Aging is a part of life. Someday, (if not already) our youthful skin, glowing complexion, and wrinkle-free disposition are sure to begin losing life. Some choose to accept this aging process, while others combat it with a plethora of at-home skincare and anti-aging treatments.
Skin begins to noticeably age after the age of 25, and after the age of 30, we lose roughly 1% of collagen per year, leading to loss of volume in the face, skin elasticity and resilience, and wrinkles.
But what about those of us who show signs of aging even before we should? Premature aging can affect anyone and its symptoms are simple: signs of aging earlier than is standard. For instance, grey hairs, wrinkles, and sagging skin in your early to mid-twenties.
So what are the signs of premature aging and how do we stop them? Let's get started.
Symptom: Fatigue/Reduced Energy
Aging affects us internally, not just externally. As we age, the cells throughout our bodies lose resilience, including those of our important organs, our bones, and our muscle and ligament tissues. Our metabolism may start to slow down as well, affecting our body weight and reducing the amount of energy that we output.
If you begin noticing a decrease in energy, it's time to pay attention to your body. I always recommend consulting with a medical professional first prior to attempting anything extravagant to regain energy, but in my experience, depleted baseline levels of energy can often be solved with a couple of mindful changes in one's lifestyle.
If you'd like a mild approach to increased energy, take a look into your diet and exercise regimen. What's the benefit of altering diet and exercise compared to just grabbing an extra coffee/energy drink or supplement throughout the day? These lifestyle changes last, they ensure we don't develop co-dependency on other supplements and sugar filled energy sources, and they affect our mind with positivity.
With great diet, comes great responsibility. Diets high in processed foods, processed sugars, fat, and carbohydrates are sure to slow down anyone's metabolism. Processed sugars are sugars extracted from sources like sugar cane or sugar beet and have nearly zero nutritional value, yet high in calories.
It's important to know that a surplus of carbohydrates can potentially cause weight gain in individuals not burning these carbs as an energy source. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose for immediate energy use after consumption. However, once the body sees this glucose being left untouched, it converts excess glucose into glycogen, which is stored in the liver, converted into fatty acids, and circulated to the body to be stored as fat in adipose tissue.
The takeaway? Carbs aren't inherently evil; they're a source of natural energy. But it's important to take them from healthy sources, such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Otherwise, pulling them from pastries, sweets, white bread, white rice, sugary cereals, etc. can cause sluggishness, sugar crashes, and even health complications later in life.
Meanwhile, exercise can boost metabolism, rejuvenate the body, provide long-lasting energy, and make the body more efficient. Cellular turnover may be improved, circulation and blood flow may be increased, and you may experience a more youthful energy and outlook that keeps you feeling ageless.
Symptom: Dark Circles/Undereye Bags
The eyes are the windows to the soul. When we're full of life, energy, and optimism, our eyes glow with these same energies and people can physically see them. Sadly, the same goes if we are exhausted, malnourished, dehydrated, and aging quickly. Undereye bags and dark circles tend to age us beyond our years and not only that; they have the tendency to make us look perpetually tired, possibly ill, and overall like we are having a very, very rough day.
Disclaimers first, undereye bags and dark circles may be genetic and there's not much that can be done in that department. But the other root causes of undereye bags/dark circles are quite simple:
- Lack of proper sleep
- Thinning skin
These are some of the major contributing causes to those pesky dark half-moons lingering beneath our beautiful eyeballs. But the question still remains: how do we stop them? And what can we do to prevent them from coming back?
Another disclaimer incoming: dark circles may be an indicator of thyroid disease or anemia so it's important to see a doctor if you're unsure whether this is a symptom of something more serious.
For the rest of us, we just may not be getting proper sleep. When you don't get enough restorative sleep, the blood vessels under the eyes dilate, meaning pooled blood that is noticeable because the such thin skin beneath the eyes.
Water can be a big factor, too. Drinking enough water per day can reduce puffiness and dark circles because it can offset how much sodium you're intaking per day. Surprise: high sodium intake can cause dehydration and swelling. Who would've thunk?
