The Factors of Premature Aging

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Premature aging occurs for a number of reasons, from natural genetics to external reasons such as stress or lack of exercise. Aging is, of course, a biological process that occurs naturally, but we can choose to alter our lifestyle in small ways so as to put off habits that might speed up this process.

  1. Sunlight

    • According to Aging Skin Net, "just a few minutes of [unprotected] exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable changes to the skin." The sun's powerful UV rays can cause a number of skin conditions, such as wrinkles, age spots, leathery skin, spider veins and even skin cancer. A lot of exposure to the sun destroys the skin's ability to repair itself over a period of years, and more exposure speeds up that destruction. Those with fair skin must protect themselves more so than those with olive or dark skin, but everyone should wear a level of sunscreen protection when going out in the sun.

    Smoking

    • Smoking can lead to premature aging, which manifests itself in facial and skin wrinkles. Again from Aging Skin Net: "Research shows that a person who smokes 10 or more cigarettes a day for a minimum of 10 years is statistically more likely to develop deeply wrinkled, leathery skin than a nonsmoker." Smokers also get a yellowish tinge to their skin.

    Alcohol and Other Drugs

    • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says, "Alcoholism may accelerate normal aging or cause premature aging of the brain." Consumption of alcohol raises the level of stress hormones in the body, which causes premature aging to occur. Other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, can also increase these hormones, and should be avoided.

    Unhealthy Lifestyle

    • People who are constantly stressed are at risk for premature aging. The hormones released by stress are beneficial in small amounts, but in excess, cause the deterioration of the skin faster. In addition, those who are stressed are more likely to turn to an unhealthy lifestyle of eating too much or not exercising.

      Exercising regularly keeps the skin and body healthy. Researchers from the University of Toronto found in a 2008 study that a regular exercise routine slows the aging process by as much as 12 years.

    Diet

    • A diet that consists of junk food and other processed foods might be a factor in premature aging as well. The sugars and chemicals present in these foods are not nutritious and contribute to an unhealthy body, which may lead to a lowered immune system, unable to fight off sicknesses or deterioration.

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