What Causes Premature Aging?


We all age. It just happens as time passes and we grow older. But people age differently. Some people look younger than one would expect. While others look older. The team at spermidineLIFE® is taking a closer look at aging from what it really is to how to take care of yourself to stay young on the inside and out.

Why Does Aging Occur?

The aging process happens because we can’t stop time. And as it moves and the days pass by, our body undergoes changes. Our organs, tissues and cells age as we move from childhood into adulthood and on.

All living tissue is made of cells. There are many different types of cells, but they are the basic building blocks of tissues. All cells are impacted by aging. Some are not able to function properly or lose their ability to function.

As we age, waste products may build up in tissues. Our connective tissues become stiffer. And cell membranes change so tissues sometimes don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Plus they have trouble removing carbon dioxide and other waste matter.

Our organs also feel the impact of age. For example, a 20-year-old’s heart is capable of pumping about 10 times the blood that is needed for a person to be alive. By age 30, an average of 1% of this reserve is lost.

The heart isn’t the only organ impacted. Our lungs and kidneys also lose reserve ability as we age. Sometimes these changes happen slowly. When the body works harder than usual, it may not be able to increase its function.


Woman applying sunscreen to her husband's nose

Factors That Affect The Aging Process

There are a lot of thoughts about aging and how people age differently. Gerontologists (people who study aging), believe that aging is due to many factors including:

  • Genetics
  • Our environment
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Culture
  • Past illnesses

What Are the Major Causes Of Premature Aging?

Premature aging is aging that happens earlier than expected, many times that is before the age of 35.

There are many causes to premature aging, but experts agree on the following play a big factor:

  • Smoking - Skin is exposed to oxidative stress from the toxins in cigarette smoke causing dryness and wrinkles.
  • Sun Exposure Or Tanning - When skin is exposed to too many UV rays, the DNA in skin cells is damaged leading to wrinkles.
  • Genetics - Our genes can make us predisposed to conditions like gray hair, balding and wrinkles earlier. But some genetic conditions cause children and those in puberty to show signs of aging earlier. It’s a rare condition called progeria.
  • Sleep Habits - Sleep allows the body to regenerate cells. Lack of sleep can cause early signs of aging.
  • Diet - Diets high in sugars and refined carbohydrates can damage skin over time.
  • Caffeine Intake - Both alcohol and caffeine can cause dehydration, which can make skin sag.
  • Stress - Being stressed often can cause an inflammatory response in the body. And those stress hormones can cause premature aging.
  • Environment - Pollutants in the air around a person can build up so pigment spots and wrinkles can develop or worsen.

What Is Normal Brain Aging?

Aging changes the brain in a few ways including the size of the brain and cognition. Our brains usually shrink in the frontal lobe and hippocampus areas, which are involved with cognitive function and encoding new memories.

As people age, there is an increased risk of strokes and dementia. The brain is not immune to cellular or tissue changes. However, brains age differently. There isn’t a uniform timeframe on when a person may experience changes to their brain. The one thing researchers agree on is how aging cells affect how the brain ages.

What Are The First Signs Of Aging?

Oftentimes, the first signs of aging tend to be more physical, especially for females experiencing aging body changes. Sometimes people may feel tired sooner, but it’s usually physical conditions that people tend to notice first such as the ones listed below.

  • Sun Spots - Also known as age spots or liver spots. They are just flat spots on the skin usually caused by sun exposure. People with fairer skin may develop them earlier.
  • Gaunt Hands - Hands that appear more veiny with thin skin and wrinkles are due to the top layers of the skin becoming thinner.
  • Dry Or Itchy Skin - This is caused by skin thinning which makes it more susceptible to dehydration.
  • Wrinkles Or Sagging - Collagen production slows down as people enter their 30s. This is what helps the skin bounce back. With less collagen, wrinkles are more prone to forming and sagging can occur.
  • Hair Loss - This happens when stem cells that trigger new hair growth dies off. 

