Have you had your “OMG – I have a wrinkle” moment?  Unless you have discovered the fountain of youth or are under 30, you know exactly what I am talking about.  I started to see the first signs of “a” wrinkle in my 30s.  I know what you are thinking it couldn’t have been a big deal.  You are right!  At the time, it probably wasn’t a big deal, but fast forward a few years and I wish I had paid more attention.  No excuses, but we have come a long way understanding how lifestyle and environmental factors cause wrinkles (other than natural aging). Years of scientific research has provided us with a list of the top contributors.  If you want to be wrinkle-free for as long as possible listen up!  Before we get started please note it is best to change early, but it is never too early to change.

  1. Excessive Sun Exposure

I know we all want to be golden brown.  I mean who hasn’t uttered the words “I look better with a tan?”  Sun exposure (UV rays) is the number one cause of wrinkles! UV rays from the sun cause damage to the skin by breaking down elasticity. What do we have without elasticity…sagging, fine lines and wrinkles.  Here is my advice to you.  Skip the real sun and check out sunless tanning alternatives.  Don’t forget to moisturize and wear your sunscreen!  You will stay youthful way beyond your years.

  1. Smoking

Honestly, I have never really been a smoker.  I know that it is an addiction and as I understand it, difficult to kick.  I am not saying this is going to be easy, but when it comes to your skin cigarette smoke is toxic!  With each puff you are inhaling an unimaginable quantity of chemicals and toxins.  Say goodbye to your youth!  The chemicals and toxins in cigarette smoke destroy the collagen and elastin needed for firm, smooth skin. Oxygen! We need it to live and your skin is your largest living organ! Smoking restricts blood flow and thereby deprives your skin of oxygen and the nutrients needed for skin renewal and a healthy glow.  My advice? I would like to say STOP, but I know it isn’t as easy as that.  If you are ready to give it up for better skin and can do it on your own, KUDOS!  For everyone else, please get help. Your skin will thank you.

  1. Inadequate Sleep

This has always been an issue for me. Unfortunately, it does not get better with age! You girls 50ish and above know what I am talking about. Instead of telling you to get more sleep (I have been trying to tell myself that for years), let me explain what it does to your skin. Without enough sleep, the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) decreases and an excess of Cortisol is produced. Cortisol is a hormone which breaks down skin cells causing wrinkles while HGH essentially maintains skin thickness and elasticity. So – what to do?  Don’t fight sleep embrace it.  Try shutting down (iPad, phone, computer, TV) a little earlier than your actual bed time.  Make a to-do list for tomorrow and forget it. Find what works for you. Are you feeling sleepy?

  1. Not Wearing Sunscreen

I am passionate about this one.  It is never, ever too early or too late for sunscreen. Put it on every day and reapply during the day. See what I mean, I am preaching before I have told you why.  Remember what we said earlier?  Sun exposure is the #1 cause of wrinkles (after normal aging).  The only way to avoid excessive sun exposure is with regular sunscreen use. You are exposed to the sun constantly in ways you may never think of such as, through a window, walking to your car or reflections from shiny surfaces. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily use of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF 30 or greater. Daily use is a must! Even short periods of intense sun exposure can lead to wrinkles and skin damage. My motto is apply and reapply.

  1. Sugar and Alcohol Consumption

Sometimes there is nothing better than chocolate and wine. The key here is moderation!  Sugar breaks down in the body to create harmful molecules that damage your collagen and elastin.  Remember – without collagen and elastin to hold up our skin we become saggy and wrinkly.  Bah! I love my sugar, but I will give it up for my skin (and my waistline). Time to dispel a myth…alcohol does not breakdown into sugar!  Alcohol dehydrates the skin. Over time, the lack of hydration will cause your skin to lose elasticity.  No elasticity, bye-bye firm youthful skin.  My advice – enjoy life to its fullest.  You may find it relieves some of your cravings for sugar and alcohol.  If you are a social eater and drinker (like me) – moderation!

Be Radiant Austin!