If you have ever gone to your high school reunion you have probably noticed that aging can have a wide range of effects on people. Some people seem to have been frozen in time while others look much older than they really are. While a large aspect of how you outwardly age is based upon genetics, some external factors can contribute to signs of accelerated aging.
The fight against signs of aging has been going on for decades. Millions of dollars are spent in the beauty industry to try and conceal, fix, and even surgically alter appearance to mitigate signs of aging. While it can be easy to fall into the marketing tactics of social pressure to look a certain way, it is important to realize that aging is a part of life and there is no way to avoid the inevitable. While you cannot change the fact that your body ages, you can have an impact on the rate at which it ages.
Below is an in-depth look at premature aging which includes what it is, what can cause it, as well as actions you can take to mitigate it. Being informed about premature aging can better allow you to act proactively to prevent it from occurring.
What is premature aging?
When you think of aging you most likely think of the amount of time that you have been alive. With this definition, it can be hard to understand how you can prematurely age unless you can time travel.
Aging is best understood as the body’s response to time spent on earth. In this sense, there are two ways of looking at age. Breaking up aging into chronological aging and biological aging is a good way to differentiate between your time spent on earth and your body’s response to that time on earth.
The effects of aging on the body are caused by internal and external stressors that compound over time. When you are young, your body can keep up with these stressors but as you age your body starts to not be able to catch up.
Premature aging results from an increase in environmental stressors that impact your body’s biological age. In this sense, your body’s response to time seems more progressed when compared to your chronological age.
What causes premature aging?
There are many different causes of premature aging. The main culprits of premature aging are items that lead to damage or malfunction within the body. The human body is an extremely complex and efficient machine that is able to perform a wide variety of tasks to keep you alive. When a part of the body is lagging behind it can cause a cascade where the body starts to become less efficient at carrying out its job.
Below is a look at four different causes of premature aging. Knowing what can cause premature aging can allow you to steer clear and give your body the opportunity to age gracefully.
Tobacco and alcohol
The use of tobacco and excessive use of alcohol is known to have detrimental impacts on your health. Risks of serious health complications can drastically increase as a result of chronic tobacco and alcohol consumption. These factors are why both tobacco and alcohol are major aims in public health campaigns as they can drastically impact your health and lead to premature death.
What is less commonly known is that it can accelerate your biological aging. Smoking in particular can drastically accelerate signs of aging like wrinkles and degradation of collagen in the skin. While smoking may have once been a status symbol and cool, it is now a vice that can have serious health consequences in addition to causing you to look older than you actually are.
Too much sun exposure
Sun exposure is an important aspect of health and today more people are spending time indoors in front of a screen. As a result, more people are vitamin B deficient and are becoming less in touch with the world around them. Exposure to the sun and the outdoors in moderation is good for your overall physical and mental well-being. Exposure to nature and natural light is linked with elevated mood and increases in wakefulness.
While exposure to the great outdoors is beneficial for both mind and body, it is important to acknowledge that too much exposure to direct sunlight can be detrimental. The UV radiation from sunlight can cause sunburns and damage to the surface of your skin. Repeat sunburns and excessive exposure to sunlight can accelerate signs of aging.
Tanning beds are one of the worst things you can do for your skin. While in the short term a tanning bed may provide you with an even tan, in the long term they can greatly accelerate your skiing biological aging.
Tanning beds work by emitting UV radiation to the surface of the skin. This radiation causes skin cells to produce more melanin as a means of protecting their DNA from damage. Melanin is the molecule that gives skin pigmentation. Tanning beds are not safe and one study conducted in 2007 found that those that started indoor tanning before the age of 35 were at a 70% greater risk of developing skin cancer.
Repeat UV exposure is also linked to deteriorations in skin appearance over time. Research seems to indicate that UV exposure may account for nearly 80% of the outward signs of aging on the skin. Knowing that UV exposure can cause premature aging is helpful to people who care about their appearance as most people would most likely choose to look younger for longer over a tan that only lasts a few weeks.
Unlike other causes of premature aging, genetics are not acquired throughout life. When you are conceived the blueprint for how you are made is stored within the DNA of your cells. When you are conceived the blueprint for how you are made is stored within the DNA of your cells. DNA plays a large role in who you are, how your body function, and how it ages. When people talk about having good genes from your parents they are talking about having been dealt a good genetic code.
Genetics can be a large cause of premature aging. Some people can do all the right things and still end up looking older than they really are while others may be doing all the wrong things and still look young. Even though your genetics can play a large contributing role in how fast your body ages, you should ensure that you support your body the best you can to allow it the opportunity to age to the best of its abilities.
Ways to stifle signs of premature aging
While it is difficult to pinpoint all of the causes of premature aging, the best thing you can do is support your body to allow it to age the best it can. Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your skin are the best ways that you can support your body to age gracefully.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle is somewhat of a catch-all phrase that includes eating right, getting regular exercise, and maintaining your mental and social health. While these may seem unrelated to how fast your body ages, in reality, all of these factors can improve the way you age and can stifle premature aging. Stress, nutritional deficiency, and poor physical health can all take their toll on your body and accelerate aging. Through exercise, taking supplements to support your overall wellbeing like MitoQ, and eating a well-balanced diet you set your body up for success.
Take care of your skin
One of the first outwardly apparent indicators of aging is the skin. Dark circles, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and dry skin are all indicators of aging. The best way to fight against premature aging of the skin to utilize products designed to help revitalize your skin, support a youthful and healthy complexion, and aid in protecting it.
MitoQ Skincare Range is a great way to improve the appearance of your skin. Utilizing the topical power of the skincare range in conjunction with MitoQ Skin Protection Complex can support your skin and give it the best shot at standing the test of time while looking youthful.
In conclusion, aging is a natural process that everyone undergoes. No matter how much money you spend to look younger, the time and environmental stressors always catch up.
While aging is inevitable, there are ways that you can age more gracefully and limit premature aging. Avoiding common causes of premature aging in addition to living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body can go a long way in prolonging your natural youthful appearance.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.