3 Lifestyle Factors that Cause Premature Ageing
Here’s a basic question many surgeons ask their patients: “When you look in the mirror, are you surprised at the face you see looking back at you?” I know the answer I hear at my practice in Bondi junction. Patients who are in their 40’s and beyond routinely complain that signs of ageing have become pronounced on a once-youthful face.
I let them know that how pronounced those signs are directly relates to the lifestyle choices they made in the past and continue to make today. Some choices we make are better than others when it comes to playing Beat the Clock. This post focuses on three lifestyle behaviours that contribute to making you look old before your time.
Poor Sleep Habits and Premature Ageing
“In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Centre found that sleep quality impacts skin function and ageing. The recently completed study, commissioned by Estée Lauder, demonstrated that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin ageing and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Poor sleepers also had worse assessment of their own skin and facial appearance.” – Cleveland University Hospitals
Studies have shown that the amount we sleep – both too much and too little – may contribute to unhealthy weight gain, excess snacking, unsafe hormone imbalance, and even an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as premature ageing.
This is bad news for Australia, a nation of poor sleepers. The Better Health Channel estimates that approximately 5% of Australians suffer from sleep apnoea. Almost everyone is at a risk for poor sleep as they grow older and the quest for a solid 6-8 hours of blissful slumber becomes more elusive.
Just one night of missed sleep can lead to puffy eyes and sallow skin.
Alcohol Excess and Premature Ageing
“When alcohol is metabolised, it works as a vasodilator in that it widens the blood vessels that bring blood to the face. This can cause redness as well as puffiness or swelling. When you consume a lot of alcohol over a long period of time, the blood vessels continue to grow and enlarge. This will eventually lead to a loss of skin tone and/or permanent redness, including skin that is blotchy and similar to rosacea. This redness can also turn into broken capillaries or vessels that can burst, especially around the nose and face.” – Dr. Oz Website
Tasty though it might be, alcohol is treated as a toxin by your body, which works to expel it through your skin. This causes your pores to become enlarged and makes your skin look pasty. Alcohol also dehydrates your skin, making it appear less plump and youthful the morning after a night of bending your elbow.
Junk Food and Premature Ageing
Processed foods are a treasure trove of things your tastebuds enjoy, but these same ingredients – excess salt and processed sugar, not to mention preservatives, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and more – are very hard for your body to digest. Undigested, they become toxins in your system, causing your liver to break down.
In February 2013, a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that diets high in carbohydrates and processed sugars were associated with acne. The takeaway idea from this: caring for the outside of your body starts with nourishing yourself from within with fresh, wholesome foods, not junk.
If you want radiant skin, the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is good to remember.