I’m looking in the mirror and Im not thrilled by what I see. My skin is aging. I’ve learned that it goes beyond genes and the sun. There are eight things that tend to make skin age faster. If we learn to avoid these things, then our skin my stay youthful a little longer.

Now, you may ask: “What are these things that will keep me looking young?” Well, let me tell you.

Sweets. Are sweets a staple in your diet? You may want to put that cookie down. Not only will it help in other domains of your life, but skipping the sweets will do wonders for your skin. This is because of how sugar is broken down. When it breaks down and enters the bloodstream it has to bond with molecules and they tend to bond with those found in collagen and elastin. These two fibers support our skin. The sugar breaks down the collagen and elastin leading to sagging skin and wrinkles. Start by limiting your intake of soft drinks, candy, rice and bread as these foods are quickly turned into sugar. If you are really craving something sweet, try taking a fruit or even a small piece of dark chocolate. They should curb that craving. Another thing that helps your collagen is Vitamin C. Try increasing your intake!

Flying. When you’re in a plane, you are much closer to the sun. Therefore, the solar rays can easily penetrate the planes windows. This is way flight attendants and pilots are at a higher risk for skin cancer. When you fly, make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and try and keep the window closed. Also make sure that you moisturize your skin and drink plenty of water. You do not want to get dehydrated as it’s bad for your skin and your body.

Menopause. When women go through menopause they start to produce less estrogen. Estrogen is important as it helps with the production of oil and collagen. Therefore, your skin my become drier which can lead to wrinkles and saggy skin. Since you can’t halt menopause, try moisturizing heavily.

Weight Fluctuations. Gaining weight can make your skin more plump on the surface, however it can cause your body to create too much insulin and cortisol which, in turn, weakens you collagen fibers. You might be at risk for sagging skin if you put on–and keep on–10 to 15 pounds. Losing and gaining weight repeatedly can take it’s toll on the body as your skin will lose it’s elasticity and will leave behind stretch marks.

Depression. Depression is a nasty illness as it shows up in so many ways–including on your face. Sadly, a frown may take over your face and it may become permanent. Depression also makes it harder for skin to repair itself at night. Also, when you are depressed, taking care of your skin and complexion might be your last priority. Therefore, you might cause damage to your skin this way. If you are struggling with depression, increasing your level of activity can help. Also, ask your doctor if an antidepressant might help.

Lack of Sleep. Your skin’s time to repair itself is at night. If you are not getting enough deep sleep, then you skin can’t work on repairing itself like it usually does–meaning it can’t repair the damage from that day. This can also put your body into stress mode which can cause it to release hormones that aren’t friendly towards your skin. Try and get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Also, it might be helpful to start turning off your electronics–your TV, cell phone, gaming systems, iPads, computers–about 30 minutes before bed. Having less stimulation before bed can help you fall asleep more easily.

Now that I’ve told you some of the common things that effect our skin, how are you going to combat these things? You might want to also book an appointment with your dermatologist to get some good advice as to how to keep your skin looking healthy at any age.