There are several major factors that influence how fast we age, as well as how “gracefully” we age. Some of these factors are beyond our powers to do anything about, while others we can influence to stay younger looking longer. So let’s look at them a bit closer:
Gene’s influence on our aging speed and the way we age accounts for 20-40% . For example, it mostly depends on your genes, when or whether you will develop a nasolabial fold. However, research shows that external aging factors still make a much bigger difference. How would they explain Kate Moss phenomenon???
2. Skin Type
Moisture is essential for skin’s optimum functioning. Oily skin has a coating of sebum that prevents it from loosing moisture and, to a certain extent, protects it from the aggressive environment. In fact, sebum is rich in Vitamin E which is a potent anti-oxidant!
3. Race, Culture and Geography
You must have noticed that black and Asian skin generally look younger. Some researchers think it is due to the fact that darker skin has more natural pigment that reflects light and protects skin from sun damage. Culture is also a major aging factor. For example, Italians and Spaniards love to sunbathe and spend a lot of time in the sun. That is why they develop signs of aging earlier than some other nations.
Also if you happen to be fair skinned living in sunny Italy or Greece, you will get as much sun as the native population without having their levels of natural melanin. As a result - you get more sun damage.
4. Bone Structure
Have you noticed that people with high pronounced cheek-bones tend to look younger. I guess it is just a visual effect?!
Healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, good fats is a big part of anti-aging strategy. What about calories? Do they make any difference to our aging speed? Here experts seem to disagree. According to numerous studies, low calorie diet helps to stay young longer. However, with age we naturally loose fat tissue supporting the skin and as a result skin starts to sag. That is why extreme no-fat diet results in more sagging and wrinkles. Find the golden middle!
Either it is a stressful job, long nights, smoking, intense partying or alcohol – all of these lifestyle factors add up to your aging speed.
Here you have it! It looks like we can actually influence 50% of these aging factors. Though nowadays, thanks to plastic surgery, changing your bone structure is a possibility as well.
Sources: This post was inspired by and article in Cosmopolitan, Uk Feb.'08 "The Age Factor". I also use some other resources including Aging Research, Factors Affecting Your Skin
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