As we age we tend to focus more on the internal aspects of aging. Good internal, senior wellness is a key component to a long, happy and healthy life but maintaining senior wellness of the external body is important as well. The largest organ in in our body is our skin. It protects our internal organs and is important to our overall health and senior wellness.
There are 3 layers to our skin:
- The epidermis helps our bodies produce proteins and vitamins, and also protect our skin from sun damage.
- The dermis houses our blood vessels, cools our body and creates collagen to strengthen our skin.
- The subcutaneous layer helps us retain heat, absorbs shock and protects our internal organs.
When we have healthy skin, the rest of our body tends to follow suit. Similar to many illnesses, there are certain lifestyle habits that negatively impact the health of our skin. About.com lists 7 Habits Make Skin Age Faster.
Cigarette smoke: Whether you smoke, or you spend time with a smoker, cigarette smoke is damaging — and aging — to your skin. Research has shown that exposure to cigarette smoke significantly increases skin wrinkles and dryness. This is partly due to the behavior of smoking, and also because cigarette smoke depletes your body of Vitamin C, which is a key ingredient for keeping skin plump and moist. Some researchers believe that exposure to cigarette smoke (whether you smoke or not) is as damaging to aging skin as exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Sun exposure: Sun exposure is very aging to skin. Unprotected skin that is exposed to the sun becomes more mottled in appearance. Freckles can turn into brown sun spots, the skin takes on a dry, leathery appearance, and wrinkles and sagging increase. The risk of skin cancer is significantly increased by sun exposure.
Lack of exercise: Living a sedentary life contributes to aging skin, because exercise helps to tone your muscles and get your blood flowing. Exercise should be an important part of every anti-aging skin care program. Researchers have also discovered that sedentary older adults are at higher risk for dementia .
Exposure to cold weather: Cold winds and low temperatures contribute to aging skin by making skin dry, so if you venture out in the cold be sure to use a good moisturizer. It’s important to use moisturizer indoors too, as heated rooms can be very drying to skin. Consider using a humidifier to help keep your skin more comfortable and reduce the aging skin effects of heated rooms.
Alcohol use: Alcohol contributes to aging skin by dilating small blood vessels in the skin and increasing blood flow near the skin’s surface. Over time, these blood vessels can become permanently damaged, creating a flushed appearance and broken vessels on the skin’s surface.
Stress: Maybe you’ve heard this expression: “Don’t frown, your face could stay that way.” Stress and worry cause frowning, and over time the muscles in the face actually conform to that movement. Keeping stress in check — and frown lines and aging skin wrinkles to a minimum — will help you look and feel younger.
Lack of sleep: Too little sleep makes you look and feel tired. One of the first places lack up sleep shows up is on the face, with dark circles and bags under the eyes, and sagging skin. Lack of sleep is also a major factor in memory loss and symptoms of depression that include low interest in daily activities and negative thinking. Research has shown that most adults function best with 8-9 hours of sleep each night.
Being aware of these seven habits that make skin age faster can help make you aware of the impact it may be having on your overall health and improve your overall senior wellness.
This article originally appeared on Lakeside Assisted Living’s blog.
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