Protect yourself from the sun
Premature ageing is often seen as unavoidable and a natural part of getting older; however, up to 90 per cent of the visible signs of ageing are caused by the sun, even though they may not show up until years after sun exposure has occurred. To help avoid premature ageing, wear an SPF of at least factor 15 every day (even on cloudy days as UV rays can penetrate clouds) and switch to a higher SPF when the sun is at its strongest.
Cut down on sugar
While the majority of premature ageing is caused by sun exposure, poor diets can also be to blame for wrinkles. Sugar is a staple of many people’s diets, yet is also a leading cause of skin ageing. When blood sugar levels are high a process called glycation occurs which damages the collagen in your skin. Once damaged, the collagen hardens, leading to wrinkles and sagging. To keep skin firm and smooth, make sure you check the sugar content of products and cut down on sugary foods.
Smoking is not only notoriously bad for our health and a major cause of cancer and heart disease, it can also be disastrous for your appearance. Cigarette smoke can irritate the skin and deprive it of oxygen and nutrients, while the act of smoking can cause wrinkles to appear around the mouth. If you are a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your appearance and health is to try to break the habit now.
Keep skin well hydrated
In order to keep your skin supple and smooth, it is essential to keep it hydrated both inside and out. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain your skin’s moisture levels, and eat foods such as fruit and vegetables which have a high water content. To moisturise the skin from the outside, use a moisturiser suitable for your skin type or hydrating oils such as vitamin E, avocado or almond oil. Also, it may be worth getting a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.
Get your eyes tested
The area around your eyes can be one of the first places to display signs of ageing such as fine lines and crow’s feet, and these can be exacerbated by unconscious frowning or squinting caused by poor eyesight. If you find yourself regularly squinting to see better, it is important for both your health and appearance to get your eyes checked and invest in some glasses or contact lenses if required.
Eat wrinkle-busting foods
To help ward off wrinkles, try to eat a diet full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help to keep skin supple and nourished from within, preventing dehydration and dryness, while antioxidants help fight against the free radicals that cause wrinkles. Good foods to stock up on include oily fish, flax seeds and antioxidant-rich berries. Spinach is also a good source of lutein, which recent research has shown can prevent wrinkles by helping to retain the skin's moisture and elasticity, increasing lipid levels and preventing damage caused by free radicals.
You might not think that your state of mind has much to do with the state of your appearance, but this is not the case. In fact, a study has shown that chronic stress can actually accelerate cellular ageing, leading to wrinkles. To help keep your skin wrinkle-free, try experimenting with some stress-busting techniques to help cope with stressful situations, such as meditation, exercise or yoga.