It’s not only a daily swag of skincare products that keep your complexion fresh. Lifestyle has a big impact on how quickly your skin ages and if you want to look younger for longer (who doesn’t?) steer clear of these habits.
Raiding the cookie jar for an afternoon sugar hit might be tasty but it’s not doing your face any favours.
Foods like white bread, cookies, pastries, anything packed with processed sugar and even some fruits rate high on the glycemic index (GI).
The body turns high GI foods into glucose super quickly, which leads to a speedy spike in insulin levels. This spike creates a surge of inflammation in the body, which isn’t good news for your skin. It stimulates enzymes that play a role in breaking down collagen and can also worsen skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.
Opting for healthy low GI foods - which release insulin more slowly and steadily - is a skin saving way to fill up at meal times. In general, a diet including a range of healthy fats (olive oil, avocado), lean proteins (salmon), fibre (broccoli and cauliflower), antioxidants (berries) can reduce inflammation in the body.
Consistently missing out of quality shut-eye puts you on a fast track to looking years older.
Sleep is a time for the body to heal, renew and flush toxins from the skin. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re preventing your body carrying out these crucial functions at its most optimal level.
Dark undereye circles are the most obvious tell-tale sign you’re not getting sufficient ZZZZzz; lack of sleep causes the blood vessels to dilate and show through the delicate skin under the eye. Poor sleep also affects skin elasticity; leading to a sagging complexion with lines and wrinkles becoming more pronounced.
Breakouts can also increase. Our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol when we don’t get enough sleep; leading to fresh breakouts and making existing acne worse.
The quality of sleep is also key. Maybe you’re sleeping 8 hours a night but if it’s restless, broken sleep your skin still won’t have the chance to heal itself like it would with 8 quality hours.
Of the environmental factors that lead to premature skin ageing the sun takes first prize as most damaging. We’re all for heading outdoors and getting active but don’t skip the sunscreen.
Spending too long in the sun without quality sun protection leads to wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, sun spots and a change in skin texture.
The UV light from the sun responsible for causing most of the visible signs is UVA. UVA rays seriously damage collagen structure because they penetrate more deeply into the layers of skin than UVB rays.
UVB rays, however, are responsible for the more immediate result of too much time in the sun, sunburn, leading to dry, tight and sore skin. Overexposure to UVB can also increase the risk of skin cancer.
Always opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen; it offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Including sun protection in your daily routine, no matter the weather or season, is a non-negotiable if you’re truly committed slowing down the signs of ageing.
If you’re constantly stressed, anxious and tense, it’s guaranteed to show up on your face.
Under stress, our bodies produce the stress hormone cortisol, just like it does when we’re not sleeping enough. If you’re living in a chronic state of stress, cortisol is constantly surging through your body.
This triggers an elevation in blood sugar, which damages the skin’s collagen and elastin. Cortisol can also lead to thinning of the skin, slow wound healing and make the skin more susceptible to infection.
High levels of anxiety can also suppress your skin’s hyaluronic acid production which can result in dryness, making wrinkles and worry lines appear deeper.
Opt for an extra nourishing moisturiser during stressful periods to give your skin extra support and stay hydrated with plenty of water. Be kind to skin that’s already under stress - skip toxin-filled products and make plant-basedd skincare choices instead.