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Some people age gracefully, some don’t. Why? The answer is actually quite complex and multi-faceted, with genetics, diet, personality, stress, environment, and exercise all playing a likely role. But a recent article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology discusses the role of pollution in aging and skin health, and speculates that it may play a bigger role then we often acknowledge.
We’ve all heard stories of persons in rural areas across the world living robustly in good health well into their 100’s. Such observations have always incited speculation as to what brings these people their longevity, and much has been written about these observations and credit given to the diet and environments that may best prolong health. It also makes sense on multiple levels that maybe avoiding pollution is a key in graceful aging.
Pollution from combustion creates nanoparticles and reactive oxygen species. These are toxic in that they cause damage and mutations in DNA. A portion of DNA that directly correlates to aging is the telomere. Telomeres are pieces of DNA found on the end of chromosomes that are designed to protect the ends from degrading. The shorter the telomere gets, the older the cell. This DNA damage predisposes the skin to premature aging.
Thankfully, there are many ways to help combat these effects such as healthy diets high in antioxidants and diligent sun protection. Also, there are many easy and noninvasive procedures that work nicely to correct and improve the signs of aging and damage. Chemical peels and a variety of laser and light treatments (for example Fraxel) are quick and effective ways to cosmetically treat the signs of aging that combustible pollution can cause. And the results are wonderful. Speak with your dermatologist about the many great options available to keep you looking your best.
However, it must be said, sometimes the best treatment is prevention. And while avoiding pollution may be impractical for many and impossible for some, your skin will certainly thank you for trying.