“Looking older for your age” is often an indicator of poor health. If your biological age (which refers to your outward appearance and cellular age) exceeds your chronological age (which is the number of years from your birth) you may look older than your actual age.
Skin being the barrier between the exterior and interior environment, all environmental factors contribute to the premature aging of the skin. Since your skin is a dynamic organ, signs of aging obviously show up very early on your skin.
Let’s look at the features of premature skin aging. The aging process looks different for everyone but there are some common signs of premature aging. These include; Age spots, hyperpigmentation along the chest & neck, wrinkles, and hair loss. With prolonged exposure to the sun, areas like your face, chest, and forearm develop small dark areas which are called “age spots”. These are the tan or dark brown flat oval areas which are also called “sun spots” or “liver spots”. When it is seen before the age of 50, it is considered a sign of premature skin aging.
Many people develop patchy discoloration on their chest as they get older and this is called hyperpigmentation along the chest and neck. This is common with all types of skin. As you age, the production of collagen and elastin within your skin is decreased, making your skin more fragile and less elastic. This causes lines and creases in the forehead area, around the eyes, mouth, and neck which are called wrinkles. Hair loss is also a sign of premature skin aging, which happens as the stem cells which trigger new hair growth in your hair follicles die off.
It is also important to understand the causes of premature skin aging. Prolonged exposure to sunlight makes UV rays penetrate the skin and damage DNA within cells. It also affects the connective tissue layer of the skin which is the Collagen/Elastin layer breaking down those proteins.
Cigarette smoking is another cause of premature skin aging as oxidative stress causes dryness, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Repeated vigorous usage of facial muscles may also lead to premature aging in professions like film actors and actresses. Repeated exposure to stress, disturbed sleep, and unhealthy diet habits may also aggravate the skin aging process.
If you have any of the above signs in your skin, it is best to consult a doctor and get advice before it is too late.