THE SKIN AGEING EXPOSOME
From the moment we’re born, we begin to age. Every minute we’re alive, we’re ageing! Until recently, it was thought that there was little we could do to prevent the ageing process - but with further study, it turns out that’s not true. In fact, there are ways we can actually reverse our biological clocks!
Did you know that only 20% of ageing is based on your genetics and 80% is what we do? A fact known as epigenetics. We can literally switch on and off our genes by how we live our lives every single day.
Hence we can bio-hack the ageing clock, reverse ageing and have a biological age that is less than our chronological age! Here are 7 key factors known as the exposome that you can address so you can age well.
The 7 exposome factors that cause our skin to age and what you can do.
This is a recently studied phenomenon known as the ‘Skin Ageing Exposome’.
It's been a big focus at recent international conferences I’ve attended as science uncovers new insights into how the environment and our lifestyle affects how our skin ages. (1)
Essentially, a group of European scientists got together and looked at the major studies that contributed to ageing and came up with this list of factors. Exposure to sun, pollution and tobacco are well known to trigger molecular processes that damage the skin structure but other factors such as nutrition, stress and lack of sleep have also been added to the list since more research has been done. (2)
THE 7 LIFESTYLE FACTORS:
So let’s see what changes we can make to our lives to start turning back the clock. A quote from professor of genetics David Sinclair is the perfect starting point. He's a world leader in understanding how we age and therefore how we can extend our lifespan. (His Lifespan Podcast is one of my favourites and worth listening to!) (3)
Diet is implicit in anti-ageing. Studies point towards a diet of living food, reduced meat intake, minimal processed foods and avoiding over cooked foods and excessive alcohol intake is the way to go. A diet rich in antioxidants may also delay ageing effects - think tomatoes!
Consuming too much sugar is assumed to cause wrinkles. (4) This is because of a process called glycation where the sugar in your bloodstream binds to proteins and eventually leads to a loss of protein function and impaired tissue elasticity. Reduce sugar intake ASAP! And think about getting on to Metformin, a topic I will cover later in my blogs.
2. LACK OF SLEEP
Get your 8 hours! In skin restricted sleep has been shown to affect the facial appearance. A cross-sectional study of 60 women found those who slept less than 5 hours per night showed more intrinsic signs of ageing. One study found that people with less sleep appeared less healthy, less attractive with paler skin, more wrinkles and fine lines. (1)
Lack of sleep also increases your risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and depression. Trying to create a regular sleep pattern, avoid day naps and winding down and relaxing before bed are great ways to get into a good routine.
Air pollution from the environment causes premature ageing - it’s known as pollu-ageing. Exhaust fumes, smog, smoke and even pollen can introduce free radicals that attach themselves to our healthy skin cells - damaging the protective barrier and degrading collagen which contributes to premature ageing!
Topical products with antioxidants can improve the skin barrier function and prevent pollution entering our skin. Niacinamide (B3) is the best barrier protecting product on the market - that’s why the DrNC range is boosted by it. As an Antioxidant, B3 works like a mop that soaks up free radicals, stops oxidation and prevents them from wreaking havoc on your cells in your skin.
Three products I highly recommend to help fight pollu-ageing:
My Concentrated Cleanser containing B3 is gentle and soap-free. It's the perfect way to keep your barrier layer happy and keep pollution out!
My Concentrated Illuminator containing 10% B3 +10% C is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant combination that repairs and protects against UV and environmental induced DNA damage.
My Concentrated CC+ boosted by B3 + iron oxides is not only an SPF but a skin protector from UVA/B + infrared + invisible light + pollution. It's more than just your average SPF.
4. SUN RADIATION
Prevent and protect! We all know by now that sun exposure causes deadly skin cancer along with skin damage and ageing. Sunlight has two types of damaging rays: UVB + UVA. UVB hits the outer layers of the skin, while UVA penetrates deeper, creating more age related damage (eating up your collagen and elastin) along with skin cancer.
To properly protect your skin you need a broad spectrum product that covers both UVA and UVB.
That’s why I created my Concentrated CC+ SPF 30 paired with 5% B3, iron oxides and zinc and titanium physical blockers to protect against UVA and UVB, the environment, pollution and sun spots. It was developed and tested in the harsh Australian climate so I know with correct application this is your best chance of protecting yourself. The addition of the anti-oxidant Niacinamde provides more than just UVA UVB protection, essential to addressing the ageing exposome.
Topical antioxidants could also reduce the harmful effects of ozone on the skin. On recent holidays I lathered my Concentrated Illuminator over my face, neck and arms to reverse the harmful effects of a day in the sun!
Clinical evidence shows that stress affects skin integrity but further studies are being done to work out whether stress directly exacerbates skin-ageing. We do know that prolonged stress can contribute to DNA damage which is a known contributor to skin ageing. (1)
Frequent heat exposure causes inflammation and DNA damage known as ‘thermal ageing’. Our normal skin temperature is roughly 33 degrees celsius and during direct sun exposure can increase to more than 40 degrees! One study discovered a baker with severe skin ageing on his arms due to frequent exposure to the hot ovens. (1).
Keeping cool is essential. So that’s a NO to infrared saunas!
The CC Cream SPF with niacinamide physical blockers and iron oxides and antioxidant loaded Illuminator (Vitamin B3 / C /E) both help prevent and repair damage due to heat (ie infrared).
Cigarette smoke alters biological processes in the skin, promoting skin ageing. ‘Smoker’s skin’ is characterised by prominent facial wrinkling around the mouth, upper lip and eyes. Smoking alters skin hue and radiance.
One inhalation from a cigarette contains more than 3800 different chemicals. These chemicals absorb into the skin creating damage. Please quit if you haven’t already!