Perhaps the most common cosmetic dermatology question encountered in today’s world is “how can I keep my skin looking smooth and young?” Despite what thousands of sensationalistic internet articles would have you believe, however, there is no simple answer to this question. In fact, one of the largest contributing factors to how we age is simple genetics.
Now, that’s not to say that everyone is powerless to slow the effects of aging: there is no doubt that a healthy lifestyle and careful skincare can have an enormous impact on how the skin ages. However, this must truly be a lifestyle choice–there are not shortcuts that will allow you to take poor care of yourself and of your skin while still maintaining a youthful complexion your entire life.
Here are a few suggestions to help keep your skin looking great:
● Use Sun Protection. Perhaps the biggest contributor to premature aging is overexposure to sunlight. Direct UV rays can cause the skin to dry, crack, redden, and wrinkle–and, as you are probably already aware, they are an enormous risk factor for skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during peak hours.
● Clean skin regularly. A buildup of oil and other foreign matter on the skin can clog pores. This can cause acne breakouts in the short term, and skin damage in the long term. It is also important to moisturize after cleaning in order to prevent dehydration of the skin.
● Don’t Smoke. Smoking kills one out of every two long-time smokers–and dramatically impacts the health of everyone who lights up. If an unnecessarily high risk of heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, and early death aren’t enough to scare you, then perhaps the effect smoking has on the skin will convince you. By breaking down the skin’s bonding protein known as collagen, smoking causes wrinkles to appear years early–and other studies have shown that the direct heat exposure and repeated facial expressions of smoking can also have a negative impact on skin texture and on wrinkling.
● Get your beauty rest. Poor sleep is associated with wrinkles, so be sure to get the recommended seven hours of sleep every night whenever possible.
● Consume alcohol responsibly. One of the primary reasons why alcohol causes a hangover is because it is a diuretic; i.e. it causes dehydration. Over time, this can damage the skin. Always consume responsibly, and stay hydrated while drinking by having a non-alcoholic beverage between each and every standard drink.