If you’re worried your skin isn’t looking as great as it used to, it’s likely due to declining collagen levels and slowing cell turnover. If you’re in your 30s or 40s, your face is possibly starting to show the first signs of wrinkles, sagging, dark circles under your eyes, or crow’s feet. Part of the reason for this may be that the stress of adulthood has taken its toll on your skin — it could also be because of pollution and the sun.

As you get older, your skin ages and struggles to renew itself as quickly. So, to give it the support it needs to look its best at every age, it’s crucial that you start taking care of your complexion as early as possible. There’s still a lot you can do to minimise the impact of ageing on your face as you get older – read on for habits worth implementing.

What is premature ageing?

The main difference between normal ageing and premature ageing is the timeline. For most people, fine lines and wrinkles begin to show up by their early 30s, and laxity in their 40s, but this can occur even earlier for people experiencing premature ageing. Premature ageing is when the signs of aging occur earlier than is standard. More scientifically, premature ageing happens when a person’s biological age is older than their chronological age.

Things that may be ageing your skin prematurely

UV exposure

Whether you’re spending the day at the beach or simply sitting in your house near a window, sun exposure can cause many skin problems and speed up ageing of our skin. The result is photoaging and is usually responsible for 90% of visible changes to our skin. UV light damages skin cells which contribute to premature changes like age spots, as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Blue light exposure

With the increasing use of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, exposure to blue light has become more prevalent. Blue light, also known as high-energy visible light, can penetrate the skin more deeply than UV rays. Prolonged and frequent exposure to blue light may generate free radicals, which can damage skin cells and lead to premature ageing, including the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

Poor sleep

Getting sufficient good quality sleep is vital for overall health, including the health of your skin. During sleep, the body repairs, and regenerates cells, including skin cells. Chronic sleep deprivation can disrupt this repair process, leading to increased inflammation and accelerated ageing of the skin. Lack of sleep can also contribute to the appearance of dark circles, a dull complexion, and an overall tired and aged look.

High sugar intake

While it’s well-known that excessive sugar consumption can have negative effects on overall health, it can also impact the skin. Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to a process called glycation, where sugar molecules attach to collagen and elastin fibres in the skin, causing them to become stiff and less elastic. This can result in the formation of wrinkles and sagging skin, contributing to premature ageing.

Slow skin ageing with these habits

Start using SPF early

It’s no secret that damage from the sun leads to premature ageing, including sunspots and pigmentation, as well as dryness and fine lines. For proper, all-day protection, slot in a high-protection sunscreen into your routine and protect your skin from the get-go.

Nourish your skin from the inside-out

Regular physical activity improves circulation and boosts your immune system. This promotes healthy ageing. Forcing yourself into the gym will probably last a couple weeks at most, so instead, find a sport, an activity, or a form of movement that you enjoy and commit to spending time every week practising. Sleep is also important. And not just for the health of your skin, but for your overall health. When you sleep, your body produces growth hormones that help to repair and rejuvenate your skin. On the other hand, lack of sleep can lead to dark circles, puffiness, and dull skin. In addition to sleep and exercise, making healthy lifestyle choices and eating a balanced diet can also help prevent premature ageing and keep your skin looking its best. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help to provide your skin with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and radiant.

Reach for the Retinol

If I could only use one skincare active for the rest of my life, it would be this. Retinol is the number-one ingredient for building collagen and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps with acne and can even remodel acne scars in the long run.

Use an antioxidant in the AM

You might not be able to spot free radicals like pollution and bacteria with the naked eye, but they have the ability to embed themselves into your skin. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that helps protect the skin against harmful free radicals and also boosts collagen production.

Always remove makeup

This is about more than just avoiding clogged pores. It’s extremely important to rid your skin of the environmental pollution you’ve been exposed to throughout the day and wash away free radicals to avoid the breakdown of collagen and elastin proteins.

Invest in skin health treatments

 When it comes to preventing skin ageing, investing in treatments that stimulate new collagen and elastin production is key. Skin boosters and energy treatments are amongst my favourite ways to do this. Consider treatments like Profhilo, Sofwave, HArmonyCA, microneedling and Juvederm Volite to help keep your skin hydrated, plump, and firm. All these treatments have various immediate benefits, but they also stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which is what, in time, will make the skin smoother, plumper, and bouncier and keep it looking youthful and healthy in a very natural way, no matter your age.