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Genes Or Routine: Which One Rules When It Comes To Your Skin?

Here's a question I am often asked:

Do I really have control over how my skin ages? Or do my genes play a more significant role in the process?

And my answer to that question should put a smile on your lovely face. :)

While there are indeed some genetically inherited traits that can affect the look of your skin and how it ages, your skincare routine can play a much bigger role, and even sometimes overrule, many of those genetically-dealt cards.

According to one well-known dermatologist, Doris Day, author of Forget The Facelift, genetics account for only about 10% of the skin's aging process.

And I don't know about you, but I find that extremely reassuring!

It means we play an even larger role than we realized in the long-term health and appearance of our skin, and while we are all going to age (yes, it is absolutely inevitable), with a little due diligence, we can do so more slowly.

So, Here's What You Can't Control

Genes Or Routine Which One Rules When It Comes To Your Skin

So as I've mentioned, genetics does hold sway over some aspects of your skin's appearance now and over time.

For example, a tendency toward under-eye circles, freckles, the development of stretch marks and other discolorations are built into your DNA.

We are, after all, individuals, and it's our very differences that make us extraordinary.

And that's a good thing! :) It makes each of us stand out in our own unique way.

What You CAN Control!

But let me assure you, you possess the power to slow down your skin's aging process by the choices and lifestyle habits you adopt.

You can determine how quickly your skin ages with a few simple tweaks.

The good news is; you're probably already doing tons of things right!

So let's discuss some of the less desirable habits you may be following, as well as how to make simple changes toward healthier ones.

Some Do's And Don't's For The Health Of Your Skin

1. Smoking. Smoking is one of the most damaging things you can do when it comes to your skin (and of course, your overall health).

In a study of identical twins done by Case Western Reserve from 2009 to 2013, smoking, along with other factors (sun exposure, stress, lack of sleep) made one twin look much older than her non-smoking twin sister.

And as if that's not bad enough, for every ten years of smoking, the twin who smoked saw her skin age 2.5 years faster than her sister's.

We all know that smoking is an unhealthy habit. It's also highly toxic to your skin, impeding its ability to heal and repair itself.

The sooner you kick your smoking habit, the sooner you can get to work on repairing your skin.

While you cannot reverse damage caused by years of smoking, there are so many wonderful products on the market than can help to enhance the quality, health, and appearance of your skin.

2. Sun Exposure. I've talked about this over and over again, as you no doubt know if you've been following me for any time at all.

Hands down, sun exposure is the leading cause of wrinkles.

In fact, according to dermatologist Doris Day, as much as 90% of skin's wrinkles are the result of sun exposure.

The anecdote to this one is obvious, right?

Wear sunscreen!

Apply a strong SPF when you'll be in the sun for extended periods, and get in the habit of using a daily SPF, even as you go about your day.

Protecting your skin from the harsh effects of the sun will significantly slow the aging process.

It's truly your best defense against aging.

I have been absolutely loving Image Skincare’s Prevention+ Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF 50 for everyday use.

Their Matte SPF 32 option is fantastic for those with an oilier complexion!

Genes Or Routine Which One Rules When It Comes To Your Skin 2

3. Sleep. Have you ever wondered where the expression "beauty sleep" comes from?

Sleep is a powerful part of a healthy skincare regimen!

During sleep, your skin regenerates and rejuvenates, letting its dewy vitality shine through.

A lack of quality sleep has the opposite effect -- your skin looks dull and lackluster.

Bags and shadows appear under your eyes. Yikes!

Strive to get a good night's sleep every night.

It's one of the best ways to turn back the clock on aging!

Bonus points if you use PM specific skincare products, which typically work to deliver a richer/more potent dose of ingredients to your skin!

4. Stress. Too much stress is very aging to your skin.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, can wreak absolute havoc on your lovely complexion, breaking down collagen and paving the way to wrinkles.

As a mommy of two and business owner, I know all too well how hard it can be to stay stress-free.

But there are steps you can take to reduce stress and its adverse effects on your skin.

Don't feel guilty about taking much-needed timeouts from your busy schedule.

Even a short break from your daily routine can do wonders.

Make sure to get enough exercise.

Eat a healthy diet.

Take time to engage in something you love to do, like reading or gardening. Meditate. Read.

There are so many ways to alleviate stress.

And you owe it yourself to carve out time to spend on those you most enjoy.

You'll not only feel better, but your skin will reap the benefits as well.

5. Physical Exercise. Exercise isn't just for weight loss.

It also does amazing things for your skin.

Exercise gets your blood circulating; it adds oxygen to your system, all of which flows into your skin cells.

Studies have shown that exercise can aid in your skin's ability to repair itself and may even protect against skin cancer.

Aim for at least three to four days a week of some form of aerobic exercise.

You'll give your skin a marvelous anti-aging treatment with every session.

Just don't forget sunscreen if you're heading outdoors to work out!

Genes Or Routine Which One Rules When It Comes To Your Skin 3

6. Delicate Eye Area. The skin around your eyes is extremely delicate and needs extra TLC to stay supple and youthful looking.

Safeguard the area around your eyes with sunglasses whenever you head outdoors.

And for tear-free sunscreen, consider trying one formulated especially for your eye area.

Add a broad-rimmed hat and you're covered. Literally!

One product I absolutely love is SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50.

It both nourishes and protects the delicate skin around your eyes, is non-irritating, and actually makes for a wonderful primer if you are planning on wearing makeup over top!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to genetics versus your skincare routines and habits, there are obviously many factors within your control, no matter what genetic cards you were dealt.

Regardless of your habits thus far, it's never too late to make healthy, positive changes for your overall health as well as the health of your skin.

Let's start the conversation rolling. What habits have you changed to the betterment of your skin? What's your favorite anti-aging skincare routine?

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