Premature Ageing: Signs That Will Tell You Are Ageing Prematurely

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Premature Ageing: Signs That Will Tell You Are Ageing Prematurely

Ageing is a natural process that brings various transformations to the human body.

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The appearance and functioning of your body naturally change with age. However, these changes can occur earlier than anticipated and might come as a surprise. This has led to the development of the term "premature" ageing. Various people initially encounter signs of premature ageing on the skin and face. These changes can be influenced by factors like genetics, sun exposure, tanning, smoking, and more. 

Premature ageing however can be avoided if we take certain actions such as modifying our diet, using sunscreen, staying adequately hydrated, and incorporating potent ingredients. Dr. Sahana, a dermatologist at Sushrutha Orthopaedic, Eye Care and Skin Centre in Bangalore in this article explains various signs that indicate premature ageing. 

Various signs that indicate premature ageing according to Dr. Sahana

Dry Skin

Dr. Sahana explains that skin that is dry or itchy (known as xerosis cutis) can occur with increasing frequency as time goes on. This is due to the fact that thinning skin is more susceptible to becoming dehydrated.

“As you enter your 40s, you may notice an increase in skin dryness and a higher susceptibility to flaking. However, if these symptoms occur earlier than anticipated, they could indicate premature ageing," says Dr. Sahana.

Gaunt Hands

According to Dr. Sahana, as time goes by, the outer layers of your skin naturally thin out and lose important proteins such as collagen, which play a crucial role in maintaining the skin's structure. As a result, your hands may start showing more visible veins, appearing thinner and more prone to wrinkles. 

“While there is no definitive measure for when hands start to show signs of ageing, many people tend to observe these changes during their late 30s and early 40s,” explains Dr. Sahana.

Sun Spots

Sun spots, also known as age spots or liver spots, which are flat discolourations on the skin resulting from prolonged sun exposure. These patches of hyper-pigmentation commonly emerge on the face, the back of the hands, or the forearms. “Typically, they become noticeable around or after the age of 40, although people with fairer skin tones might experience these sun spot developments earlier,” says Dr. Sahana.

Hyperpigmentation Along Chest

Inflammatory reactions or increased pigmentation can occur on the chest as individuals age. Dr. Sahana explains that like sunspots, these patches of varying pigmentation may arise due to cellular damage caused by exposure to the sun. However, this type of hyperpigmentation is not exclusively associated with ageing and can also be triggered by conditions such as eczema, which harm the melanin-producing cells in the skin.

Wrinkles and Sagging

As you reach your 30s, your skin undergoes changes that affect its appearance. One significant change is the decrease in collagen production, the protein responsible for maintaining the skin's firmness and shape. Collagen helps your skin retain its elasticity and youthful plumpness.

As the level of collagen decreases, the skin becomes more susceptible to the formation of visible wrinkles and sagging. These signs of ageing may be more pronounced in areas where muscles are frequently used, such as the forehead, or in regions exposed to the sun.

Dr. Sahana emphasises that the exact age at which individuals first notice wrinkles can vary, and there is no specific benchmark for what is considered "premature" wrinkling. It is also worth noting that not all instances of skin changes can be attributed solely to the ageing process. Factors like dirt buildup or dehydration can also contribute to the appearance of wrinkles and sagging.

Hair Loss

Hair loss occurs when the stem cells responsible for initiating new hair growth within your hair follicles diminish. The speed at which this process unfolds is influenced by hormone fluctuations, environmental elements, genetic factors, and dietary choices.

A considerable proportion of women over the age of 70 encounter hair loss. In contrast, men tend to experience it at an earlier stage.


Premature ageing signs can manifest at any stage of adulthood, often influenced by environmental or lifestyle elements, although rare syndromes can also contribute to premature ageing. To safeguard against or counteract premature ageing, it is advisable to shield your skin from excessive sun exposure, quit smoking, maintain a nutritious diet, and engage in regular exercise. If premature ageing continues to be a concern, or if it becomes bothersome, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider to explore potential treatment options.

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