Other contributing factors include stress, smoking, and further unhealthy lifestyle habits that can be doing more damage than good. If you feel that you get enough sleep and water and still find yourself looking like a ghost in the mornings, it's time to asses your current state of mind, habits, and things you're putting into your body. Are you stress-free? Are you eating terrible foods? If you dive deep enough, you can often take grasp of the root cause.
Lastly, trying out some undereye creams can be extremely beneficial for your skin, can brighten the affected areas, and can replenish and nourish those areas to reduce signs of aging. I recommend using products with vitamin C and/or retinol. Something akin to Gin Amber Beauty's Retinol Eye Cream that rejuvenates the applied area.
Symptom: Fine Lines/Wrinkles
You're noticing them in the mirror and you're thinking not yet, not yet! Give me a few more years at least! We feel you. We really do.
Fine lines and wrinkles don't care what age they begin to appear. They're pesky, hard to get rid of, and age you worse than anything else. From crow's feet to laugh lines, neck lines and brow wrinkles, these lines etch years into your facial features and can really impact your self-esteem, especially if they begin to show up a little earlier than you would have liked.
Would anyone like to guess the number one culprit of wrinkles and fine lines? Yep, you guessed it: our sun.
Consistent UV radiation exposure speeds up the aging process. It turns skin leathery, can cause a melee of skin-related issues (and even cancer), and wears down skin cells, collagen, and elastin, resulting in hard-to-kick wrinkles and fine lines.
Another culprit? Stress. They aren't lying when they say stress ages you; consistent worry, constant anxiety, and unhealthy mental states can seriously begin to take a toll on your skin and complexion. So what now?
There are creams and serums out there that can help plump up the skin, but nothing in my experience has ever helped fine lines and wrinkles as much as the dermaroller. By applying regularly (while following all recommended instructions), dermarolling boosts collagen, can erase fine lines and wrinkles, and adds volume to skin.
For those interested in a quicker method, there's always Botox, which essentially freezes the muscle guilty for causing the wrinkles. The downside? Botox is expensive, it doesn't last forever, and it might be less than adequate for those afraid of needles. Not to say that dermarolling is for everyone, but it's definitely a tried and true method for younger skin.
Lastly, drinking enough water and applying adequate sunscreen can prevent further wrinkles from forming, especially for those active souls living life in the great outdoors. Water hydrates the skin and its cells, while sunscreen will protect you from the harsh ultraviolet radiation and prevent further cellular breakdown from our friend, the sun.
Symptom: Hair Loss
Losing your hair in your twenties is no laughing matter. Although this type of "aging" mostly affects men, primarily because of a nasty thing called Male Pattern Baldness, women can also be affected by this from other reasons.
We'd all love to keep our precious locks, but the truth of the matter is, hair can be temperamental. Hair loss can be caused by stress, genetics, hygiene, hats, chemicals, and more.
But it's still a gut-wrenching blow to the self-esteem. So what options are there really?
I have a whole blog on male hair regrowth, which contains tips that women can follow as well. Long story short, medication (such as finasteride) can truly help men experiencing accelerated hair loss. My blog explains how these medications work and even the root cause of male pattern baldness.
However, minoxidil and dermarolling are options for both men and women that have proven to have desirable results. Minoxidil, a vasodilator, is a topical cream or serum that, when applied, dilates the blood vessels to allow nutrients to the hair follicles, while dermarolling essentially utilizes the body's natural healing process to allow for more blood flow and an upsurge in collagen. The result? Faster hair regrowth and thicker, more visible hair.
Premature aging can hit us at anytime in our youth. And while these symptoms are incredibly undesirable, a punch to the self-esteem, and can fill us with anxiety and uncertainty, it's important to understand the root cause of why these symptoms are occurring.
Anti-aging is essentially a battle and the more tools and knowledge you have, the more successful you'll be maintaining your youthful complexion, composure, and of course, your skin.
I hope these tips helped some of you and if you have any other anti-aging recommendations or even your own premature aging experiences, please feel free to drop them in the comments below!