Salt Lake City, Utah, has some of the healthiest and spriest seniors in the nation. However, the years can take their toll, and several factors in Utah tend to make residents look older than they are. Halt the visible signs of aging and look and feel decades younger.
Avoid the Sun
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the biggest culprit for visible skin aging, and Utah is bombarded by higher concentrations of UV. Elevation increases UV concentrations by up to 7 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Most Utah cities stand at 4,000 feet, with UV concentrations going up by 24 percent. The state’s outdoor culture also leads to prolonged exposure to the sun and a higher risk of sun damage. UV exposure disrupts the skin’s collagen and elastin levels. Lower collagen levels make your skin more prone to cracks and wrinkles, while lower levels of elastin make it more likely to sag.
Protect your skin by limiting sunlight exposure, particularly at midday. Wear protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats) that limit your skin’s exposure to direct sunlight, or use an umbrella if you need to take extended strolls under the sun. Use sunblock when the UV Index is at 5 or higher; note that sunblock only lasts a couple of hours.
Smoking damages your skin on so many different levels. The nicotine in cigarettes can restrict the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your skin, giving you the gray or orange pallor common among smokers. Inhaled smoke also releases free radicals into your body, damaging collagen production and making you more vulnerable to wrinkles. Puffing cigarettes also tenses the muscles on the lips, leading to deeper lines around the mouth or a smoker’s pucker. While the effects of smoking on the skin are alarming, they are still reversible. A couple of days without smoking should have your oxygen levels back up, and two to three smoke-free weeks should return your collagen and elastin levels to normal.
Cleanse Your Skin
Utah’s air pollution and particulate problems can wreak havoc on your skin, especially during winter inversions, as particulate levels often go over 300. Smoke, dirt, and other particulates can clog your pores and lead to irritation, rashes, acne breakouts, and eczema. Particulates can also penetrate deeper into your skin’s dermal layers and directly disrupt the production of collagen. A quick shower after work or school might not be enough to cleanse your skin. Consider using facial cleansers, but opt for mild astringents that won’t dry your skin.
Elevation makes Utah one of the driest states in the US. The thinner air reduces humidity levels to the point that the humidity in Utah is lower compared to the Sahara Desert. Elevation also reduces feelings of thirst, making you drink less water than your body might need to hydrate properly. Dry skin will crack easier and eventually turn into wrinkles. Consciously drink lots of water and use moisturizers before you sleep. Normal lotions might not be enough, so opt for creams with high oil content. Air conditioning can eliminate what little humidity you have in your house, so switch to a humidifier or swamp cooler in arid months.
Treasure Your Pearly Whites
Having all your teeth makes you look younger. Dentures can do the job, but you’ve probably seen a ton of embarrassing videos related to denture mishaps. There’s no bigger trope on growing old like dentures, but you can avoid them by opting for implants. A trip to a cosmetic dentist can give you back your smile without the potential embarrassment of using dentures. Opting for dental implants is also a more permanent and convenient option, doing away with all the rituals associated with using dentures.
Get Some Work Done
Visits to the aesthetician are becoming more common nowadays, especially with safer procedures that don’t require going under the knife. The use of Botox and Juvederm has been widely accepted, and most treatments can appear natural, provided you have good doctors. Newer treatments like thread lifts are less invasive and use the body’s own collagen production to reverse aging, if only for a year or two.
Treatments can be expensive, but reclaiming your youth should come with a price. Of course, makeup is always an option, and a few minutes in front of a mirror can work wonders on your looks.
Growing old is inevitable, but looking old is optional. Maintain a bit of your youthful charm and looks with a bit of effort and investment.