Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,412
Registered: ‎07-21-2014

From  American Academy of Dermatology


What causes our skin to age?

 Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we cannot do anything about; others we can influence.

One thing that we cannot change is the natural aging process. It plays a key role. With time, we all get visible lines on our face. It is natural for our face to lose some of its youthful fullness. We notice our skin becoming thinner and drier. Our genes largely control when these changes occur. The medical term for this type of aging is “intrinsic aging.”

We can influence another type of aging that affects our skin. Our environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. The medical term for this type of aging is “extrinsic aging.” By taking some preventive actions, we can slow the effects that this type of aging has on our skin.

11 ways to reduce premature skin aging

The sun plays a major role in prematurely aging our skin. Other things that we do also can age our skin more quickly than it naturally would. To help their patients prevent premature skin aging, dermatologists offer their patients the following tips.


    1. Protect your skin from the sun every day. Whether spending a day at the beach or running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.

    1. Apply self-tanner rather than get a tan. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. This holds true if you get a tan from the sun, a tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment. All emit harmful UV rays that accelerate how quickly your skin ages.

    1. If you smoke, stop. Smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.

    1. Avoid repetitive facial expressions. When you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles. If you repeatedly contract the same muscles for many years, these lines become permanent. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting.

    1. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging.

    1. Drink less alcohol. Alcohol is rough on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older.

    1. Exercise most days of the week. Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.

    1. Cleanse your skin gently. Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin aging. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin.

    1. Wash your face twice a day and after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin, so you want to wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

    1. Apply a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.

  1. Stop using skin care products that sting or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means your skin is irritated. Irritating your skin can make it look older.

Note: Some anti-aging products prescribed by a dermatologist may burn or sting. When using a prescription anti-aging product, this can be okay. Just be sure to let your dermatologist know.


Never too late to benefit

Even people who already have signs of premature skin aging can benefit from making lifestyle changes. By protecting your skin from the sun, you give it a chance to repair some of the damage. Smokers who stop often notice that their skin looks healthier.

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. —Helen Keller
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,602
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Common sense information here. I wish I would have known this in the 60s. We suntanned without any lotion. Used babyoil for fast tan. It’s a wonder I have any skin at all. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 23,835
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Well, I do all those things listed and even  more and my skin is very good at age 63. I have worn sunglasses outside on sunny days and cloudy days for probably the last 20 years and ... I have no eye wrinkles at all.   


 When I went to the dermatologist to get a skin check a month ago,  she told me I have the skin that people come to her to try to achive.... now that was a very nice complement for me as I always  seem to only see my flaws or things I do not like about my body  in the mirror.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,249
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@CherryHugsNo surprises for me as I head for one more high 70's birthday.   Even my vascular doctor would agree, I think  He reminds me at each of my yearly checkups (partially blocked carotid artery) that genetics plays something like a 5% control over what happens to our bodies with all the rest of what happens controlled by our life style choices.


Beauty may be only skin deep, but lots of the same things that maintain beauty maintain our overall health.  Too bad for me it took so many, many years before I finally accepted that.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,957
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

A lot of aging comes from poverty. If you look at pictures in of people in extreme poverty in rural America you see people that look twice their age due to lack of a good education, access to jobs, poor food choices, smoking, lack of excercise, mental illness, and the worse is generational bad choices of staying in these conditions.


My husband left for the Marine Corps when he was 18 and lives a completely oposite of his family who live in abject poverty in rural Atoka Oklahoma, a town where time forgot. His large family who still all live there are all extremely obese. None of them finished high school. They all smoke. All of the them have children before 18 are not married and cannot afford the children. Every single person in his family is on goverment welfare of some kind. This lifestyle causing extreme aging and is so very sad.


I have no idea how to end this poverty except to leave as my husband did. It makes me so sad people in rural America are aging way before there time.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,539
Registered: ‎12-09-2018
Poverty isn't the only reason people age. Education isn't either. I have seen poor people age well and I have seen over educated idiots age poorly. Aging has more to do with life style choices and the luck of the draw.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 23,835
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: What causes skin to age

[ Edited ]

I do believe that living in poverty does contribute to poorer general health and aging. No health care... no dental... no money to purchase luxury items for face and skin. And those in poverty most likely are not eating a  good diet.  Now I know not everyone in poverty is this way... but I am sure the majority of  them are.  Education of course is HUGE.....Lack of education contributes in a major way the health of the poor. Making poor choices... drugs, cigarettes, drinking

Honored Contributor
Posts: 18,805
Registered: ‎07-26-2014

@Brisky wrote:
Aging has more to do with life style choices and the luck of the draw.

And genes

"Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."


Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,539
Registered: ‎12-09-2018
Yes, genes matter. If you can read and write, you can learn. Keep learning through out your whole life. College is four years to eight years. Why stop there?
Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎05-22-2016

S T R E S S  accelerates aging.  Seems people look more youthful when they just get back from their vacations.