Premature Aging: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
Table of Contents:
You must have come across the old adage, 'Time is the only servant that doesn't wait for a king' or a closely related version of it. And nowhere else does this statement ring truer than in the dynamics of maturity, aging and, eventually, death. The constituent cells that make up the human body are inherently designed to perpetually divide, take over functions from older cells and, in the end, die before being replaced by newer copies of themselves. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason we grow older as time passes, and not younger. However, as much as aging is ultimately inevitable, premature aging is not just avoidable but also a consequence of a number of factors that we will get into a bit.
But first, what is pre mature ageing? What makes a person look 'older than they really are'? Is it even possible to look or feel older than you are chronologically? Why do some people appear to stay the same age for decades (as if they have discovered the fountain of youth) yet others have to deal with rapid aging? Let's see.
For starters, let's make it succinctly clear from the outset that premature wrinkles and aging rapidly is when the characteristic signs of biological deterioration occur earlier than it is normal or expected. Scientifically speaking, fast aging is when your chronological age does not tally with your biological age. In simpler language, you are older than you really are. It is almost as if a range of factors, lifestyle choices, unwise decisions and fate have all conspired to accelerate and speed up your journey to sunset boulevard.
Symptoms Of Premature Aging
We say you're dealing with advanced aging when some of the common visible signs of senescence appear before the age of 35 or younger. Here is the thing; the only major difference between premature aging and standard aging is the chronology and timeline. For a majority of people, wrinkles and fine lines start to show up sometime in their late 20s. But if you are wise enough to have started an anti-aging regimen early enough, this may not happen until your mid-30s or even later. Sufferers of rapid aging, nonetheless, may have these signs appearing as early as they are old enough to get a driver's license.
Having said that, here are some of the premature aging symptoms to be on the lookout for. Intrinsically, you have some serious introspection to do if any of these premature aging signs show up on your radar.
Also known as age spots or liver spots, these blemishes are often among the first premature aging signs to rear their ugly heads, particularly if vocabulary such as 'sunscreen cream' and 'SPF factor' is alien to you. As the name suggests, sun spots are the consequence of years of unprotected sun exposure especially in fair-skinned individuals and those who live near the tropics where the sun tends to be blazingly hot throughout the year. There's no timeline for when they can appear - although by the time most people hit their mid-30s they usually have a bit of their fair share of sun spots.
These hyper-pigmented flat spots tend to develop on the hands, face, back of the forearms and the nape. Unsightly and frustratingly hard to get rid of, the best way of dealing with sun spots is making sure that they don't show up in the first place.
Hyperpigmentation and Inflammation Along the Chest Area
Nothing spells premature aging symptoms louder than a patchy discolouration appearing on your chest before you're even 50. Just like liver spots described above, these blemishes are precipitated and accelerated by excessive sun exposure, eczema and leading to a poor diet that is void of fruits and vegetables. Since hyperpigmentation is essentially damage sustained by your melanin signs, it can crop up at any age if you're not vigilant enough to take meticulous care of yourself.
As much as our bodies ability to synthesize and manufacture collagen decreases with time, having gaunt hands before you're old enough to cash in your retirement benefits is a sign of rapid aging. Collagen is the chief protein that is responsible for giving your skin and hair structure, volume and bloom. A serious lack of collagen is associated with gaunt, veiny, thin and patchy-looking skin that is increasingly prone to wrinkles. It is typically a sign that you have not been paying attention to certain aspects of your lifestyle and that your skin care routine is wanting. In fact, with great care and application of the right products, you can delay the onset of this common sign of advanced aging as far as your 80s.
Itchy and Dry Skin
The cause and effect of premature aging sometimes leads to itchy and dry skin, also known as xerosis cutis. Experts believe that the reason for this is the dehydration and thinning that accompanies the more time we spend alive. That being said, your skin shouldn't start flaking until you are at least about 60 and, even then, there are measures that you can take to reverse or evade this.
Excessive Sagging and Wrinkling
Your complexion's ability to produce, absorb and assimilate collagen starts to deteriorate as soon as you hit the peak of your 30s. Less collagen means that the skin is now not as capable of bouncing back, looking plump and generally looking toned as it once did in your teens and early 20s. A lower level of collagen also translates to less elastin meaning that sagging and wrinkles become conspicuous and noticeable. Typically, the first place for this to start to happen is around the forehead area (exposed more to the sun) and around the eyes or mouth (frequently used muscles).
Usually, wrinkling should not start happening until you are at least 40 years old. If it does, your skin care routine really needs an overhaul
Hair loss is what happens when your follicles disintegrate so much that they are unable to trigger the growth of new strands. Hair loss is, unsurprisingly, one of the most common signs of premature aging, with up to 85% of men shedding their tresses way before the age of 50. Hair loss can also happen to women too.
There is a collection of factors that can precipitate premature hair loss, ranging from genetics, environment, diet and even the hair products we use.
Hair thinning is often accompanied by graying, which should not start happening until you are deep into your middle age. Nonetheless, colorless hair strands appearing in your 20s or 30s is a serious sign of rapid aging which can be the result of a myriad of factors such as;
- Autoimmune disorders
- Thyroid diseases such as hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism
- Biotin aka vitamin B-12 deficiency
Causes Of Premature Aging
Although grey hair, wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots and thinning skin are among the first things that we think of when someone mentions premature aging, the real damage occurs deeper than that. The genesis of the causes of premature aging condensates all the way from the telomeres that control cell division. Telomeres are, in the simplest of descriptions, caps normally found at the tail end of our cell's DNA strands whose job is to shield our deoxyribonucleic acid material from environmental damage. These telomeres tend to get progressively shorter the older that we get, eventually exposing the vulnerable DNA to oxidative damage meted by free radicals. It then goes without saying that the signs of aging that we have described above then follow this nature of DNA damage.
