Skip to content

I'm a Doctor and This Ages Your Skin Terribly

Avoid these triple threats, says this board-certified dermatologist.

As a board-certified dermatologist, I am asked all the time: How can I look younger? I say the first thing to do is stop making yourself look older. The dreaded triple threat—Sun, Smoking, and Sugar—are some of our biggest culprits for visible signs of aging and cellular damage.

  • As far as foods are concerned, the sugar sag or glycation is a major ager. All forms of sugar are highly inflammatory and can literally be seen on your face! (It can also be a contributor to acne breakouts of conditions including rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.)
  • Lectins can also be aging or inflammatory, which are hidden even in foods we consider healthy, like oatmeal.   
  • Blue light is a newer less studied form of aging and damage, but there is informed research that indicates it is a key factor over time as well.

Read on to learn about the most dangerous forms of these threats, and how you can turn back the clock. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Excessive Sugars

Man pouring added sugar packet into drink

…in our bloodstream particularly attach to proteins which produce free radicals [AGE] causing damages including shortening our telomeres, making our cells more resistant to repair and distorting dermal vasculature.  They break down our collagen fibers and slow the process of collagen building, both leaving their mark and contributing to advanced signs of aging. 

RELATED: Looking Older? Stop Doing These Things Right Now, Say Experts



Black lentils red lentils puy lentils

…can cause atopic reactions including skin rash, inflammation are common outcomes and they are a type of protein that can also reduce nutrient absorption in our foods, so those vitamins and minerals or antioxidant rich greens skin benefits we are counting on for cellular support are cancelled out. 

RELATED: 15 Supplements Every Woman Should Take, Say Doctors


UV Rays

Woman covering face by hand of bright sun light.

…from the sun cause free radical damage, photo aging, erratic melanin production, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation, dry scaly patches, enlarged pores, actinic keratosis and various types of lines and wrinkles.  

RELATED: 40 Ways to Stay Healthy After 40, Say Experts


Blue Light

Woman look at tablet computer at home

…penetrates skin and causes cellular damage that can speed up the aging process. Even short bursts of exposure under 60 minutes can trigger changes that lead to both cellular aging and visual aging. 

RELATED: How You Could Delay Dementia, According to Science


As Far as Smoking…

Middle age hoary senior man

…detrimental health risks are involved but specifically for skin it reduces oxygen to the cells, dries and damages skin cells, pursing contributes to lines and wrinkles around the mouth and even eyes. It affects elasticity, texture, structure, repair functions, pore size and even color. Many of the visible signs can be somewhat mitigated or improved but often cellular damages leading to advanced signs of aging over time are simply not fully reversible even with laser treatments technologies and topicals. 

RELATED: Warning Signs You're Becoming Obese


What Should You do to Prevent These Things from Aging Your Face?

middle aged woman applying sunscreen lotion on face on the beach

Sunscreen 365—anywhere above or below the towel needs to be covered daily even when working from home. Outside and in more intensive sun, double down on sunscreen every 90 minutes with 30 SPF and add a hat or sun protective clothing.

Eliminate most or all simple sugars from your diet:

  • Focus on natural fruit sugars in the diet but limited amounts
  • Look for low glycemic foods 
  • Introduce a natural, raw high percentage dark chocolate as a treat over other sugary sweets
  • Know where to find hidden sugars and read labels
  • Limit alcohol. Change out Vodka made from potatoes or high sugar wine for a Vodka made from grapes [like Ciroc] with a low concentration and never add sugared mixers.  

Look for a protective screen guard for your technology.  Check settings on devices for safety and blue light blockage, when possible.

Don't even pick up a cigarette let alone a pack! And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ava Shamban, MD, is a Board Certified Dermatologist based in Los Angeles and is the founder of Ava MD Dermatology, SkinFive Medical Spas and The Box by Dr Ava.  

Ava Shamban, MD
Renown board-certified dermatologist, Ava Shamban M.D, is a true skin visionary, clinician, author, age-delay expert and prejuvenation proponent. Read more about Ava