After hitting your mid-20s or so, no one wants to look their age. But many people have come to believe that whether or not you age gracefully like a fine wine or out of nowhere like spoiled milk is all in the genetic cards that you were dealt. The truth is, however, that 80 to 90 percent of signs of visible aging are caused by external factors, meaning that genetics is only a thin slice of the pie, so to speak .
Realistically, this is good news. If only 10 percent of aging is caused by genetics, that means that you can have a huge influence on the way you age by adjusting your lifestyle habits and using the right skin care products. What all of these tips boil down to, though, is protecting and nourishing collagen, the main protein in your skin. Here’s what you can do.
1. Adopt Better Sun Protection Habits
The sun’s UV rays account for a majority of the signs of aging on our skin. This is because they create oxidative stress caused by free radicals. A free radical is a highly unstable molecule that needs an additional electron in order to stabilize. Thus, these molecules will “steal” electrons from other molecules, which creates a vicious cycle of cell damage. Within the skin, free radicals damage collagen proteins in this way, leading to lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Therefore, by wearing sunscreen each and every day and avoiding tanning beds, you can have a lasting positive impact on your skin by preserving its collagen proteins.
2. Stop Smoking
Smoking is another large contributor to oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In addition, the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products impairs the blood flow through your body, making less oxygen available. A decreased oxygen supply also means that there are fewer vital nutrients that are able to reach your skin, resulting in a wrinkled, aged appearance .
3. Limit Sugar Consumption
We all know that excess sugar isn’t great for our waistlines, but did you also know that eating too many sweets can cause your skin to look older than it should? This is because of a natural process called glycation. During glycation, sugar molecules attach to proteins, such as the collagen in your skin, and damage them . When collagen becomes damaged, your skin loses its firm, youthful appearance and is more prone to developing lines and wrinkles.
There is evidence that topical products that contain Albizia julibrissin, also known as the Persian silk tree, can help to neutralize the damaging effects of glycation on your skin while simultaneously stimulating the production of new collagen .
4. Use Amino Acid Skin Care
Anti-glycation formulas that contain Albizia julibrissin can have a positive effect on your skin, but this isn’t the only skin care superpower out there. A growing body of evidence shows that amino acids are some of the most effective, safest, and gentlest skin care products currently available. That is because they are the building blocks of proteins like collagen, and can therefore trigger specialized cells called fibroblasts to make new collagen to restore a younger and healthier-looking complexion.
Amino acids are also the primary component of your skin’s natural moisturizing factor, which plays a key role in keeping your skin hydrated and protected from outside elements.
Just be sure that the amino acid skin care products you choose contain a variety of L-form amino acids, such as the formulations by AminoGenesis, which contain nearly all of the 20 amino acids used to make proteins.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet
What you eat can absolutely show up on your skin, either in the form of breakouts and wrinkles or a smooth, radiant complexion. In addition to antioxidant rich foods, try to eat as many complete proteins as possible. “Complete” means that these foods contain all nine of the essential amino acids that your body is unable to produce on its own. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may have to eat a larger variety of foods in order to get all nine of these amino acids.
 Mayo Clinic
 U.S. Patent