Daily Habits That Contribute To Premature Aging Of The Skin

By Dr. Manjula P. Badiger (KAA Expert)

Healthy, radiant, youthful skin is something that we all desire. However, we might unwittingly have picked up harmful habits that actually promote premature skin aging. Let’s take a look at some common habits that can make us look older than we are. Here are a few samples.

What Is Premature Aging Of Skin?

Aging is a natural process and your body will start showing aging signs after you reach 30 years of age. Aging happens due to the slowing down of our cell turnover process, collagen breakdown, over-exposure to ultraviolet light, oxidation, inflammation, and glycation. The primary reason for premature ageing is damage to our DNA due to the shortening of telomeres. Telemores are protective end caps to keep the DNA safe. When they shorten the DNA is left exposed to wear and damage. Aging is a fallout of this process.

For some, this biological aging starts earlier than expected which is termed premature aging. We normally relate to aging through visible skin issues but our body ages internally as well. Premature aging of the skin can manifest as loss of skin elasticity, dry and itchy skin, sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Other visible signs include hair loss, greying of hair and sunken cheeks and temples. Some people might also experience hyperpigmentation around their chest area.

Factors And Causes That Lead To Premature Aging Of Skin

Ayurveda advocates following a comprehensive beneficial routine for preserving youthful vigor and combating aging. This routine addresses aspects like lifestyle, dietary, psychological, and behavioral aspects to restore balance at the level of the mind, body, and emotions.[1]Rao, R. V. (2018). Ayurveda and the science of aging. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 9(3), 225-232. But amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life, many of us have actually adopted harmful practices that promote premature aging. Let’s take a look at a few aspects of our daily routine that cause premature aging of skin:

1. Excessive Sun Exposure

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is one of the most significant factors that contribute to the premature aging of your skin. Exposure to UV light causes your skin’s connective tissue (elastin and collagen) to break down. As this supportive connective tissue degrades your skin loses flexibility and strength and takes diminishes your skin glow. It begins to develop wrinkles and sag prematurely.[2][Wrinkles](https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrinkles/symptoms-causes/syc-20354927 “Wrinkles”).Mayo Clinic.

To prevent the sun from damaging your skin, always use a sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15 that offers both UVB and UVA protection. Also, try to limit exposure to the sun when it’s most intense. You can also wear clothes that cover your arms and legs and use a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself. Many people seek sun exposure because our bodies can produce vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. However, experts suggest that we need very little time in the sun to do this – about 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun is thought to be enough.[3][Sun and Skin]( https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/07/sun-skin “Sun and Skin”).National Institutes of Health.

2. Overusing Skin Care Products

If you use too many skin care products you could end up irritating your skin and fading your skin glow. This holds particularly true for anti-aging products. Use more than one, and you could end up with irritated skin, and this tends to make the signs of aging more visible.

Opt for a simple skincare routine that suits your skin. For most people, this consists of

  • Cleansing: Wash your face and neck once a day if you have dry skin and twice daily if you don’t. It’s a good idea to wash your face after you get up and before going to bed. Remember to use a gentle cleanser as harsh soaps can strip your skin of its protective oils and skin glow.
  • Moisturizing: After washing, use a moisturizing lotion or cream. You can skip this step if you wish, in case you have oily skin. You’ll need a thicker moisturizer (ie, the moisturizer should not drip down when you turn the bottle upside down) during winter when skin tends to dry out more. Apply a moisturizer to your whole body after you bathe when your skin is still damp to seal the moisture in and help your skin glow.
  • Applying sunscreen: Apply sunscreen to your face and neck taking care to cover your ears and the area around your eyes.[4][About face](https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/about-face “About face”).Harvard Health Publishing.

