The only difference between normal ageing and premature ageing is the timeline. This is because ageing— though a natural process—can be sped up by a range of factors. Premature ageing refers to a condition where the signs of ageing occur earlier than is standard. This could be linked to many factors around us, such as unprotected exposure to sunlight, harsh cold weather, lack of adequate sleep and lifestyle habits. For example, we effortlessly speed up the ageing process just by getting a tan or going out in the cold.
Smoking and drinking alcohol also play huge roles in speeding up the ageing process, such as the smoker’s lines developing around the mouth or lines on the forehead due to the skin being deprived of nutrients and oxygen. Studies show that smoking can activate enzymes that break down the elasticity of your skin.
Genetics also plays a role in how quickly we age.
Although fine lines, wrinkles, and grey hair are generally the first things that come to mind when we talk about ageing, other signs include the formation of sunspots (also called age spots), dry or itchy skin, sagging skin and sunken cheeks or temples.
This is because ageing affects our skin in a variety of ways. Examples include:
Sebaceous glands produce less oil and the skin produces less hyaluronic acid as you age, making it harder to keep the skin moist and resulting in dryness and itchiness.
The breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres causes the skin to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to snap back after stretching.
Loss of fat below the skin in the cheeks, temples, chin, nose and eye area may result in loosening skin, sunken eyes and a “skeletal” appearance.
The good news is that taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of premature ageing.
While ageing is inevitable, there are several steps you can take to slow down the process. These include staying out of strong sunlight, applying a quality sunscreen or even taking a holistic approach by eliminating other factors that could be causing you to speed up the ageing process, such as alcohol, smoking, etc.
Also, make sure to use the right products for your skin and take into account that whatever goes into your body takes effect on your skin.
But if you need – or want – extra help to keep your skin in shape, we offer a wide variety of safe treatments such as injectables, microneedling and skin peels.