Aging is a body’s natural and inevitable process. It slows skin cell turnover and recovery, leading to signs of aging such as thinner and dryer skin, wrinkles and fine lines, and age spots. For some, these changes happen faster than expected – this is known as accelerated aging or premature aging.
The science behind accelerated aging
Telomeres are repetitive sections of DNA protein structures at each end of chromosomes that protect them from damage. Telomeres play a key role in a cell’s fate and aging by adjusting the cellular response to stress and growth stimulation. As we age, the length of telomeres shortens and, thus, DNA is more prone to damage and will eventually die off. This process is known as natural aging. However, some environmental, lifestyle, and behavioral factors can speed up the telomere shortening while making DNA more prone to damage. As a result, aging can happen earlier than expected.
As mentioned above, we cannot avoid aging altogether – but there are certain skincare products that can help address signs of aging.
Wear sunscreen daily regardless of the season
Sun exposure accelerates aging. UV light causes DNA to degrade alongside collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkled, sagging, and stretched skin. Constant UV exposure can also cause dark spots by increasing melanin production (the pigment that gives skin its color). Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen is one of the simplest and best ways to prevent sun damage and premature aging. It protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Add retinol to your nighttime skincare routine
Retinol - a vitamin A derivative - is a weaker form of prescription-strength retinoids that can take years off your skin. It’s biologically active and is regarded as the gold standard for antiaging skincare because it targets aging woes from texture to tone.
Retinol penetrates the deeper layer of the skin (the dermis), speeds up surface cell turnover, and prompts new cells to grow underneath to increase cell renewal. It also helps thicken the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) through increased cell division. Retinol also boosts hyaluronic acid content, the skin’s potent humectant that gives skin a plump effect with a firm, youthful contour. With continuous use, retinol stimulates fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin, which support and strengthen skin as well as enhance elasticity while softening wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, retinol stimulates blood vessels, giving the skin a youthful, rosy color.
Incorporate antioxidants into your morning routine
Antioxidants fend off free radical damage that leads to premature aging. Their free-radical-fighting power helps protect the cellular structures, defy signs of premature aging, and even prevent precancerous changes caused by UV exposure and pollution. Try a serum that contains vitamins C and E. A potent antioxidant like vitamin C helps synthesize collagen bundles, boosting collagen. Collagen production, in turn, helps enhance elasticity and firmness, leaving skin with fewer wrinkles and fine lines. Since vitamin C hinders melanin production, it also helps lighten dark spots and discoloration. Vitamin E, alongside its antioxidant activity, soothes skin, replenishes moisture, and protects skin against aging.
Other tips beyond skincare
In addition, since sun exposure is the biggest culprit of accelerated aging, limit direct exposure to the sun whenever possible and wear sun-protective clothing and sunglasses. Moreover, managing the stress that triggers inflammatory responses and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and alcohol can help halt accelerated aging.