In your daily life it is common for you to come across people of the same age who exhibit a marked difference in the way they grow old. While some succeed in defying age, others are quick to stoop to the ravages of time.
Research has revealed the presence of a biological clock that faithfully ticks away from the time of your birth till you die. In other words, this means that from the moment you are born, you are endowed with a certain cellular potential that steadily ebbs with time. The rate at which your cells multiply is finite after which they stop and die (senescence).
There are several factors that influence the way you age.
They may be categorized as intrinsic (internal) and/or extrinsic (external) factors.
1. Intrinsic factors
There are certain factors within you that influence the way you age. You may have little or no control over them.
Genes - Your genes have a mammoth role to play in the manner and rate at which you age! If you belong to a ‘youthful’ family, you too would tend to look young despite your age.
Telomeres - While discussing genes, it is only appropriate to learn a little about telomeres which are specialized structures, found at the tail end of chromosomes, that play an undisputed role in cellular aging. Research has revealed that the size of the telomeres gradually wanes with age. As you age the telomeres get shorter like the eraser at the end of a pencil.
Hormones- Are your hormones all over the place? Just remember that an imbalance in hormones can, without doubt, fast- forward aging.
Cellular inflammation- Aging is also characterized by cellular inflammation, a process ultimately leads to cell death.
2. Extrinsic factors
There are several external triggers that influence the way you age. They may be environmental factors or your own lifestyle choices.
Let us take a look at a few of them.
Sunlight- The sun sustains life on earth but over- exposure to sun rays speeds up the aging process. The free radicals produced by the UV rays damages the DNA in skin cells, impair collagen production, destroy elastin and ruin your skin’s ability to regenerate and repair.
Cigarette Smoking- Nicotine breaks down skin cells at a faster pace. As a result, long- time smokers develop wrinkles and a sallow, sagging skin.
Excessive Alcohol- It is all very well to enjoy a ‘shot on the rocks’ but remember that alcohol is an established neurotoxin, which speeds up the normal aging process.
Stress- Are you the kind of person who worries in a hurry? Beware! A person’s ability to handle stress has a great influence on the way he ages.
Facial Exercises- A few facial exercises which were initially promoted as anti- dote to aging are now believed to enhance wrinkles and emphasize facial lines.
Unhealthy diet- Look before you eat. If you are on a weight watch just remember that a poor, ill - balanced diet, will rob your skin of its natural sheen. On the other hand, a greasy or a jumbo diet too can affect your overall health and usher in premature aging!
Pollution- If you want to stay youthful for a long, long time stay away from the heat and dust! Pollution produces oxidants on the skin surface, which work on the skin cells and destroys them.