellular level. Reinforce your skin’s barrier and reduce fine lines and wrinkles with Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C with Hyaluronic Acid. The formula is packed with 15% pure vitamin C and vitamin E and a few other active ingredients, such as fragmented hyaluronic acid and Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water. “Look for formulations with a concentration of 10% or more of L-ascorbic acid for maximum effect,” says Abdulla.



b. Dab on a powerful anti-aging eye cream


Dermatologists recommend using an eye cream to care for the particularly delicate and sensitive skin around the eyes, but that doesn’t mean these creams don’t pack a punch. Vichy’s firming eye care helps improve droopy eyelids, smooth under-eye wrinkles and brighten dark circles. Caffeine increases circulation (reducing dark circles and puffiness), while the powerful antioxidant Rhamnose reduces the look of wrinkles over time.



c. Double down with an anti-aging cream


Using an anti-aging moisturizer, such as a day cream and a night cream, can make a real difference in how your skin looks and feels. Jump-start collagen and elastin production and improve skin’s texture with Vichy LiftActiv Collagen Specialist. The formula contains two kinds of peptides to boost collagen (improving firmness) as well as vitamin C (brightening skin).



d. Try a targeted anti-aging treatment


Get a handle on hyperpigmentation with a targeted treatment. If you’re looking to diminish dark spots, try a dark spot corrector. Vichy’s Proven Advanced Daily Dark Spot Corrector is a skin-brightening lotion that helps to improve the appearance of surface-level spots in just eight weeks.



e. An anti-aging neck cream might be missing from your routine


Your neck skin has a different cell composition than the other parts of your body, so it makes sense that it deserves its own product. The skin is thinner, which means it’s more prone to neck wrinkles and may also be more sensitive to active ingredients. Vichy’s Firming Cream is suitable for all skin types and helps soften the appearance of crepiness and fine lines on the neck.

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