What Causes Our Skin to Change from Baby Soft to Dry and Wrinkled?
There are several factors that can contribute to aging of our skin. Some of these factors include:
- Sun exposure- exposure to the sun causes damage to the skin as a result of harmful UV rays. Sun exposure results in drying of the skin and changes in the skin at a cellular level. As a result of these cellular changes, skin can develop fine lines and wrinkles. Exposure to UV radiation causes early aging of the skin and skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.
- Tanning beds are no less harmful than exposure to the sun outdoors (contrary to popular belief).
- Dehydration- most people maintain a constant level of mild dehydration, failing to replenish fluids lost through elimination, respiration and perspiration. Dehydration also leads to wrinkle formation, loss of skin elasticity and an aged appearance.
- Exposure to the weather elements- cold and wind are also drying to the skin and can contribute to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as dehydration of the skin. During the winter months, skin can become dry and lose much of its natural moisture. Outdoor humidity and cold air during winter combined with overheating indoors may decrease the indoor relative humidity to levels that can provoke dry skin, nasal dryness and even problems with breathing. Moisture control and proper ventilation are of the utmost importance during winter months. 
- Smoking- the act of smoking contributes to the development of lines around the mouth. Smoking can also cause damage at the cellular level. Many smokers look older than their age when they reach their middle years. Studies report that tobacco smoke additionally quickens the natural process of skin aging and researchers have observed that the skin of smoking addicts at the age of 40 years resembles the skin of non-smoking 70-year-old adults.
- Poor diet- as infants, we receive a carefully selected diet chosen by our parents. Unfortunately, many of us develop poor eating habits during adulthood, failing to eat a diet containing adequate amounts of protein, vitamins and other nutrients essential to a healthy skin. Various sources claim that vitamins, carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids and a variety of plant extracts have been reported to possess potent antioxidant properties and they have been widely used in the skin care industry either as topically applied agents or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin appearance. But is there any truth to these claims? At the end of the day, we should not confuse a balanced diet with a permanent intake of non-physiological high dosages of isolated antioxidants. An apple a day keeps the doctor away still seems to hold water: fruit and vegetable consumption may represent the most healthy and safe method in order to maintain a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin.
- Aging- aging itself leads to a loss of subcutaneous fat in the face, loss of elasticity in the skin and a decreased ability to repair damage to the skin as efficiently as when we were younger. The effects of gravity also make themselves known in the form of sunken cheeks, loose skin and wrinkles and fine lines, not only on the face but elsewhere on the body. Aging skin looks thinner, paler, and more translucent. Large pigmented spots, including age spots, liver spots, or lentigos, may appear in sun-exposed areas.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Help You Achieve Baby Soft Skin?
Drink plenty of water- avoid dehydration, which can make your skin dry and flaky and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Avoid caffeinated beverages, as caffeine is a mild diuretic. Unsure if you are drinking enough fluids? Your mouth should feel comfortably moist and your urine should be a pale yellow color. If your urine is dark in color and your mouth feels dry, you are not drinking enough fluids. The amount of fluids you require in a day is dependent on your activity level, how much you perspire and other factors. Remember to drink extra fluids when exercising.
Quit smoking- quitting smoking can help you avoid worsening of any wrinkles or fine lines that may be apparent. In addition, you will be decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. The chemicals in tobacco can damage skin cells as well as other cells of the body.
Eat a balanced diet- eating a diet high in protein, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and other essential oils can ensure that your body is able to repair damage to the skin at a cellular level. Eating lean meats, oily fish, plenty of green leafy vegetables, a variety of fruits and whole grains can keep your skin (and the rest of your organs) healthy.
Exercise regularly- exercise has numerous benefits. It relieves stress, tones muscles, improves circulation and helps us control weight. Working up a good sweat can help us rid our skin of toxins.
What Can Be Done to Protect the Skin to Achieve Baby Soft Skin?
Protecting your skin is important to avoid damaging your skin, which can lead to aging of the skin.
- Moisturize- moisturize your skin at least twice daily using a quality product. Wash your face prior to applying moisturizer to remove dead skin cells that can make your skin appear dull and lifeless. A weekly exfoliation may be in order to assist in ridding your skin of dead cells and debris. Following a skin care regimen religiously can help your skin retain moisture and elasticity.
- Avoid the sun- when going outdoors, be sure to apply a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from the sun. Lips should also be protected with a moisturizer containing a sunscreen. Avoid the use of tanning beds as well; if you must tan, use self-tanners or a spray tan salon to get a natural-looking tan without risk of damage to the skin.
- Cover up your skin- if you must go outdoors in the winter, cover exposed skin (face, hands and neck) with appropriate winter apparel. Wear a hat, gloves and scarf to avoid the drying and damaging effects of the wind and cold. Remember, you still need to wear sunscreen in the winter, as the sun’s rays can still be potent and harmful. Don’t forget to protect your lips as well.
Although we all wish that we could have the perfect skin that we were born with, the truth is that aging is inevitable. However, there are many simple things we can do to keep our skin as young as possible for as long as possible. Making lifestyle changes that will positively impact our health will also improve the skin. In addition, protecting our skin from external factors is important to maintain young-looking skin.