A variety of factors contribute to the skin’s natural aging process. But there are also a number of variables, which individuals cannot control such as genetics and environment. The natural aging process is nearly impossible to stop; with time, all complexions will begin to reveal blemishes, wrinkles, creases, and imperfections from a once radiant appearance. This process is called “intrinsic aging” and is largely influenced by our genes, making it near impossible to predict or prevent. Meanwhile, environmental factors such as sun exposure, air pollution and living conditions, coupled with lifestyle factors like diet and stress all contribute to premature aging.

It is not uncommon for both men and women to inquire about anti-aging treatment methods as early as their late twenties and early thirties. Some seek treatment to reverse or halt the aging process, while others contact a dermatologist about precautionary measures to avoid treatments later. Fortunately, there are treatment options to choose from plumping to tightening, which helps give the appearance of flawless, glowing skin. To help rejuvenate and turn back your body’s clock, consider the following affordable, non-cosmetic approaches that can make a significant impact on improving skin’s health, radiance and elasticity.

Change To A Healthier Diet

An unhealthy diet has a direct negative impact on your skin, which is why it is important to be mindful and avoid certain foods that accelerate the aging process. For example, sugar activates enzymes that damage collagen, which results in accelerated aging. Collagen acts as a rubber band and keeps skin’s elasticity tight and firm. Similarly, consuming saturated fats and other refined carbohydrates can lead to wrinkles. Saturated fats are prevalent in many junk foods, especially fried, greasy foods. These high-fat foods can also trigger intense acne breakouts. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can damage skin because alcohol dehydrates your body, depriving your skin of the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to remain hydrated and healthy.

To restore skin at the first sign of dullness or breakouts, dermatologists recommend increasing the amount of fruit and vegetable servings in one’s diet. Doing so will strengthen skin cells, making them more resistant to damage. Healthy and delicious foods that are rich in antioxidants can be found in blueberries, which help smoothen facial lines. Also, foods with the ingredient beta-carotene and lutein are found in dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach. These are super foods that make an impact improving skin’s elasticity. Furthermore, be sure to include heart-healthy omega-3s daily. These essential vitamins are found in olive oil work to improve blood circulation, leaving skin rosy and supple. To remain hydrated throughout the day, a rule of thumb is to drink eight 8oz glasses of water per day.

Increasing Vitamin Intake

Just as vitamins are necessary for cell growth and function, taking daily vitamins, especially vitamin A, can help maintain and improve skin health. Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining and repairing vital skin tissue; meanwhile, Vitamin C actively produces collagen, which reduces wrinkles, improves skin tone, and reduces damage from the sun. Furthermore, Vitamin K – a common ingredient in facial lotions and creams – can decrease the appearance of dark circles and bruises on the skin. Despite it’s presence in a variety of foods, it is important to not be deficient in vitamins and to take them regularly.

Decrease UV Exposure

UV exposure is the number one cause of premature skin aging. Thus individuals should take the necessary precautions to protect against the sun’s strong UV rays. Skin cells can quickly become damaged when exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation. This radiation has the potential to damage multiple layers of the skin, thereby resulting in a higher number of damaged chromosomes. This is bad for skin cells and chromosomes as the elastin gets destroyed; this can also lead to wrinkles. Not only can damaged cells lead to early aging, but it can also lead to skin cancer, so it is extremely important to be cautious with UV and sun exposure.

To help reduce your risk of damaging your skin, dermatologists advise seeking shade when outdoors and wearing appropriate clothing that covers the face, ears and other body parts sensitive to light. In addition, apply a sunscreen or SPF 30 (or higher) when trekking outside, and reapply after 30 minutes of exposure. Furthermore, beware of tanning – whether from the sun or indoor tanning beds – this is directly linked to prematurely aging of the skin.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress is another cause for premature skin aging and has terrible effects on skin by actually shortening DNA telomeres. For individuals in a constant state of stress, the body must work extra hard to repair itself. In doing so, this can lead to a plethora of health problems including early skin aging. Therefore, individuals will want to take appropriate steps to reduce your stress level. Doing so helps yield healthier skin. Many people find success in yoga or meditation, where just 30 minutes a day can drastically reduce stress levels. Try a combination of different stress relieving activities to combat rising stress and unhealthy skin blemishes.

Increase Exercise

Exercising is paramount to healthy skin. Regular exercise helps to boost the body’s immune system and improve blood circulation, giving the skin a youthful appearance, along with many other health benefits. But always remember to thoroughly cleanse skin after exercising as excessive sweating from exercising clogs pores and causes irritation. Similarly, be proactive and shower immediately after an exercise routine regardless of the intensity.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Getting enough rest each night avoids sleep deprivation, which causes dull dark eye circles. According to The National Sleep Foundation, adults require approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to recharge the body. Failing to do so will not only negatively impact skin’s appearance, but one’s daily mental function will slowly decline.

Creating Healthy Habits To Slow Skin Aging

Implementing these changes and instilling positive habits will help restore skin and lead to a hydrated and even complexion. In addition to lifestyle changes, purchasing over-the-counter skin products such as anti-aging cream, using chemical facial treatments, and daily cleansing, help to restore moisturize and replenish damaged skin. While no one can prevent the natural aging process, there are many steps you can take for healthier, younger looking skin. For more information on achieving radiant skin as you age gracefully, contact a dermatologist near you today.