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Factors that age the skin the most, especially that of the face

The most notorious factor that causes skin aging is the passage of time. Hormonal and physiological changes cause a reduction in collagen and elastin, which causes thinning of the dermis, dehydration, and the appearance of wrinkles. But other factors accelerate this process.

The most important and the one that most accelerates premature aging of the skin, especially on the face, is the sun, or rather prolonged exposure over time and without protection. Although sunlight is beneficial for the body, when it is taken in excess, either seasonally for hours or days for less time but without protection, it causes photoaging.

The radiation that directly affects the skin is ultraviolet (UV) and within it UVB and UVA

According to the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV), although the sun emits practically the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the radiation that directly affects the skin is ultraviolet (UV), and within it UVB and UVA, light visible and infrared. The former alters the immune system and causes burns. The second one decreases collagen and elastin levels and affects skin pigmentation, accelerating aging and promoting the appearance of sunspots. Over time, they increase the risk of skin cancer.  

Normally, once these signs caused by solar radiation appear, they are already difficult to solve and they can only be prevented from coming out more or from those that are already visible from becoming accentuated or aggravated. Even though photoaging is irreversible. Treatments such as peeling, which is chemical exfoliation, can make the condition of the skin and irregular pigmentation improve a lot.

Protection from the sun is essential

But the sun is not the only cause. There are other accelerating factors such as pollution, smoking, an unbalanced diet, stress, and lack of sleep. In the first place, the more exposure to small particles, levels of nitrogen dioxide, and high levels of ozone, the greater the number of spots on the skin and the formation of wrinkles.

Regarding smoking, according to a study, “tobacco is an important factor accelerating skin aging, with smoking determining effects on the body, such as greater dryness of the skin and earlier propensity to the appearance of wrinkles”.

Stress affects the skin in various ways too. First of all, it causes chronic inflammation of the tissues, increases cortisol levels, and with it the production of the sebaceous glands. As this study carried out in the United States indicates, these circumstances cause thinning of the dermis and dehydration.

Lastly, bad lifestyle habits such as an unbalanced diet or lack of sleep are also accelerators due to the hormonal changes they cause, the lack of nutrients that allow the proper renewal of skin cells, and the interruption in the production of melatonin.

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