You’re good to your skin. You know you need to take good care of it in order to keep it looking youthful and radiant. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to protect your skin from every curveball life throws at it. As the body’s largest organ and subject to daily abuse from both inside and out, the skin is easily influenced by environmental factors which can speed up aging, especially if these influences are ongoing. So what are some of the factors that can cause premature aging?
The number one enemy of skin, nearly everyone knows the dangers involved with the sun, especially the increased risk for skin cancer ultraviolet (UV) rays pose. However, sun damage can also have major cosmetic consequences as well. While a nice tan might get you attention when you’re young and your skin is in good shape, repeated sun exposure breaks down the collagen in the skin that provides elasticity, firmness, and youth, causing sagging skin and wrinkles. Additionally, skin can develop unwanted brown pigment after repeated sun exposure that often presents as permanent, oversized freckling.
As far as prevention goes, there’s not much new info out there. Right now, the best way to guard against sun damage is to use plenty of sunscreen when outdoors, avoid being outside in the middle of the day, and use clothing and accessories that protect the skin.
Cold, Dry Weather
While the sun is a huge threat to the skin, cold weather can also be detrimental to maintaining youthful skin. Cold weather chaps and dries out the skin, eventually leading to wrinkles and rough skin.
The best way to protect your skin during harsh, cold weather is to keep it well moisturized, which will help create a barrier against the dry heat of furnaces and the cold weather of the outdoors. A humidifier can also be helpful to use in the winter.
For urban dwellers, pollution is harmful not only to the lungs, but the skin as well. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot you can do to offset the effects of this environmental issue. The best way to offset potential harm to skin from pollutants is to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect and care for your skin, inside and out.
Cleansers, Repellents & Other Products
Harsh chemicals you use on or near your skin can dry out or harm it over time, leading to premature aging. While it’s not possible to avoid using chemical products, you can minimize damage to your skin by only using harsh products when absolutely necessary, and wearing gloves to protect your skin from the effects of the chemicals.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your skin, as well as to your lungs. However, even if you yourself do not smoke, you could still be at risk for the aging effects of cigarettes. Family members who smoke could be exposing you to secondhand smoke that can greatly accelerate aging.
If you do live with someone who smokes, see if they will agree to smoke only outdoors—it will greatly reduce your risk from secondhand smoke.
Offsetting the Damage
Aside from protecting and caring for your skin as best you can, the only way you can offset the damage of environmental factors is to pursue professional skin treatments. There are many different options for improving your skin’s appearance, whether you’re worried about wrinkles, facial volume loss, sagging skin, or brown pigmentation. Some possibilities for treating these problems include:
- Laser skin treatments for overall skin condition, aging, and pigmentation issues
- Facial fillers/Botox for wrinkles and subtle facial volume loss
- Intense pulsed light for unwanted pigmentation
- Chemical peels for overall complexion improvement
- Fat transfer for wrinkles and facial volume loss
- Facial surgery for sagging skin and wrinkles
Discuss Your Options
Your goals, lifestyle, and budget will all be important factors in which treatment or procedure is right for you, but you might have a hard time making a decision on your own. This is the first, but by no means the last, time you will be seeking advice from a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon. During your consultations with prospective surgeons, you will have the opportunity to discuss your options for anti-aging, which should help you make a decision about which surgeon is right for you as well.
If you need help from an experienced, board certified facial plastic surgeon, come to Buckingham Center and meet with acclaimed expert Dr. Edward Buckingham. Dr. Buckingham is dedicated to helping patients achieve beautiful, natural results, and is standing by to help you reach your goals. Call Buckingham Center today at (512) 401-2500 to schedule your consultation.