Yes, it is true that some people age better than others. One might look young at 65, while another looks old at 40. To some extent it’s a game of chance. If you pick the right parents your genetic makeup will help you age gracefully, and well. But it isn’t all predetermined.

There are many aspects of our lives or lifestyle that accelerate aging. Avoid them and you will look younger, and more vital than your twin sister. Aging is a complicated matter, and we are not yet in control of the process. To a great degree, we understand how it works, and what speeds up the process, but not how to stop it, or at least not yet. For our purposes we will consider only the manifestations of skin aging, which is what you see when you look in the mirror.

1. SUN EXPOSURE: Much as we love the warm feel of the sun on our skin, it is the primary villain in skin aging, to say nothing of the fact that it is the primary cause of skin cancer as well. This overall process is called photodamage. It refers to the effect of ultraviolet rays on the skin, and the DNA of the cells of the skin. This is manifested by thickened, irregular skin surface, thinned collagen layer, discoloration, wrinkles, superficial blood vessels, and loss of elasticity. Not a pretty package. The majority of one’s photodamage occurs before age 25. The lesson is stay out of direct sun unless you are adequately protected. Sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks 97% of ultraviolet rays. Use it. The good news is there is a great deal available to reverse these changes, but better to avoid the damage.