Premature aging is, like the name may indicate, when your skin is aging before it’s aaaactually supposed to. And that’s why premature aging is a thing on its own. Otherwise, it’s kind of the same as regular aging. It just happens prematurely. So, if your biological age is older than your chronological age (you know, the actual amount of time you’ve lived), you may see signs of aging a little earlier than others.
We’ll have to dig a little deeper into “aging” to fully understand what’s actually happening: As you get older, your body’s internal process (like everything from cell turnover to how long it takes you to recover after a workout (or a hangover)) slows down. And because these processes take longer, it’s very easy for signs of aging to occur.
So, before we dig our way even deeper, we want to state one very important thing: We can’t control the natural aging process. We know. So sad. But eventually, we’ll start to see those fine lines on the face.
However, premature aging we can do something about. Or well.. Help prevent at least. We’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about the signs of premature aging.
So, what are the signs of premature aging?
By now you may think “I don’t have any wrinkles, so I don’t have any signs of premature aging” and happily go about your day. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are a lot of signs of premature aging beyond wrinkles.
So many that we made a list:
- Sun spots
- Gaunt hands (thin skin and veiny appearance)
- Inflammation or hyperpigmentation along chest
- Dry or itchy skin
- Wrinkles or sagging
- Hair loss
Basically, the signs of premature aging are much like the ones normally connected to “regular” aging. Unlike symptoms of skin conditions, where the symptoms usually are caused by the specific condition, premature aging is kinda like the other way around. It mainly happens due to external factors influencing the skin. Like sun spots being a sign of premature aging, but they aren’t caused by premature aging - they’re caused by long term exposure to the sun, which affects the skin and can lead to premature aging.
We’ll dig further into the causes of premature aging now!
What causes premature aging?
Unfortunately, the cause of premature aging isn’t to be found in one single external factor. Several factors have a direct impact on the skin, leading to premature aging. Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to premature aging in the skin. Smoking damages the collagen production and elastin fibers in the skin - which are two very important components when talking about aging. The result of these damages is often seen in the skin as dull skin, dryness and wrinkles.
Overexposure to the sun
Another major contributor to premature aging is sun exposure. And not just exposure from the actual sun, but from UV rays in general, which (sadly for some people) also includes going to the tanning salon to get that quick tan. UV rays penetrate the skin and damage the DNA in your skin cells, which leads to wrinkles. It’s estimated that roughly 80% of facial skin aging is due to sun damage from UV rays.
We can’t stress it enough: Protecting your skin from the sun every single day is the most essential part of preventing premature aging.
Not to state the obvious, but wearing sunscreen is a great way to protect yourself from the sun, along with seeking shade on those very hot days, and wearing clothes that will protect you from the sun. At NØIE, we recommend always wearing sunscreen, which is why we’ve developed a sunscreen for our product line. You can take our skin test to get a recommendation for the ideal sunscreen for your skin.
Diet and lifestyle
Diet and lifestyle is always a topic of conversation when it comes to skincare. Generally, a well-balanced diet is recommended. You know, eat the rainbow and all that. When it comes to premature aging, sugar and refined carbs can accelerate aging, so that’s how diet and lifestyle sort of play in here. But honestly, at NØIE our philosophy is that you can eat whatever you want - just do it in moderation.
Like sugar and carb-loaded foods, alcohol can take a toll on the skin if consumed, like, not moderately. Obviously, you should have that glass of red wine after a long day at the office, or that ice cold beer on a warm summer day, if that’s your thing. But generally speaking, alcohol is known to dehydrate the skin, which can make us look (and feel) older than we may like.
Stress isn’t really good for any part of your body (ever), and it actually affects your skin quite a lot. Stress causes changes to the proteins in your skin and reduces its elasticity, which can contribute to forming wrinkles. So, this probably goes without saying, but to minimise signs of premature aging, you should also minimise causes of stress in your life. But yeah, you probably already knew that (and easier said than done, we know).
Treating premature aging
So, we spent a lot of time talking about what causes premature aging and how to prevent aging from happening sooner than you’d like.
And in the case of premature aging, prevention is actually one of the strongest weapons in regards to treating it.
Nevertheless, there are a few other steps you can take to try and fight it once you see signs of it. And luckily, they involve skincare (well not luckily, but like “yay skincare”).
First of all, you can’t really “treat” anything with skincare. But you can take some steps in order to either prevent and handle skin concerns.
Generally speaking, there are two superheroes within skincare when it comes to premature aging: SPF and retinol.
We’ve already covered the importance of SPF in regards to protecting our skin from the sun. So let’s talk about retinol!
Retinol is one of the most effective, evidence based and popular skincare ingredients on the market. Retinol is a derivative from Vitamin A that helps to reduce the appearance of visible wrinkles, fine lines and hyperpigmentation. It can also help reduce acne as it promotes cell turnover. So yeah, basically a superstar.
At NØIE, we recognise retinol for the true champion that it is, which is why you can get your very own NØIE Face Cream with retinol (if your skin needs it - our super clever algorithms will tell you if you do). Try it out below!