Our Destiny of Beauty, Genetics and Ageing

Remember the saying “a chip off the old block”? We may take after our parents but we can change our destiny of beauty, genetics and ageing.

We take after our parents to a certain extent as half of our genes come from both our biological mother and father. But that fact alone does not determine our entire biological makeup nor our intelligence level, personality, and character. Some of our traits are our own, predominantly the result of nurture and environment.

Having said that, there is one element where genes play a pivotal role, which is in the way we age physically and our hereditary medical condition. If your family has a history of diabetes, for instance, you stand a higher risk of getting the disease as opposed to someone who does not have that in their family history. On the same account, the body or facial areas where signs of ageing first appeared on our parents would probably be a good indication of where we’ll start showing ours.

However, good habits and making conscientious healthy lifestyle choices can help path your own destiny. They can play a defining role in preventing the onset of wrinkles and even stave off impending genetic diseases.

Control your genes and our ageing skin

Scientists believe that “habits can trump genetics”, and research has shown that at least 40% of ageing factors are not the result of our genes.

A study on 144 pairs of identical twins by scientists at Case Western Reserve revealed that the main factors contributing to ageing go beyond DNA and genes. Bad habits such as smoking or leading an inactive and stressful life are the primary causes of premature ageing.

So it would seem that nurture, and not nature, make us look older than we are.

The 3 bad S’s: Smoking, sun, and stress

Did you know that smoking adds 2.5 years to your appearance for every decade you’re hooked on the habit? As if stained teeth and perpetually smelling like a walking damp ashtray isn’t enough, the nicotine also changes the function of immune cells and elasticity of our skin. This means you’ll be a walking combination of wrinkles, crow’s feet, and dry skin that spots the (in)famous smoker’s line around the lips.

Smoking is said to be worse on skin than sun exposure when it comes to premature ageing. Still, sunbathing is the most harmful past time anyone could indulge in. The sun’s UV rays damage our skin’s elasticity, kickstarting our body’s melanin production. When this happens, pigmentation appears.

If you’re stressed just thinking about it, don’t be. Stress is also high on the list of causes for premature ageing. The stress hormone, cortisol, is a collagen wrecker and with lesser collagen, our skin loses its elasticity, resulting in a saggy appearance. According to dermatologist and author Amy Wescher (The Mind-Beauty Connection), stress can make you look three to six years older.

There is hope. Don’t let genetics and ageing get you down.

Start by getting sufficient sleep, which is about 8 hours. Switch to a healthier diet and adopt activities that help you to de-stress. These will help lengthen the telomeres, the caps that protect our chromosome. The shorter the telomeres, the quicker you age and the sooner diseases such as cancer catch up on you.

If you’ve been making positive lifestyle changes but the problem of sagging skin still persists, there is a treatment option that can help. Ultherapy is the only no downtime, non-invasive skin firming treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that encourages the natural production of collagen to tighten skin. This treatment uses focused ultrasound to penetrate deep into our skin, triggering our body’s own regenerative response to rebuild a supportive collagen fibre network within our skin. Over time, this results in firmer and tighter skin.

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