"You Have Beautiful Skin" - Some Thoughts on Common Causes of Aging Skin

Skin care advice from UW Health Transformations Jeune Skin Care:


UW Health Transformations Jeune Skin Care Aestheticians Angie Byer, Lisa Klein and Danielle Kalscheur

I am frequently told, "You have beautiful skin." I reply with, "Thank you, I do take care of it."


Usually I am then asked what products I use or what services have I had. My reply begins with the fact that I drink almost a gallon of water a day, and so the story goes…


I would like to shed some light on aging. First of all there are two types of aging:

  • Extrinsic, meaning external
  • And intrinsic, meaning heredity

Most of our aging, roughly 85-90 percent, is caused by external factors. The remaining 10-15 percent is from our genetic predisposition. So if you think you will age well because your grandmother has/had beautiful skin, hold tight… not so fast. Let me explain.


Have you ever seen pictures of mature, identical twins? Ever notice if one looks much older? It's likely attributed to lifestyle factors and personal choices.


Common Causes of Aging


What are the most common causes of aging? Read on: 

  • Sun exposure: The No. 1 cause of aging. The rays are out 365 days a year. Even though the UVB (burning rays) may be slightly hidden by an overcast sky, the UVA (aging rays) are still present. I tell all my patients in a skin care consult who say they only use SPF when it's sunny out that if the rays were not present, it would be black as midnight. Try thinking in terms of daylight exposure and not sunlight exposure.

  • Environmental pollution: Pollutant particulates are 30 times smaller than your skin's pores. Are you cleansing your skin every day, both in the AM and PM? If not, just think of all the "soup" that is sitting on your skin. Also think of those grimy cell phones, hands on the face, hair, household dust, pet dander, etc.

  • Smoking: I don't need to elaborate on this one. Yet, individuals who choose to smoke frequently have blackheads around the lips, upper cheeks, eye area, temples and above the brows from the rise of the nicotine.

  • Making wrong product choices or overdoing it: Yes, it is true our skin cells turn over at a much slower rate than when we were in our adolescence and 20s, but overdoing it with excessive exfoliation can actually age your skin as you may potentially be exfoliating healthy skin. Also, a few random pimples and breakouts here and there do not constitute using a daily cleanser suited for acne. You will end up drying your skin out and causing sensitivity.

    If in doubt, make an appointment for a complimentary, no charge skin care consultation with one of our medical aestheticians here at UW Health Transformations so we can explain the difference between fact and fiction, and help get you on the right track with recommending the most suitable products for your skin care goals and needs.

  • Not drinking enough water: Our bodies on average are 70-80 percent water, so drink up… H2O, that is. How much, you ask? Drink half your body weight in ounces every day. Example; If you weigh 100 lbs., consume 50 ounces; 200 lbs., consume 100 ounces. The minute you reach for a glass of water because you're thirsty you're already dehydrated. Remember, things that lead to dehydration are:

    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Many medications
    • Hot showers, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and hot yoga
    • Climate temperatures
    • Wrong skin care product choices, etc.

      I am not saying you have to avoid the aforementioned things - just be mindful of drinking more life sustaining water. As I always say, add some lemon or lime juice if plain water is hard for you to swallow. A great cleansing boost for your liver!
  • Not having a healthy diet: The healthiest selection of fresh, perishable foods are always along the outer perimeter of grocery stores. The center aisles are usually filled with pre-packaged foods. I am not saying you have to live on a diet of only fresh foods, with lots of fruits and consuming enough greens that you feel you resemble Kermit the frog. But when you start to make healthy, non-processed, whole food choices, it does have a positive impact on your skin, health and digestion due in part to the fiber in fruits and vegetables, which helps to push the sludge and toxicity out of the body.

    The harder your digestive system has to work, the more you're aging yourself. I personally do drink a fruit and vegetable smoothie every day, and when I occasionally miss a day, my body craves it! Blending it up it breaks down a lot of the plant food, making it readily available to the body and much easier to digest. But as Kermit would say… "It's not easy being green."

  • Not getting enough exercise: The more you move, the more you get everything else moving inside. When things get stagnant, we can become toxic. It's important to keep the lymphatic system free flowing. Constipation can result for many from a slow moving intestinal tract, which may lead to skin eruptions among other bodily disruptions, so be sure to drink plenty of water, consume enough daily fiber and keep moving.

  • Not getting enough quality enzymes and probiotics (and consuming too much sugar!): Quality enzymes and probiotics perform numerous life-supporting functions. One important function is aiding in digestion by breaking down the foods we eat for better assimilation of the nutrients. Did you place a check mark next to this one… check it off the list because you eat yogurt? FYI…you would have to consume about 24 cups of yogurt to get the right amount of probiotics you need. Not only that, but most of the live bacteria we are searching for to help maintain a healthy digestive tract has probably been destroyed on its way to the stomach by acids.

    On top of that, all those flavored yogurts are generally loaded with sugar. I could write an essay on the causes and effects of excess sugar in the diet and how it affects the skin. Be mindful of all the various names for "hidden" sugars. Look for quality supplements in the health food section of grocery store that contain live probiotics and various strains.

  • Consuming excess dairy: There are numerous studies of how dairy may cause havoc on your stomach and digestive tract. There are reports of how consuming excess dairy products can lead to acne and skin breakouts.


My late grandmother lived three months shy of 101 before she passed away. She had absolutely beautiful skin! She grew up eating bacon-lard sandwiches because they were dirt poor. I remember her saying, "A car does not run without oil and the human body needs fat, in moderation."


MODERATION! The woman never drank or smoked. She ate slowly… so slowly I used to tease her that her banana was going to turn black before she finished it. She exercised well into her 90s and always maintained her weight. She did not take her first aspirin until she was 89. She also insisted on sleeping on her back to preserve her facial skin. Personally, quality sleep is more important to me. :)


My grandmother suffered much loss in her lifetime, but I cannot remember her any other way than always being positive, strong and accepting of the cards in life she was dealt.


So when people compliment me on my beautiful skin, I tell them what I do to take care of it, including what I avoid - the rest of the story which is referenced above.


But true beauty comes from within, beginning with your attitude. I once read, "Attitude determines altitude."


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