MAIN CONTRIBUTERS OF AGEING
As we age the rate of collagen production in our skin cannot keep up, as its breakdown is accelerated by overexposure to sunlight, pollution, and inflammation. Collagen is the main connective tissue in the body, as it constitutes to more of a third of all protein in the body. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen and applying it to the directly on to the skin is 20 times more effective than eating it. A study by a leading Doctor in the United States showed that those who applied vitamin C daily showed a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles in just 12 weeks.
Smoking starves the skin of vitamin C leaving a dull, sallow complexion. The vital organs take what they need first, leaving the skin the last in line. A smoker needs as much as 2000mg a day to counter attack the damaging effects.
Lack of sleep also has a huge effect on the skin. When we don’t get enough sleep the body releases more cortisol, the stress hormone. In excess amounts cortisol can break down collagen. Growth hormone is released during sleep. The hormone that promotes growth when we’re young helps to increase muscle mass, thicken skin and strengthen bones as we age. It is the essential part of tissue repair that is lost through lack of sleep. Recent research has also found a link between sleep and appetite regulation, people who sleep less than 6 hours a day were almost 30 per cent more likely to become obese than those who sleep 7 to 9 hours a day.
Sleeping on your side creates sleep lines on your face, which, when we’re young disappear almost immediately but as we get older these lines start taking longer to fade and eventually turn into permanent wrinkles. Sleeping on your back helps to delay this.
Stress also results in an increased production of cortisol, thinning the skin, as well as frowning, which causes the deep lines in between the eyebrows.
Sugar causes glycation, which weakens elastin. The more sugar eaten, the more glycation caused. It transforms strong, resilient type 3 collagen into weaker type 1 collagen which creates free radicals.
Don’t forget fast food is also full of sugar as well as trans fats causing inflammation, damaging collagen
Climate can affect the skin all over the body, whether it’s cold and dry or hot and humid. Extremes of temperatures can exacerbate existing skin conditions as well as cause new ones. Bitterly cold wind can strip moisture from exposed skin, which is why many people have rough, tight, cracked skin in winter. Humid conditions can result in acne or itchy dry patches.
Yo yo dieting damages collagen and elastin due to the constant stretching and shrinking of the skin when weight goes up and down on a regular basis. Having a very low body fat percentage is not ideal either. We need some body fat as we age to plump out the skin on our face. It’s a case of a youthful face or a few pounds on the hips? What would you choose, because we can’t have both!
We have learnt that a small amount of red wine is beneficial as it contains reservatrol but excessive alcohol use causes damage to the small blood vessels in the skin, widening them, allowing more blood to flow to the surface of the skin, leading to broken capillaries. Dehydration also occurs leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Long term excessive use leaves the skin less resilient and sagging can occur.
And finally, regular exercise is so important to keep the muscles from becoming weak and keep the bones strong. Too little leads to thinner, weaker collagen and a sluggish circulation, so get out your bike and enjoy the sunshine, but don’t forget the sun factor.
See you next time, Yvonne
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