Aging is one of those hot topics that everyone has opinions and old wives’ tales about. People look at it as a puzzle that must have a solution out there somewhere, and that all they need to do is to crack the code.
Sorry to take the wind out of your sails, but aging isn’t exactly the mystery that so many people think it is. At least, skin aging isn’t.
The medical industry actually knows quite a bit about how skin aging happens and, by extension, how to keep it to a minimum. The first step toward keeping your young and vivacious look alive is to stop believing these aging myths.
Myth: Your genetic code determines how you’ll age, so there isn’t much you can do.
To be fair, there is a kernel of truth to this myth. Your genetic code does play a part in determining how quickly you age.
That doesn’t mean it’s all out of your hands, though. In fact, when it comes to aging, nurture wins out over nature. Think of it the same way as people think of a person’s weight: your genetics can make you more prone toward one end of the spectrum or the other, but your lifestyle choices can overpower those tendencies.
When it comes to skin aging, your genetics mostly come into play with a few specific aging symptoms. For example, “bags under the eyes” will either run in your family or they won’t, and the same goes with drooping upper eyelids.
No matter how the rest of your family looks, though, now is the time to take control and decide your own skin’s fate. For many people, the biggest factor that decides how they age is their sun protection.
You heard that right: something as simple as wearing daily sunscreen can keep you looking years younger.
Myth: Vaping won’t age you like smoking cigarettes will.
As many myths as there are out there about skin aging, one fact that most people already know is that smoking tobacco will make you age more quickly.
So when vaping came onto the scene, some folks decided they would switch to vaping instead to stop aging at warp speed. Problem solved, right?
Vaping nicotine does have fewer chemicals in it than cigarettes, and it doesn’t appear to turn your teeth as yellow as smoking does, so that’s a plus. When it comes to skin aging, though, it’s the nicotine that speeds up the clock.
Nicotine restricts your blood vessels. When this happens, your skin gets less oxygen and less healing power. The result is that your skin loses collagen, a natural skin-firming protein, at a faster rate. You might as well roll out the red carpet for wrinkles.
On top of that, vaping still leads to the same tell-tale “smokers’ lines”: those tiny vertical lines above your upper lip. These lines come from the repetitive motion of tightening your lips around a cigarette or a vape pen.
To dispel the myth once and for all, here’s the fact: there’s no way to use nicotine without it affecting your aging.
Myth: Moisturizer prevents or slows down aging.
This one is somewhat true: moisturizer does make you look younger. It doesn’t do that in the way people think it does, though.
Consider moisturizer to be a treatment that lowers the symptoms of aging on a day-to-day basis, not something that prevents them from forming in the first place. That’s why skincare experts recommend using facial moisturizer on the daily.
Here’s how it works: when your skin gets dry, it shrivels up ever so slightly. You might not recognize that this is what’s happening, but the shriveling action will make your skin look thinner and more wrinkled.
When you hydrate that skin with moisturizer, on the other hand, you make the skin plumper and fuller. This smooths out fine lines and wrinkles while also reducing any facial hollows you have from aging.
Myth: You can get rid of wrinkles with facial exercises.
If you’ve spent hours of your life following along with a YouTube video of facial exercises, you have my sympathies. You get an “A” for effort, but it won’t help you look younger.
This myth is based on a simple misunderstanding of the aging process. It’s true that you lose muscle tone in your face when you age, and that this loss of tone can make your skin look looser and more wrinkled.
Unlike the muscles elsewhere in your body, though, your facial muscles won’t rebuild their tone and their size with exercise. It’s simply a natural part of aging, so you’re better off focusing your efforts on firming your skin rather than struggling with your underlying facial structure.
Not to add salt to the wound if you’re an avid facial exerciser, but those exercises could actually make your aging worse. Repetitive motions cause your skin’s collagen to break down more quickly, which is why we tend to get wrinkles in places that wrinkle when we make common facial expressions like smiling and squinting. The repetitive motions of facial exercises will do the same thing.
Putting Your New Knowledge to Work
From one young-at-heart person to another, I get your struggle. You feel like your youthful and upbeat self, and you want to look that way, too. If you’ve fallen prey to some of the myths above, at least you can applaud yourself for trying to invest in your confidence.
Regardless, now that you know the truth, you can move forward with more reliable ways to look younger today and ten years from now. We’re in this together, folks!