It’s never too late for better skin

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to improve your skin care regimen. With each year, sun, pollution and smoking can cause skin to age and wrinkles to appear. Throughout each decade of life, our skin may look different, but it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself and your skin. Just about everyone wants to look younger, but having healthy skin requires you to know a little about why skin ages and how to reduce harmful exterior components.

Where wrinkles come from
Of all the environmental factors, the sun poses the highest risk to your skin and causes the most damage. Over decades of life, leaving your skin unprotected can result in major changes, including freckles, wrinkles and age spots. Compared to other age groups, seniors have the highest risk for developing cancer, as skin loses some of its natural ability to protect against the sun with age.

One of the best ways to protect your skin is to wear sunscreen. Even just a few minutes of sun exposure without protection can add up over the years to significant skin damage. If you were never one to wear sunscreen growing up, start putting some on before you head out the door each morning. While you can’t undo damage from your earlier years, it is possible to stop sun damage in the future and help your skin be healthier.

Another element that speeds up skin aging and contributes to wrinkles is smoking and pollution. Compared to nonsmokers, smokers are five times more likely to have wrinkles on their face and around their mouth prematurely, according to WebMD. That’s because smoking damages the collagen in skin, making it less elastic and causing inflammation around the mouth. Pollution can break down vitamin E, which is essential for skin health.

What you can do … at any age
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, but there are many ways to make skin healthier and reduce the appearance of aging throughout every stage of life. When it comes to sun exposure, there is a fine line between protecting your skin and holing up inside too much. The sun encourages the body to produce vitamin D, an essential element. Many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D, and a deficiency can lead to a whole host of health problems, including depression, some cancers and bone issues.

Many lifestyle habits can encourage healthier skin, including eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. In addition, avoiding smoking can reduce the risks of developing premature wrinkles and wearing sunscreen daily can protect against the harmful rays of the sun. You can also wear sunglasses when outdoors to avoid wrinkles around the eyes from squinting. Some experts recommend sleeping on your back to keep wrinkles from forming.

There are a million and one products that promise to make skin appear younger and healthier, but the truth is that many of these are not actually the fountain of youth. Instead, taking time to protect your skin, keeping a healthy lifestyle and practicing proper hygiene can encourage healthy skin.

Some wrinkle creams contain retin-A, which is often touted as the best product for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. While some consumers and experts swear by its anti-aging properties, retin-A can also irritate skin, making it red and more sensitive to the sun. Furthermore, many products containing retin-A require weeks of use before results may appear.

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Pete Blasi