Paul C Bragg, a known health food advocate and bodybuilder, once said that old age does not exist. In our body, there are no cells older than eleven months, except for bones and teeth. Every day the body loses a lot of cells and creates millions of new ones. He believed that our enemies are not physical years but poisons that get into our body and cause premature aging.

External causes of aging depend on the environment, nutrition, disease, and lifestyle. These include various factors that either directly affect the body or provoke changes in the body itself. Let us focus on some of the most popular causes of aging that affect the skin and body.

Free Radicals

They are formed by UV radiation, X-ray radiation, industrial chemicals, and air pollutants among other reasons. They change cell nucleus, reducing the quality of newly formed cells and weakening the fibers of collagen and elastin. By attacking lipid molecules, free radicals and peroxides change their structure and increase their polarity. As a result, the permeability of the membrane changes or the membrane is completely destroyed and the cell dies.

The situation is paradoxical. One the one hand, a human being can’t live without oxygen but on the other, oxygen takes part in toxic processes creating a constant threat to all living things. Even though the conditions are harsh, people have a powerful protection system that minimizes such toxic effects. Unfortunately, this protection is imperfect and only limits the harmful effects of oxygen but does not prevent it.

Scientists come to the conclusion that over the years tissue disruption caused by oxygen gradually accumulates in the body, that leads to premature aging and numerous diseases in different body systems. It is possible to limit or in some cases to prevent such disruptions if the reactive oxygen particles are deactivated. Compounds that are capable of such reactions are called antioxidants (they prevent oxidation).

Essentially, the well-being of a human life depends on a balance between oxidants or factors that cause oxidation and antioxidants. This balance can be reached by special diet, dietary supplements or/and use of specific cosmetic products.

Ultraviolet radiation

Ultraviolet rays as a component of sunlight are one of the main factors of skin aging. Although the sun is necessary for life, excessive tanning and uncontrolled exposure to the sunlight cause a danger. Repeated sunburns are fraught with immediate effect (skin cells damage, free radicals formation, hydrophile-lipophile balance destruction, stratum corneum thickening and peeling), and long-term consequences (speed-up of aging, pigmentation disorders, and skin cancer).

People need to balance their attitude to sun tanning by taking into account their type of skin, they should use sunscreen and make sure it has the appropriate UV protection index.

Some words should be said about tanning equipment. Nowadays it is a modern trend to go to the tanning salons. Though according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, incorrect use of tanning facilities can cause skin and eye damage. There is always the risk to stay longer beneath tanning lamps compared to staying in the scorching sun for the whole day. The problem is that majority of tanning salon visitors are people with fair skin. That is, they should protect their skin instead of exposing it to damaging UV rays.

Certainly, the sun and improper tanning facilities are one of the most dangerous external factors that affect the skin and speed up aging. At the age of 50, all the changes in the skin caused by solar irradiation for the last 20 years become vivid.


It is proved that smokers have wrinkles that are formed five times faster than in non-smokers. Cigarette smoke causes the similar negative effect on skin as the UV radiation. You can easily differ a smoking woman from a non-smoking one by deep wrinkles around the mouth, skin color and texture. Mostly the skin attains grayish tint and it gets dry.

Intoxication from smoking accelerates the aging of the skin as it promotes free radicals formation and causes the disturbance in the blood supply to the skin. Some scientists emphasize the negative effect of smoking, which can increase the harmful effect of ultraviolet rays.

However, once the person quits smoking, its damaging effect stops. Women who quit smoking get a visibly positive effect on the skin. Even if you use hydrating facial masks after you smoke 20 cigarettes, it won’t improve your skin condition. Altering your lifestyle is the most effective way to slow down skin aging and reduce wrinkles.

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Barney Raposo

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