Of all the physical changes that occur with age, none is more apparent than the changes in your skin. You may eventually feel the cartilage in your joints wearing thin, but wrinkles and lines stare back at you every time you look in the mirror.
Fortunately there are several natural ways to slow down the aging of your skin. Although I don’t have any magic potions that completely erase deep wrinkles, I want to share with you seven steps to healthy, younger-looking skin.
1. Feed Your Skin
Your skin is your largest organ, and optimal skin health is dependent upon optimal nutrition. Particularly important are antioxidants, especially vitamins A, C, and E, which protect your skin from the onslaught of environmental free radicals. Also valuable are essential fatty acids (EFAs), which contribute to the formation of healthy cell membranes.
The best way to ensure that your skin is getting all the nutrients it needs is to take a high-dose, broad-spectrum multivitamin, and supplement that with omega-3 EFAs. Fish oil (a minimum of 2,000 mg per day) and freshly ground flaxseed (1/4 cup per day sprinkled on food or mixed into smoothies)—are rich sources.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Seventy percent of the dermis, the inner layer of the skin, is water. One of the main reasons our skin sags and wrinkles as we age is that the dermis loses about 30 percent of its total water content. The result is flat, dry-looking, flaking skin. Moisturizers certainly help dry skin, but you shouldn’t overlook the importance of hydrating your skin from the inside by drinking copious amounts of water. This is vital for overall health and imperative for supple, moist skin. I recommend a minimum of 8 glasses every day.
3. Shield Against UV Radiation
Most skin damage is caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. To prevent UV damage, you must protect your skin from both UV-B rays which cause sunburn, and UV-A rays which penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and cause you to look older. (Both UV-A and UV-B rays can cause skin cancer.)
Although I believe everyone should spend time in the sun several days a week to boost vitamin D levels, you can certainly get too much of a good thing. After 10 or 15 minutes, I suggest you apply a full-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays, and wear hats, long-sleeved shirts, and other protective gear whenever possible–even in the winter.
4. Freshen Your Skin
One way to achieve younger, fresher-looking skin is to increase the turnover of epidermal cells—the most superficial layer of skin-by using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). These are natural substances that stimulate old cells to shed more rapidly, revealing the younger skin beneath the surface. They also increase the number of glycoaminoglycans, complex sugar molecules that help skin retain moisture. By applying an AHA cream or lotion each night, you’ll give your skin a fresher appearance and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Look for a product that contains 8 to 10 percent AHAs—potent enough to make a real difference, but not so strong as to cause irritation for most people.
5. Firm Up Sagging Skin
Collagen is the supporting structure of the skin. Along with water, it makes up the bulk of the dermis. As we age, collagen production plummets, which causes the skin to droop, pucker, and wrinkle. To stimulate collagen formation, apply a topical vitamin C serum or cream every morning. (If you have very sensitive skin, you may prefer to use a lower-potency product.) Topical vitamin C improves the appearance of your skin, restoring skin tone, plumping up wrinkles, and filling in small lines. It also improves the blood supply to your skin, giving it a more youthful glow. Equally important, topical vitamin C fortifies and protects skin from UV damage.
6. Smooth Away Fine Lines
To help your skin retain moisture and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and age-associated skin discoloration, use retinol cream. Retinol is a nonprescription, weaker relative of Retin-A, the vitamin A compound long touted as a wrinkle remover. Like Retin-A, retinol increases cell turnover, helps new cells retain moisture, and improves the appearance of the skin—but without the irritation of Retin-A.
7. Use a Moisturizer
To keep your skin hydrated, use a moisturizer several times a day. In addition to soothing your skin, a moisturizer will produce immediate results in your appearance, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles and plumping up the skin.
Outward appearance is important to many of us, but to truly rejuvenate from the inside out, you may want to consider bioidentical hormone replacement, hyperbaric oxygen, EECP, or any of the other safe, beneficial anti-aging therapies offered at the Whitaker Wellness Institute. To schedule treatment, call 866-944-8253 or fill out this form for a complimentary consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Patient Services Representatives.