There are many things that can affect the aging of the skin. Air pollution is pretty high on the list, as are some prescription and over-the-counter drugs, but the two most damaging agents are the sun’s rays and cigarette smoking.
The Sun’s Rays
Unprotected exposure to the rays of the sun is probably the single most damaging thing that we can do to our skin. A certain amount of exposure to the sun is essential for good health, but overexposure is anything but a good thing. A glowing suntan is the symbol of good health and an active lifestyle in today’s world, but the fact is that there is simply no safe way to acquire a suntan. And while the skin might look healthy, it has actually been damaged.
The ultraviolet rays of the sun are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin in our skin. So while you are basking in the sun seeking the perfect golden hue, you are actually allowing the sun to suck out the “stuff” that keeps your skin young and healthy.
Unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays is also responsible for many forms of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be deadly.
Everybody knows that smoking is dangerous to your health. It causes lung cancer among other things. Many people do not know, however, that smoking can damage the skin and cause premature aging.
The repetitive act of drawing on a cigarette causes lines to form around the mouth. When the act is repeated often enough and long enough, those lines become permanently etched into the skin.
Cigarette smoke is an eye irritant. When you are constantly surrounded by cigarette smoke, you squint. You many not even be aware of the fact that you are squinting, but you are. Squinting causes lines called crow’s feet to form on the outer corners of your eyes.