Whenever I consult with clients, along with asking questions about their skin concerns, I also inquire about their lifestyles, such as their occupations, hobbies and how often they travel. These factors can have a huge influence on how their skin behaves and ultimately how it will visibly age. In my experience, I have found these professions to expedite premature wrinkling and skin aging:
Pilot. This profession requires a person to sit in front of a huge window in the cockpit where massive amounts of strong UV light affect the skin. Since UV light is the #1 cause of wrinkles and they are closer to the sun, this can cause a pilot’s skin to age more quickly if he or she isn’t protecting it with generous amounts of sunscreen reapplied often during daylight hours. There is also the fact that on a plane, the skin is in a constant state of dehydration because the air on a plane is extremely drying and will pull moisture out of the skin. Skin cells are like fish and need water to live, so without water, the skin is in a vulnerable position. Flight attendants can experience some of this, but they are less exposed to the UV rays since they are walking around the cabin and not sitting directly in front of a window.
Truck driver. Similar to a pilot, this profession requires a lot of exposure to daily UV rays through the front windows of a truck, which do not filter out the UVA damaging rays. The challenge with this profession, similar to that of a pilot, is that often times drivers are not aware they are getting sun damage because they are not outdoors. Also, their skin won’t tan since windows DO filter out UVB rays, which are the rays that tan the skin. A tan is usually an indicator of sun exposure, but without signs of a tan, drivers don’t even think of wearing sunscreen. Want to see how a truck driver can age faster, one ONE side of the face? Look at this photo.
U.S. President. I took a course at UCLA and one of the areas we focused on was how U.S. Presidents age significantly since the job is consistently demanding and (as one can only imagine) tremendously stressful. We looked at pictures of many former Presidents before, during and after their terms in office. It was truly astonishing how much and how quickly their physical appearance had aged. (President Clinton definitely showed more visible aging just from the Monica Lewinsky scandal!)
In fact, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton said back in 2011 that the now graying President Obama was yet another example of how the White House takes its toll. “Every president, if you watch what they look like when they come into office, you can see their hair turn white because it’s such a hard job,” she said.
Stress really does affect our skin and bodies and it is well accepted that stress can cause almost any illness or disorder to worsen or to become more pronounced. In some cases, stress may be the sole factor in triggering a biological issue.
Outdoor sports professional. While this one isn’t too surprising, the professions that can really affect the skin are the ones that require both physical activity and outdoor sun exposure. Professional beach volleyball players, tennis players, surfers, skiers and marathon runners will visibly age more quickly due to massive amounts of sun and daylight exposure. Also, in these professions, exercise increases oxygen, which creates more free radicals that lead to internal aging (changing your cells). Read about the free radical theory of aging.
Those who hold these professions must work a little harder to keep their skin protected, but can be done if it’s important enough to someone.
As with anything in life, knowledge is power and learning to care for your skin, while taking into consideration your lifestyle, is so important. It truly all boils down to daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (see my collection of sunscreens), using a proper skin routine for your skin type, eating a healthy diet loaded with vitamins and nutrients and making caring for your skin a priority. Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.
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