Lifestyle Factors That Accelerate Aging and How a Face Lift Can Help

Wrinkles, volume loss and sagging skin may be a natural part of aging, but why is it that people age at different rates? For example, two people can be the exact same age, but one person has smooth, unlined skin and the other is experiencing crow’s feet and drooping along the jawline. There are a variety of factors that affect the aging process, and Raleigh plastic surgeon, Dr. Ortiz, is exploring those factors as well as looking at whether a face lift can help.

Factors That Speed Up Aging

First, let’s look at the eight major contributors to premature aging so you know how you can make simple shifts to your lifestyle to minimize damage before it starts.


Diets high in sugar, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar which will trigger inflammation. The glucose produced will enter the bloodstream and attach to collagen and elastin and other proteins in the body which can speed their breakdown and degradation. Eating whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will help combat this by boosting your nutrients and leveling out your blood sugar.


Smoking leads to fine lines forming around the mouth and forehead. If this wasn’t bad enough, it deprives your skin of oxygen and nutrients, which speeds cellular deterioration, and damages your collagen and elastin which are what keeps your skin firm and supple. Quitting smoking now will go a long way toward preventing additional damage.

Drinking Alcohol

While the occasional glass of wine or cocktail won’t harm your skin, a few drinks a day, several days a week can accelerate skin aging. Alcohol triggers your body to release more stress hormones, which speeds up aging, while it hinders your ability to absorb nutrients like vitamin A which helps with cell regeneration and collagen reproduction.

Sleeping Positions

You need your “beauty sleep” to make sure your body repairs itself at a cellular level, but if you sleep on the same side, every night, you’re setting yourself up for more wrinkles on that side of your face. Pressing your skin into a pillow every night blocks circulation and collagen, and presses wrinkles into it. Sleeping on your back or simply switching sides will help avoid this problem.

Mental Health and Well-Being

Depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health challenges cause the release of cortisol, the stress hormone that triggers your “fight or flight response.” Over time, this can inhibit your body’s ability to heal and repair itself, meaning your collagen and elastin will break down more quickly. This, coupled with the fact that many people suffering from anxiety or depression may not be eating or sleeping well leads to more rapid aging.

Frequent Airline Travel

Did you know that the sun’s UV rays are more intense at high altitudes? Being on an airplane exposes you to higher rates of UV exposure through the plane’s windows. Also, airplane air is dry, which can lead to dehydration. While a few flights a year may not cause a problem, if you fly regularly, it can take its toll on your skin. Fortunately, drinking plenty of water while you’re on the plane, using a light moisturizer with SPF protection, and pulling down the shade if you’re by the window should prevent problems.

Sun Exposure

Sun damage is the leading cause of advanced or accelerated aging and skin damage. UV rays slow down epidermal growth and healing while breaking down collagen, leading to lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Continued sun exposure creates free radicals which alter your cells’ genetic material in a way that can lead to skin cancer.

Will a Face Lift Reverse Damage and Premature Aging?

While no cosmetic surgery reverses skin damage caused by smoking, sun exposure, or other factors, it is possible to smooth wrinkles and minimize sagging that comes from lost elasticity and collagen. If you’re concerned about sagging in your cheeks and along your jawline, a face lift will remove excess skin and tighten deep tissue layers, leaving your face looking smoother and more youthful.

If you have sagging around your brow line and forehead, or you have deep wrinkles in this area, a brow lift may be beneficial. Like a face lift, a brow lift pulls up the skin and deep tissues and skin is removed. Dr. Ortiz can often perform both procedures at the same time, allowing you to put your best face forward.

Fillers and Injectables for Fine Lines

If fine lines and small wrinkles are more of a concern to you than sagging skin, fillers and injectables are often used to smooth the area and create a more youthful appearance. They can also be used in combination with a face lift to improve the overall outcome and results. Options include:

  • Chemical peels to remove the top layer of skin and allow smoother skin to grow in its place;
  • Dermabrasion “sands” down the surface, allowing new, smoother skin to grow;
  • Neuromuscular blockers like Botox ® reduces frown lines between the eyebrows and crows feet by preventing the muscles from excessively contracting. This creates a smoother look of the forehead, lips and crows feet.
  • Tissue fillers include fat, collagen, and hyaluronic acid, a natural sugar found in our skin and joints that holds water. These fill in the area of concern, creating a smooth look.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Ortiz Today

If you would like to restore a youthful appearance and minimize the signs of aging, Dr. Ortiz can help you meet your goals. Schedule a private consultation to learn the best options for you today at (919) 532-2270 or fill out our contact form today to learn more.