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Charles A. Messa, III, MD, FACS

Daily Habits that Accelerate Aging: How to Reverse the Damage

Posted June 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Many people underestimate the power of a bad habit, especially when it involves their own health and wellness. Day after day of smoking, prolonged sun exposure, and chronic sleep deprivation can lead to major health issues that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Recent scientific studies have shown that these habits in particular can also wreak havoc on your physical appearance and further accelerate the aging process.


woman breaking cigaretteSmoking has been linked to plenty of health issues, including lung disease, lung cancer, heart disease, depression, oral cancer, high blood pressure, and strokes. A study published in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), has found that smoking is also linked to accelerated facial aging. The study surveyed sets of twins, each set having one twin who smoked and one who did not. In as few as five years, a significant difference could be seen between the two; the twin who smoked had more noticeable wrinkles, fine lines, and poorer overall skin quality, especially in the lower face.

How to Reverse the Damage

A facelift is the best option to eliminate wrinkles caused from smoking. It addresses the neck and the lower third of the face to correct sagging jowls, wrinkles, and fine lines. Just remember that you must quit smoking for at least two weeks prior to surgery to reduce your risk for complications.

Not Wearing Sunscreen

woman with sunburn on shoulderIt’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen each day, but adding this simple step to your beauty regimen can prevent serious sun damage over time. This truth is clearly manifested in a case presented in the New England Journal of Medicine, which features a truck driver who did not protect his skin from the sun during his 28 years behind the wheel. Today, at 69 years old, the left side of his face that was exposed to sunlight from the driver-side window appears to be at least ten years older than the right side. Consistent exposure to the sun causes wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone, and rough skin texture.

How to Reverse the Damage

Laser skin resurfacing is the ideal procedure to correct sun damage. Light from the laser removes dead skin cells and damaged skin, allowing new, healthy skin to replace it.

Not Getting Enough Sleep

woman asleep on deskChronic sleep deprivation has been linked to several major health problems, including obesity, cancer, diabetes, and immune deficiency. A 2013 study has shown that not getting enough sleep can also impact skin function and aging. Of the 60 middle-aged women involved in the study, the group who had poor quality of sleep showed more signs of skin aging, including fine lines, uneven skin tone, and reduced skin elasticity. The poor sleepers also recovered more slowly from sunburn and rated their own physical appearance lower on average than the group who got a sufficient amount of sleep each night.

How to Reverse the Damage

Microdermabrasion will help reverse the damage that chronic sleep deprivation can cause, including sun damage, age spots, superficial pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. The face, neck, and chest can be treated to give the skin a more youthful, well-rested glow.

If you are interested in surgical or non-surgical treatment to reverse the signs of aging, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Charles A. Messa by calling (954) 659-7760. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.

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