There are two types of aging that affects us: intrinsic (natural aging) and extrinsic (premature aging). These actions can slow the effects of extrinsic aging.

Intrinsic aging is the natural aging process. Our genes have a direct impact on when these changes occur.

Extrinsic aging is premature aging caused by things like the environment and our lifestyle choices.

While there’s not much we can do about intrinsic aging, there’s a lot we can do about extrinsic aging.

Dermatologists suggest the following tips for preventing premature skin aging:

Sun protection

Woman helping to put on sunscreen

  • Sun protection is essential every day (not just when going to the beach)
  • Seek shade and cover up with clothing
  • Use water-resistant, broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher sunscreen
  • Apply sunscreen daily to uncovered skin

Tanning

  • Tanning prematurely ages your skin
  • Tans from the sun, tanning bed, or other indoor tanning equipment emit harmful UV rays
  • Use self-tanner rather than get a tan

Smoking

  • Smoking greatly accelerates the aging process
  • It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion
  • If you smoke, stop

Facial expressions

Bearded man in sunglasses with raised eyebrow

  • Facial expressions contract the underlying muscles
  • Repeatedly making the same facial expressions makes the lines they cause permanent
  • A common facial expression is squinting when the sun hits your eyes
  • Wearing sunglasses can help reduce lines caused by squinting

Diet

  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent some premature skin aging
  • Eating lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates may speed up aging

Alcohol

  • Alcohol dehydrates the skin and damages it
  • Drink less alcohol to avoid premature aging

Exercise

  • Moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system
  • This improvement may give the skin a more youthful appearance

Cleansing

  • Scrubbing the skin can irritate it
  • Irritating the skin speeds up aging
  • When washing, do it gently enough to remove any dirt and oils without irritating the skin

Washing after sweating

Tennis Player Wiping Sweat

  • Perspiration irritates the skin
  • Wash skin shortly after sweating
  • Wash face twice daily and after sweating heavily

Use moisturizers

  • Moisturizer traps water in the skin
  • Apply within a few minutes after showering or washing
  • Use moisturizers daily

Avoid bad products

  • If you feel burning or stinging after applying a product, it means your skin is irritated
  • Avoid products that irritate your skin as they make your skin look older
  • Some prescription anti-aging products can burn or sting. Just talk to your dermatologist to ensure that this is okay.

These tips are a great way to prevent premature aging. However, if you’re already experiencing some signs of premature aging, these tips can still help.

Making lifestyle changes may not rewind the clock completely but they will help repair some of the damage and make your skin look healthier.

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