Bad Habits That Cause Premature Skin Aging — And What To Do Instead

Like birthdays, we believe our aging skin is worth celebrating.  By giving it the self-care and attention it needs (and knowing our skin type versus skin state), we can recognize when extrinsic processes like premature skin aging start and stop them in their tracks. 

Research says skin aging is more influenced by extrinsic than intrinsic processes.  In reality, only about 10 percent of aging is intrinsic (i.e., only a small amount of aging is genetic).  This is great news because that means the other 90 percent is up to us!  It’s all about the lifestyle choices we make and how we take preventative measures against our daily habits that may not be benefiting our skin health.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic

Extrinsic Skin Aging Factors

Intrinsic is the natural aging process of our skin; whereas, extrinsic aging is a process that speeds up the aging of our skin.  Extrinsic skin aging is caused by external factors in our environment: diet, sugar consumption, stress, and even air pollution (you can find a breakdown of these common external factors and simple ways to combat them in this blog post).

These external factors lead to harmful processes such as skin oxidation and the shortening of telomeres. 

Oxidation and Telomeres and Their Links to Extrinsic Aging

Poor diet effects on skin


Skin oxidation is a process that leads to cell damage and is caused by free radicals.  Free radicals are unstable molecules that come from extrinsic causes which include many of the external factors previously mentioned (sun exposure, diet, and stress).

Stress Reduction and Skin Health


Telomeres, attached to your chromosomes, are what rule aging.  Shorter telomeres have been linked to cancer, weight gain, and diabetes.  Studies show that switching to healthier diets, exercise, stress management and social support may result in lengthening telomeres and slowing down the aging process.


Common Habits that Influence Skin Oxidation

Aging Effects of Sugar on the skin

You’re Stealing Cookies From the Cookie Jar a Little Too Often

Marisa Overton, a licensed esthetician, shared with us: “sugar molecules will attach to collagen and elastin proteins and start weighing them down, which ultimately causes sagging, fine lines, dullness and wrinkles.”  This is a process called skin glycation.

So instead of grabbing a pastry when you crave something sweet, try consuming plants, vegetables and fruits that are high in Vitamins A, C and E.  This will enrich and strengthen anti-aging skin.

Tip: When you get those sweet tooth cravings, bite into an antioxidant-rich power fruit instead, such as a pomegranate.

Sun's Aging Affects on the Skin

You’re Having Too Much Fun In The Sun

With summer here, it’s hard to stop ourselves from soaking up the sun all the time.  But Overton reminds us that sun exposure is the leading cause of premature skin aging.  UV exposure is actually responsible for 80 percent of visible skin aging.  That’s huge!

Overton says simple things like “Big hats, umbrellas and sunscreen are your bffs.”  These items will make a massive impact against fighting the damages caused by skin oxidation.

When selecting a sunscreen, pick one with an SPF of 30 or higher and look for mineral sunblocks (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) as these aren’t harmful to you or your environment.

Check out this blog post to find out more about what eco-friendly ingredients to look for in a sunblock and how to protect your skin from the UV exposure without destroying ocean life.


Common Habits that Influence Shortened Telomeres

Extrinsic Aging Factors

You Stay In Too Much

Inactivity can really affect the state of your skin.  And while keeping up with friends when you’re on-the-go with work and home life can be hard, it’s important to put on your social butterfly wings every now and then and have some fun.

An active social life can lengthen your telomeres, effectively decreasing stress, improving mental health, and lead to a more fulfilling life.

And really, you don’t always have to go out to socialize.  Simply inviting your closest friends over for an easy social and self-care night-in will do the trick.   


Tip: treat your skin and the ones you care about to our Activated Purifying Mask With Charcoal Flowers, make some shareable food (like this yummy hummus), and catch up with one another.

Extrinsic Aging Lack of Sleep

Or Maybe You Stay Out Too Much

On the flip side, sometimes you and your skin really do need to cancel a plan or two and get some much needed rest.  

Research states that sleep deprivation can accelerate skin aging.

Make sure to check in with your body to make sure you’re getting what you need.  And if you’re having trouble relaxing or sleeping in general, try these simple breathing exercises or our soothing herbal detoxifying steam with flowers + cleansing herbs to help relax you for bedtime.


Be Prepared To Age Gracefully 

Curious what other preventative measures you can take against premature skin aging?  Check out our blog section Age Gracefully to learn more.

Marisa Overton

Kayla Andersen @windexmama

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