How To Reverse Premature Aging 

There are ways to prevent premature aging, especially of the brain. Most of them require stopping destructive habits such as smoking and to only drink in moderation.

Diet and exercise also play a big part in preventing and reversing premature aging. Eating a diet full of whole foods including vegetables and fruits, infuses your body with the nutrition it needs.

How Can I Stop My Face From Aging?

We can’t stop time from ticking, but we can take steps to slow down the sudden aging process of the face. Our environment and lifestyle play a huge role in how our skin ages. But following the steps below can help slow down the aging process.

  1. Sun Protection - Wear sunscreen or cover your skin with clothing to protect from damaging UV rays.
  2. Stop Smoking - Smoking speeds up skin aging, causing wrinkles and a dull complexion.
  3. Facial Expressions - Avoid repetitive motions with the face. Making the same facial expressions causes the muscles underneath to contract to lead to wrinkles.
  4. Eat Healthily - As mentioned above, eating fruits and vegetables may help prevent the damage that leads to premature aging.
  5. Exercise - Get your body moving! Even moderate exercise can boost circulation and aid the immune system.
  6. Drink In Moderation - Too much alcohol can be dehydrating and make the skin look older.
  7. Take Care Of Your Skin - Wash your face and moisturize.


Millennial woman moisturizing her face.

How To Prevent Aging Skin In Your 20s

The 20s are a good time to get in a routine to prevent wrinkles. So follow these steps on premature aging skin treatment.

  • Know Your Skin - Your skin changes over time. Some people move past blemishes into their teens, while others are still on the blemish battlefield. Make sure you are using products for your skin type. What used to work, may no longer be the right product so be prepared to change up your skincare routine as your skin changes.
  • Drink Water - Staying hydrated is essential for your body to function properly. Water helps to keep skin hydrated and prevent wrinkles and aging. Water also helps you avoid sugar-laden drinks that can wreak havoc on your skin.
  • Anti-Wrinkle Treatments - It may be time to start some anti-wrinkle treatments, whether you go to a dermatologist or buy some over-the-counter products.
  • Sunscreen - Make sure you wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy or if you live in a cold winter-like climate.
  • Antioxidants - Besides just eating your fruits and vegetables, make sure to include foods high in Omega-3 like salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds.

How To Take Care Of Your Skin

Besides quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet and making sure you wear sunscreen there are some extra tips to follow to take care of your skin. We often take for granted how simple things we do every day can affect our skin so it’s important that we are gentle with it in the ways listed below.

  • Limit Bath And Shower Time - As nice as a long, hot shower may feel, that can remove important oils from the skin. So limit bath time and make sure you are using warm, not hot, water.
  • Use Gentle Soaps - Strong soaps and even detergents can be harsh on skin. Sometimes fragrances added to soaps and detergents can be bad for sensitive skin.
  • Pat Dry - Don’t rub your skin vigorously with a towel. Instead, pat yourself dry.
  • Shave Carefully - Make sure you are using a clean and sharp razor and shaving in the direction hair grows, not against it. Also, make sure to use a lubricant and not shave on dry skin.
  • Moisturize - After a shower, make sure to moisturize your skin.

Why Is Anti-Aging Important?

Anti-aging is important for a number of reasons. First, when we look good we feel good. Our confidence can be boosted by how we look. And if we are happy with how we look, we feel better.

Secondly, anti-aging is important to live a long and healthy life. A lot of skin issues like wrinkles and lack of firmness is due to the breakdown of cells. Our cells also make up the health of our heart, kidneys, brain and other organs. For them to stay in tip-top shape, our cells need to be healthy.

Supplements Than Can Slow Aging

Fortunately, besides just eating right, exercising and taking care of our skin there are also supplements to help slow aging.

Spermidine can help activate the body’s own renewal process for cells known as autophagy. This gives cells the ability to regenerate and rejuvenate so old, damaged cells are broken down for new cells to be formed. The new cells are young and healthy, just what the body needs to fight aging.

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  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.