Curious as to how well you’ll age? It might be easier to do than you think. While your lifestyle choices (i.e. whether or not you wear sunscreen) and genetics play a key role in determining how early you’ll start to wrinkle, there’s a few indicators that generally can show whether or not you’re predisposed to premature skin aging.
While these features won’t completely nix your dream for wrinkle-free skin well into your 60s, they do mean you’ll have to treat your skin with extra care in order to keep those fine lines at bay. Ahead, the five telltale signs your skin is on the fast track to accelerated aging.
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Light Features and Freckles
In a study dubbed the Multi-Decade and Ethnicity Study (MDE), researched by Olay, scientists found that the lighter your features, the more likely your skin will age at an accelerated rate. Lighter features typically indicate a paler skin tone, which—as previously noted—is more prone to sun damage (the number-one risk factor for fast-tracked aging.)
Skin conditions, like eczema, that reveal themselves as inflamed, dry patches of skin, are typically indicators that your face will start to appear older than your age early on. Because hydrated skin has the ability to rapidly repair itself and stay healthier for longer (the reason why moisturizers help delay signs of aging so well), these conditions prevent skin from functioning at its peak performance and hinder its ability to recover itself properly, leading to fine lines.
The obvious truth about pale skin is that it’s extremely prone to burning in the sun. Considering the detrimental effects that the sun can have on our skin, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that lighter skin tones typically ages faster than darker ones. “More photoaging occurs in pale skin, as there is less protection from UV damage,” explains Dr. Alexa B. Kimball, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Darker pigmentation acts as a natural protectant from the sun’s harsh rays, so the paler the skin, the more likely you’ll develop hyperpigmentation and early-onset wrinkles.
An Expressive Face
Depending on how often you move your facial muscles (through smiling, raising your eyebrows or frowning), your facial expressions can be causing deep wrinkles. As you get older, your skin loses elasticity and the ability to bounce back after making any movements. So, if you’re an extremely expressive person, these lines may start to set in sooner than you’d like.
Naturally Dry Skin
“The drier the outer skin layers, the stiffer they are,” explains Dr. Kimball. “If well-moisturized, skin is more elastic and thereby diminishes the formation of temporary wrinkles during facial expression that will ultimately lead to persistent wrinkles.” Translation? Expressions obviously causes wrinkles, but creating expressions with dry skin can cause them to become permanent much quicker due to the lack of the skin’s elasticity.
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