The 3 Biggest Contributors to Premature Ageing
Our skin is subjected to all kinds of environmental and internal aggressors. Those aggressors can easily and significantly damage your genetic code which influences the way your skin ages. We asked Professor Derek Richard of Queensland’s Cancer & Ageing Research Foundation to explain how DNA damage impacts your predisposition to premature ageing.
The damaging environmental factors that our skin is subjected to are a key contributor to ageing but there’s one that may surprise you: oxygen.
“Our genetic code does not like oxygen, and that’s a bit of a problem as we all need oxygen to survive", explains Professor Richard.
“Our cells try to keep oxygen away from our genetic code but sometimes a type of oxygen called a free radical gets through and when it touches DNA, it damages our code. When this happens a lot, it can drive inflammation and redness.”
Professor Richard identifies three of the biggest contributors to skin ageing:
① Ultra Violet Light (UV)
UV radiation that comes from exposure to sunlight is considered responsible for up to 80% of premature ageing. Protecting your skin before you expose it to the sun with a high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen is vital. Reapplying that sunscreen regularly throughout the day, wearing a hat and protective sunglasses when outdoors, and trying to limit direct sun exposure, especially when the UV index is at its highest in the middle of the day, will help to limit your UV exposure and its effect on your skin.
Drinking alcohol is a fast way to dehydrate your body from the inside out; it forces your kidneys to work overtime and leaves your body – and your skin – parched. When your skin is dehydrated it is more prone to highlighting fine lines and wrinkles. Alcohol also depletes the body’s natural stores of Vitamin A which is crucial for cellular health and renewal.
Smoking is a key contributor to premature ageing and there have been numerous studies that have proven a smoker’s skin ages significantly faster and more visibly than that of a non-smoker. The physical act of smoking not only creates prominent and often deep-set lines and wrinkles around the mouth but nicotine depletes the body’s stores of Vitamin C: an essential contributor to Collagen production. On average, smokers have 60% less Vitamin C in their blood than non-smokers.