Ageing is a fact of life but how fast or slow that ageing process happens is entirely up to us.
An accelerated ageing process is largely due to extrinsic factors, like exposure to environmental stressors. These stressors expose our skin to free radicals and oxidative stress which cause damaging inflammation that impacts the quality of collagen and elastin, inhibits our production of hyaluronic acid and limits our skin’s resilience and integrity.
So, what elements of our day-to-day lives are contributing to extrinsic ageing? Of course, the impact of UVA and UVB damage is the most commonly discussed but there are many other environmental stressors in our everyday lives that you may not have considered! Let’s take a look at the three key culprits.
Unhealthy air quality takes a serious toll on our skin and in major cities like ours, it’s almost inevitable once we step outside. From traffic fumes, industrial pollution, cigarette smoke in the hair to haze from fires, the pollution we are exposed to in our day-to-day life is profound. When our skin is exposed to pollution, it often feels irritated. For those that experience skin conditions like eczema, pollution exacerbates these conditions and can cause further inflammation.
The damage from free radicals, activated from pollution, start to damage the skin’s barrier. When the barrier becomes weakened, it loses the ability to keep the skin hydrated, firm and protected. That’s when we start to see the skin become more lax and fine lines and wrinkles start to set in.
Blue light, emitted from our devices such as phones and computers, has a proven long-term negative response on the skin. In a time where we are glued to our digital devices more than ever, blue light has been swiftly named the modern skin aggressor.
So, what is the impact of blue light on our skin? It has been likened to the exposure of UVA rays, known to cause premature ageing. Blue light has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin, even down to the dermis where our collagen and elastin resides and trigger oxidative stress. This is when we begin to experience a loss of firmness in the skin as well as visible lines appearing.
Unfortunately, the damage of blue light doesn’t stop there. In addition to damaging our eyes with late-night scrolling, it has been indicated that prolonged exposure to blue light at night can confuse our body’s natural circadian rhythm. Causing it to ‘think’ it is daytime and not late at night, the skin’s natural repair process is hindered and leads to dark under-eye circles, pigmentation and accelerated ageing.
We know the likes of smoking and vaping have a considerable effect on our bodies but the impact on our skin is just as damaging. If you’re a smoker or vaper, you’re exposing your body to thousands of chemicals. With each cigarette that you light, you’re increasing the breakdown of your collagen. This is the key contributor to wrinkles and fine lines, especially vertical lip lines.
Smoking also hinders your skin’s ability to heal so, if you experience the likes of eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne or injure yourself, it’s likely your condition will worsen and struggle to repair. This is because smoking constricts blood flow and oxygen from reaching the skin cells and hinders its appearance to recover.
With these damaging contributors in mind, what can we do to protect and support our skin? Firstly, understanding the role of extrinsic factors in poor skin health is crucial. When we’re aware of the, we’re able to consciously make proactive changes. Naturally, taking note of our lifestyle habits is integral but our approach to skincare is just as important.
Wearing a highly protective SPF is a non-negotiable paired with daily use of protective antioxidants. Antioxidants have been proven to effectively defend against free radical damage when applied each day in our skincare routine. When combined with sun protection, you’re able to seamlessly level-up your morning routine to prevent, defend and recover from these age-accelerators.
It does this by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals lack a full collection of electrons so to compensate, they steal from other molecules, damaging them in the process. Antioxidants sacrifice some of their own electrons to ‘switch off’ the free radical, break the damaging chain reaction and prevent further damage to cells in our body.
At +Aesthetics, our treatment menu is loaded with an atelier of evidence based cosmetic treatments and globally curated skincare. When getting started on a new skin health journey, we recommend beginning with our consultation experience. This is a chance for both you and our team to get to know your skin on a deeper level and recommend professionally prescribed treatments and products to correct your concerns and support your goals. Plus, each consultation includes a complementary LED therapy and peptide mask treatment, leaving your skin hydrated, and glowing, and who doesn’t want that?!