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Why does aging change your skin? The reason is that life quite literally happens to you, and your skin is the primary barrier between you and the world. Women typically begin to show the first signs of aging in their mid-twenties, while men begin to show the first signs about five years later, only because they have thicker skin.

Aging happens due to two different kinds of influences: intrinsic and extrinsic. You can’t do much about intrinsic aging. It is caused by your genetics. Extrinsic aging is caused by factors that you can control. There are four major factors that cause extrinsic aging:

1. Sun damage

Excess ultraviolet radiation is the absolute worst thing you can expose your skin to if you want to keep it looking young. Ultraviolet radiation increases your risk of skin cancer and has a striking effect on aging. All you have to do to determine whether ultraviolet light has already aged you beyond how you would age without exposure is to compare the skin on a part of your body that gets a lot of sun, like your face or your arms, with a part that gets less sun like your abdomen or buttocks.

2. Smoking

Smoking constricts the blood vessels, which decreases blood supply to your skin. It also dehydrates your skin, increases free-radical damage, and has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.

3. Eating poorly

Did you know that poor dietary choices can make visible differences in your skin? Sugar in particular is a skin wrecker, as it causes aging by increasing inflammation and glycation.

4. Drinking too much alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption causes your skin to age prematurely. Alcohol dehydrates your skin and causes some people to have a flushing reaction. Repeated flushing can result in a ruddy complexion caused by tiny broken blood vessels that show up as splotchy red patches all over your face.

 

The effects that these four factors have on skin are linked to free radicals. Free radicals are damaged oxygen molecules that are missing at least one electron. To remedy the problem, they attach to healthy cells and steal their electrons, damaging the cells or causing them to malfunction. This can cause all sorts of problems, from cell structure damage to DNA damage.

Free radicals are by products of the body’s various processes, like digestion, and they should be present in amounts the body can easily handle. However, when you add in extrinsic factors like UV exposure, smoking, a poor diet, alcohol, and the effects of toxins like pollution, pesticides, automobile exhaust, and environmental chemicals, and especially when you have more than one of these operating in the body at one time, free radicals can become too numerous and put your body in a state of oxidative stress that will cause visible damage.

Your body naturally produces antioxidants, but if you add more through diet and the right skin-care products, you can help your body immensely.

Source: mindbodygreen.com