If you are using any treatment or other medicine on your skin, do it right after you cleanse your skin. You can apply makeup after your sunscreen if you want to.[5][SHOULD I APPLY MY SKIN CARE PRODUCTS IN A CERTAIN ORDER?](https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/care/apply-skin-care-certain-order “SHOULD I APPLY MY SKIN CARE PRODUCTS IN A … Continue reading

Ayurveda And Skincare

According to Ayurveda, your skin care needs should be customized for your body constitution or prakruti. People with

  1. Vata constitution: Have fine, dry skin with small pores which tends to be cool to the touch and delicate. They tend to develop wrinkles earlier than other constitutions.
    For vata skin to stay youthful, skin care products which can rehydrate and nourish the skin should be used. Natural moisturizers and warm oil self-massage can be beneficial for them.
  2. Pitta constitution: Have soft, warm, fair skin of medium thickness. Their skin tends to have a very low tolerance for the sun and they’re most likely to suffer from sun damage over the years.
    For pitta skin, good sunscreens that offer protection from the sun, as well as facial skin oils, need to be used. Tanning treatments or therapies which expose their skin to steam or heat for extended periods of time should be avoided.
  3. Kapha constitution: Have oily, thick, soft skin which is cool to the touch. They naturally tend to develop wrinkles much later than people with pitta or vata constitutions. However, due to its oiliness and thickness kapha skin is more prone to accumulate toxins (ama) under the skin.
    For kapha skin, using a gentle exfoliant to cleanse the skin and a daily warm oil massage can be beneficial.[6]Datta, Hema Sharma, and Rangesh Paramesh. “Trends in aging and skin care: Ayurvedic concepts.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine 1, no. 2 (2010): 110.

Ayurvedic Remedies For Skin Issues

Ayurveda offers many techniques for keeping your skin healthy:

1. Try a daily massage

  • Powder massage (udwarthana)
    During udwarthana, medicated powders are used to massage the skin in an upward direction. It is considered to be a part of a daily healthy regimen (dinacharya). A powder massage is thought to help improve blood circulation, improve skin quality, enhance the complexion, and remove dead cells and dirt from the skin.
  • Oil Massage (abhyanga)
    Ayurveda also recommends incorporating an oil massage into the daily routine. It is thought to nourish your muscles and improve your eyesight, complexion, and life expectancy. Oil massages are considered to have anti-aging, stress-relieving, and rejuvenating effects. Kumkumadi taila (an ayurvedic medicinal facial oil) is considered to be particularly useful for facial massages. It is thought to improve skin texture and complexion.

2. Use varnya lepas (complexion enhancing pastes)

Varnya lepas are used in ayurveda for improving the quality of the skin and enhancing the complexion. For instance, you can prepare a rakta chandanadi lepa by mixing the following ingredients in equal quantities and adding water or milk to make a paste:

  • Raktachandana (pterocarpus santalinus)
  • Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)
  • Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa)
  • Kushta (Saussurea costus)
  • Priyangu (Callicarpa macrophylla)
  • Vata (Ficus bengalensis)
  • Masura (Lens culinaris)

The lepa should be applied at a thickness of 1 cm (1/2 angula) and should be removed from the skin once it dries (15-20mins). Lepas are meant to be applied against the direction of hair growth for better absorption. A rakta chandanadi lepa is thought to be useful in improving the complexion and removing dark spots and pimples.

Conclusion

Aging is irreversible. You can prevent or slow down the process by adopting a healthy lifestyle and choose organic and natural options in your diet and skincare.

References

References
1 Rao, R. V. (2018). Ayurveda and the science of aging. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 9(3), 225-232.
2 [Wrinkles](https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrinkles/symptoms-causes/syc-20354927 “Wrinkles”).Mayo Clinic.
3 [Sun and Skin]( https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/07/sun-skin “Sun and Skin”).National Institutes of Health.
4 [About face](https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/about-face “About face”).Harvard Health Publishing.
5 [SHOULD I APPLY MY SKIN CARE PRODUCTS IN A CERTAIN ORDER?](https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/care/apply-skin-care-certain-order “SHOULD I APPLY MY SKIN CARE PRODUCTS IN A CERTAIN ORDER?”). American Academy of Dermatology Association.
6 Datta, Hema Sharma, and Rangesh Paramesh. “Trends in aging and skin care: Ayurvedic concepts.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine 1, no. 2 (2010): 110.

This information is part of the series produced for

academy-logo

Doctor

Dr. Manjula P. Badiger (KAA Expert)

Dr. Manjula has 12 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda and worked as a Consultant and General Physician for over 5 years before starting her private practice. In addition to BAMS, she also has an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Research and is trained in Panchkarma. She is an expert at diagnosis of the root cause and planning effective treatment for multiple issues.