Health Team

Doctor: Daily habit changes can help repair aging skin

Posted September 5

As people age, so does their skin, but there are things people can do to help slow, or in some cases, reverse, skin damage by changing daily habits.

Most people know that the sun is the biggest offender when it comes to aging the skin. Dr. Amy Kassouf of the Cleveland Clinic said most people wear sunscreen in the summer, but wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, all year is the key to slowing down the aging process.

"You want it (to be) broad spectrum because it covers UVA," Kassouf said. "UVA goes deeper, and the deeper ultraviolet rays are the more likely (they are) to break down your collagen and cause more of the aging changes."

A lesser-known offender is inflammation, Kassouf said. Inflammatory disease and internal inflammation can take a toll on the skin as well.

"Local inflammation creates things—enzymes that break down elastic fibers, break down collagen—and sometimes those don't get completely repaired," Kassouf said.

Kassouf said one way to help keep inflammation under control is with a diet that's full of antioxidants, like the ones found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Quitting smoking will also give skin a boost.

"If you stop smoking, your skin will look better within weeks, because your blood flow will return to your skin, you will have more ability to heal some of the damage that' s been done," Kassouf said.

Those new daily habits can actually help reverse the damage done previously.

WRAL Health Team's Dr. Allen Mask says retinol cream can also be effective for treating aging skin. The cream helps restore collagen and rebuild damaged cells. It can be found in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths.


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