What Makes you Age Faster?
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There are many factors why you might end up aging faster than normal. Maybe you don’t sleep enough. Perhaps you’re living a sedentary lifestyle that leads you to become overweight and develop certain diseases that increase the age of your internal organs. You can also have certain vices like smoking and heavy drinking under your belt.
You can either look older outside (by your wrinkles, liver spots, gray hair, dry skin, loose skin, poor posture, weakness, and frailty) or inside (complications with the brain leading to dementia or memory loss, diabetes, obesity, heart ailments, clogged arteries, fatty liver, or even cancer development). In today’s world filled with pollutants and chemicals, accelerated aging is becoming more and more common.
Typical Factors That Affect Aging
Smoking definitely accelerates the age of your lungs and respiratory system compared to a nonsmoker. Ditto when it comes to drinking and the age of your liver. Your diet also affects your age, with you either overeating or undereating to the point of ending up either emaciated or obese, leading to various complications and sicknesses reserved for old men.
You will dehydrate yourself if you drink in excess since alcohol is a natural diuretic. Your skin’s natural moisture is also depleted. You will look older than you look when you’re dehydrated. Just look at a dehydrated boxer at the weigh-in versus a boxer the next night and you’ll see the difference. Even young people when dehydrated look old and prune-like, so what more the elders out there.
Genetics play a factor too, as in the case of Michael J. Fox and his unfortunate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease through no fault of his own. Athletes in dangerous sports like football and boxing undergo so much head trauma and concussions their brains look like the scrambled grey matter of a senior citizen. In cosmetic terms, the onset of wrinkles and gray hair signal that immediately that you’re getting old or older than you look.
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More About Smoking and Aging
Smoking affects your health in many ways. It can make you age faster in terms of your lungs and your skin. It contains various harmful chemicals that deprive your skin cells of oxygen. This can lead to a complexion that’s pale and uneven. You might even end up with senior citizen skin that’s loose and saggy due to how smoking triggers collagen breakdown.
The process of smoking and huffing down a cigarette strains the skin around your mouth, creating deep laugh line wrinkles and fine lines all over. It will make your mouth look as wrinkly as your hand after being submerged in water for a long time. Even spending time with a smoker even though you yourself don’t smoke will lead to badly aged skin.
In fact, the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery publication released a 2013 study that shows the drastic facial changes caused between identical twins, one a smoker and one a nonsmoker. The facial aging between the two is quite noticeable as well. It’s like night and day. According to a 2010 study from the SKINmed Journal, you can restore and/or preserve what’s left of your skin’s health by quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke.
Additional Info on Drinking in Excess
You’re in the fast track to looking twice or thrice your age when you drink immoderately. This is also because the healthy nutrients in your body are depleted by the vice, particularly Vitamins A and C (important vitamins for skin health and your healthiness in general). These antioxidants are essential in maintaining the suppleness and vibrancy of your skin.
You might end up with rosacea outbreaks as well due to excessive alcohol intake. In fact, alcohol is so bad for your skin it has links to skin cancer. According to the Cancer Causes and Control, there’s a 2015 study showing that higher levels of alcohol intake in your lifetime or even a higher preference to white wine and liquor has links to non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer.
You’re not completely prohibited to drink, of course. Just drink moderately and occasionally instead of every single day. You should limit your drinks to 1 to 2 per day (1 for women 2 for men) according to the American Heat Association.
Stress, Pressure, and Pent-Up Emotions
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The signs of aging on the skin is also readily apparent from those who live high-stress and high-pressure jobs. Whether you’re a soldier out in the battlefield and witnessing firsthand how war is truly hell or a president with two terms and loads of Republican opposition to your liberal policies.
This is especially true of people who hold grudges. Most people believe in forgiveness but when faced with actually practicing it, the belief goes right out of the window. If you hold grudges against any situation or person, it won’t be good for your appearance and wellbeing. This only adds stress to your life, which in turn boosts your cortisol levels.
The raised cortisol levels due to pent-up frustration and other negative emotions tend to lead to high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Even when it comes to just ordinary stress with no grudges held, it can lead to all sorts of complications, even simple ones like frowning so much you’ll end up with wrinkles on your forehead.
According to a Journal of Behavioral Medicine, a 2005 study shows the link between reduction of stress and forgiveness. Another study shows that excessive stress can lead to oxidative stress, one if the three contributors to the aging process (the other two being glycation and diminishing telomeres).
An old grudge can sap away your youthfulness and so does excessive stress. Learn to forgive even if you can’t forget. Learn to relax and unwind as well also to stop shaving years off of your lifespan. Also make sure you’re getting enough sleep every day for your health.
Sun and Ultraviolet Rays Exposure
The fastest way to aged skin and looking as old as your grandpa is excessive ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure from sunlight. A modicum of sunlight exposure is necessary (as many a basement dweller or indoors person is constantly reminded) in order to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays without sun block will lead to quick skin deterioration.
You’ll end up more wrinkled than a sun-dried raisin. Long-term radiation doses from UV rays in a prolonged manner weaken your skin cells and can even reach your blood vessels. This will lead to you having a leathery hide you used to call skin. The texture of your skin becomes rough, it will lose its elasticity for good measure, and even pigmentation might happen.
According to “Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology”, there’s a study in 2013 that shows how UV exposure is responsible for 80% of all facial aging signs (from fine lines to deep wrinkles). Before going out into the sun, wear a hat or cover up with clothing or sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher. This is especially true of places with the warmest of climates and loads of sun exposure.
Many of the factors that contribute to stress and aging are avoidable or manageable but only if you deal with them at a young age or at the peak of your adulthood, when your metabolism is at its highest and you can still heal from almost anything (thus justifying the feeling of immortality from the youth). In order to at least look your age or younger (while keeping the rest of your body from “under the hood” also quite healthy), you need to abandon vices and observe a healthier lifestyle. Don’t test the limits of your body needlessly.