As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that certainly applies when it comes to aging of the skin. Here are some ways you can prevent and reverse the signs of aging on your skin.
Let’s look at each one in turn….
Wrinkles are caused by our skin losing it’s elasticity, thinning out, and free radical or oxidant damage. One of the best ways we can stop the effects of oxidation is to apply antioxidants to our skin. Many skincare products contain antioxidants, here are some that you want to look for:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide)
- Vitamin C (SAP is the most stable)
- Green Tea extract
- Grape Seed extract/oil
Similar to the topical application of vitamins and antioxidants, you can fight skin oxidation and free radicals by properly nourishing your body.
Foods rich in EFA’s are great, and lots of green leafy vegetables. Some of the best topically applied vitamins are also the best ones to look for in your food. Vitamins C, E, A, D, B3 (niacinamide) and zinc. Fruits like blueberries and strawberries are great as well as being lower on the glycemic index.
Sugary foods and high glycemic foods can trigger inflammation in the body. It’s often easy to tell how healthy a person is by looking at their skin. If it’s dry and rough that is a good indicator that they have some health issues.
Also….gaining and losing weight can cause aging of the skin, just stay slim and don’t yoyo!
Watch Your Sun Exposure
Getting some sun is good for your health, just don’t over do it. While a nice tanned face may look gorgeous, most experts agree that sun is also the #1 cause of aging to the skin. Wear a sunscreen with a higher SPF on your face, but check the ingredients. Many different brands of makeup and lotions come with built in SPF.
Our food just doesn’t have the nutrients in it that it once did, even if it’s organic. That’s why everyone should be taking vitamin supplements, and if you can find one that has benefits for the skin, that’s even better.
Antioxidants such as green tea extract, vitamins C and E have all been found to offer a protective effect from sun damage as well as their other qualities.
Also look for a higher dose of vitamin A as it is one of the most widely acknowledged nutrients for healthy skin. It helps with cell turnover and moderating sebaceous gland activity. Lack of vitamin A can cause skin to become rough, dry, and scaly.
Vitamin D is extremely important as well. If vitamin D levels are low, your epidermal cells don’t differentiate optimally and your skin’s outer layer can start to sag.
Zinc can improve wound healing, has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps protect agains UV radiation.
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), pantothenic acid, vitamin D3, grape seed extract and turmeric all have also shown to have properties that promote anti-aging of the skin.
There are a few supplements available that cover all these bases and are a multivitamin. The one we recommend is available on amazon.com and was specifically designed for women, view it on amazon.com here: Multivitamin with Anti-Aging Skin Support.
Do Not Smoke
This is one area that all dermatologists seem to agree on. The free radical damage from smoking will make your skin age a lot quicker. There have even been studies done on twins where one smoked and the other did not to back this up.
What’s good for the body is good for the skin. The increased blood flow from exercise will help nourish the skin cells and carry away waste products (and free radicals). This will also give you that ‘post workout glow’. Exercise supports the production of collagen and reduces stress levels which can cause collagen in the skin to break down.
There was even a study done at McMaster University showing the effects of exercising on the skin. 3 months of exercise on the ‘over 40 year old’ participants had the effect of giving them a thicker dermis layer and making their skin much closer in composition to that of a 20-30 year old.
You can read more about the study here: NYT: Younger Skin Through Exercise
Get Enough Sleep
In the short term, lack of sleep causes sallow skin and puffy eyes with dark circles underneath them which makes you look older and tired. In the longer term, chronic sleep loss can lead to bland skin, fine lines, and constant dark circles.
If you regularly don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down your collagen which is needed for smooth and elastic skin. Your body also produces less growth hormone which helps with tissue repair.
They don’t call them worry lines for nothing! Stress won’t just age your skin, it will age you. Some scientists say that too much stress can age your skin by a decade. So relax, go and have a cup of green tea for a double benefit to your skin.
Don’t Let Your Skin Dry Out
While there is no evidence that dry skin causes wrinkles (despite popular belief), dry skin looks more wrinkled. Applying a moisturizer to dry skin will plump up fine lines and wrinkles to give the appearance of less wrinkles. A moisturized face will also help protect our skin’s natural barrier which helps protect against aging.
Stop Ditching New Products so Quickly
Many skin products and especially anti-aging products can take months to show their effects on your skin. If you are constantly switching products you may never find out what really works for you.
Don’t Over Exfoliate
Exfoliating your skin can be an important step in keeping a youthful look, but do it gently and not too often.
However, over exfoliating can cause premature aging of the skin. You face has a natural barrier called the acid mantle, when you destroy that barrier your skin is exposed to environmental toxins and is extra sensitive to the sun. A damaged skin barrier is also more susceptible to wrinkles.