As you would expect, the faster your telomeres shorten, the more rapidly you will appear to age. And this does not just affect how you look, scientists have gone as far as connecting telomere shortening to age-related medical concerns such as increased cancer risk, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart failure and coronary heart ailments. In a way, the following causes of premature aging have been linked to fast telomere shortening which comes at the tailend of free radical damage.
Smoking ranks as one of the most destructive things you can do to your body, complexion and internal life-supporting organs. Apparently, the harmful toxins that are laden in cigarette smoke over-expose your skin to increased oxidative stress that precipitates wrinkles, dryness and a host of other signs of premature aging.
Tanning and Prolonged Exposure to UV Rays
The sun's UV rays and those from tanning beds can penetrate your skin enough to alter the DNA composition of your composite cells. Apart from the loss of elastin which results in wrinkles and fine lines, it also causes sun spots, liver spots and hyperpigmentation patches, all of which are tell-tale signs of premature aging.
There's a conglomeration of lifestyle factors such as your sleeping habits, alcohol consumption and diet that have a bearing on how fast you age. Experts, for example, have linked the overconsumption of sugar-laden foods and refined/simple carbohydrates to progressive skin damage. Poor sleep, on the other side of the divide, implies that your body does not get as much time as it needs to repair itself. The lack of opportunity to regenerate and refresh itself contributes immensely to the onset of premature wrinkles and fine lines.
Speaking of fine lines, alcohol appears to accelerate your aging timeline since it dehydrates the body significantly over the span of just a few hours. Do this often enough and your skin starts sagging, losing shape and, of course, visibly aging. Caffeine also appears to have a similar effect, though not as profound and consequential as intake of alcohol.
Chronic emotional stress is not just detrimental to your health (in general) but is also one of the leading causes of premature aging. Besides, a stressful lifestyle can kick off a chain of inflammatory responses that affect your sleep, eating habits and, eventually, age your body faster than expected chronologically. Stress hormones - like cortisol and adrenaline - have also been linked to a range of immune disorders that sparks premature aging.
It turns out that your environment dictates more than you would have thought; wrinkles and pigment spots are, for example, worsened or triggered by pollutants in the air. The same applies to the water you use and the neighborhood that you live in, these can have a consequential impact on how fast you age in the fullness of time.
How To Reverse Premature Aging?
As much as premature aging may sound scary and intimidating, you can stomp the brakes on this decline and deterioration if you address the root causes soon enough. Here's how to reverse premature aging before it gets out of hand.
Invest in Chemical Peels for Sunspots
If you have sun spots and signs of hyperpigmentation, these Glycolic Acid Pads by Maryann's are tailored to help with just that, and then some more. Apart from an evening out your complexion to banish dark spots and age spots, these pads have also been shown to be integral in rebuilding one's lost collagen stores, enhancing the skin tone and sloughing off/removing dead cells. In one way or another, when used regularly such chemical peels can go a long way in helping you reclaim the glory of your youthful years.
Moisturize Frequently and Consistently if You Have Patchy and Thinning Skin
Your skin's ability to self-moisturize tanks the older that you get. That's the reason it is incredibly imperative to invest in a daily lotion or cream that contains hyaluronic acid, one of the best hydrating complexes in the field. Fortunately for you, Hydro Care by Maryanns fits the bill perfectly. Designed to repair dryness and regenerate gaunty-looking hands, this water-based gel creams ranks head and shoulders above the rest
Get a Multivitamin Eye Cream for Dark Circles and Puffiness
Looking to put an end to puffy eyes and dark circles, then getting a proper collagen-infused eye cream should be on your to-do list this week. Wrinkles, fine lines and bags under the eyes all have one thing in common - diminishing collagen levels. A well-formulated eye cream such as Maryann's Day & Night creams gives you the rare opportunity of replenishing and restoring your lost collagen stores to stem this nature of degradation that results in dark circles forming around your peers.
A Vitamin C Serum to Fight Hyperpigmentation
Discolouration of the face, chest, nape and back areas calls for a suitable vitamin C serum to be added to your daily skin care regimen. Leading dermatologists around the world recommend a serum that combines both hyaluronic acid and L-ascorbic acid in its formulation such as Maryann's Vit. C serum. Aside from rejuvenating, nourishing and restoring your skin, such a serum also infuses an array of antioxidants that fight inflammation from a cellular level.
Remember to also start slathering on some sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30 while at it.
Quit Smoking, Excessive Drinking and Eating Simple Carbs/Fast Food
Having a bulletproof skin care routine is not enough if you are looking to reverse premature aging. You will also want to implement a number of lifestyle changes to lessen the amount of preventable damage that you are exacting on your body and complexion. Start by weeding out self-defeating habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol excessively and bingeing on fast foods and sugar-laden snacks. Complement your newfound habits with the addition of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole grains to your diet.
The good news is that premature aging is not only preventable but also reversible; it may take a bit of effort, discipline and commitment on your side. Nevertheless, nothing compares to the amazing skin, lifestyle and health benefits that you stand to gain by keeping aging at bay. In addition to looking younger and better than your peers, you also stand a better chance of remaining active, mobile and independent as far as sunset years with all your faculties intact. Get living well today.