Although we can’t stop the hands of time, the factors thought to be responsible for 85 percent of visible aging are largely preventable.
One of the primary offenders is UV exposure. Other forces responsible for extrinsic aging are less frequently discussed, such as pollution, sleep deprivation and smoking.
By addressing these extrinsic factors, our fight against skin aging can be more successful:
- Pollution – Car exhaust produces copious amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are proven to increase the MMP, leading to matrix degradation and collagen cross-linking, This negative force on skin is a challenge to avoid, as our culture is highly auto-centric. Topical antioxidants are critical to fighting damage this force.
- Sleep deprivation – The parasympathetic nervous system shifts blood flow to the surface of the skin while we sleep. The human body requires sleep to recharge, heal and grow. The skin becomes less able to regenerate and correct damage when we are deprived of sleep.
- Smoking – This is a practice that is highly damaging to skin and the body as a whole. Smoking one cigarette robs the skin of oxygen for 90 minutes. If a person smokes more than one cigarette in that 90-minute period, the skin becomes chronically oxygen starved.
Protection from UV exposure is still the most important step in maintaining skin health, but fighting other sources of extrinsic aging with lifestyle changes and topical antioxidant therapies can make our overall skin health effort a success.