Ageing may be a natural process, but it is possible to do so while maintaining lustrous and young-looking skin. It involves countering both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, namely:
- Reduced production of collagen and elastin (naturally occurring chemicals responsible for maintaining the youthful and plump appearance of the skin)
- Repetitive motion of facial muscles (particularly when displaying emotions)
- Environmental factors (including exposure to the sun and pollution)
There are a variety of natural ways that can help keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay. It may require some lifestyle and dietary changes, but the results are well worth the effort:
The adverse effects of smoking are numerous and have a wide range of severity, the gravest being lung cancer and heart disease. On the milder side of the spectrum are stained teeth and skin ageing as a result of repeated facial motion and inadequate blood circulation.
We understand that quitting the habit is not the easiest of undertakings and that doing so can lead to both physical and psychological issues. To ease your way into a smoke-free lifestyle, you can turn to behavioural therapy, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and other treatments.
If you are not a smoker, don’t start.
Don’t use straws when drinking
Drinking through a straw involves puckering your lips in a way that’s similar to smoking. Done often enough, this simple action can lead to the gradual development of vertical lines around the lips known as smoker’s lines. Keep these stubborn lines from forming by no longer using straws (it’s an environmentally friendly solution to boot).
Protect your skin from excess sun exposure
Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin and accelerate the ageing process. It dries the skin, leading to the formation of wrinkles and brown spots. One clear evidence of the effects of photodamage are the deep wrinkles on one side of a 69-year-old truck driver’s face. The photodamage was caused by constant exposure to the sun on that side of his face while driving for over 28 years. In addition to premature ageing, overexposure to UV rays is associated with 90% of skin cancer cases.
Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by:
- Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and a moisturizer daily
- Applying a vitamin C antioxidant serum daily to protect your skin against damaging free radicals such as UVA/UVB, infrared radiation (IRA), and ozone pollution
- Wearing a hat (with adequate coverage), oversized polarized sunglasses (which will prevent crow’s feet formation from squinting), and a long-sleeved shirt if you will be staying in the sun for long periods
- Standing or walking in the shade
Eat healthy food
Skin ageing can be prevented by eating adequate amounts of food filled with:
Free radicals are toxic substances that can cause oxidative stress, damaging healthy cells and tissues. Antioxidants, like vitamins B and E, can help safeguard the skin against free radicals, preventing them from depleting collagen and elastin levels.
Food high in antioxidants include:
- Dark Chocolate
- Leafy greens (e.g. kale and spinach)
- Healthy fats
Healthy fats, i.e. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are vital to overall health. In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, they also contribute to healthy younger-looking skin. It also fights inflammation, which can alleviate skin conditions like acne or psoriasis.
Food high in healthy fats include:
- Fatty fish (e.g. mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna)
- Fish oil
- Soy milk
Though probiotics are more commonly associated with good gut health, recent studies have also revealed they have anti-ageing effects. It has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve oxidative stress, inhibit skin ageing, and enhance skin barrier function.
Food with high probiotic content includes:
- Fermented food (e.g. kimchi and natto)
- Yogurt (non-dairy)
Though drinking adequate (or large) amounts of water won’t necessarily get rid of wrinkles, it can prevent the loss of elastin and keep your skin from drying and producing more lines — but exactly how much do you need to drink?
Drinking two litres of water a day is a widely propagated advice for water intake. However, this is not based on any scientific evidence. People can still get water from food and other beverages. The body has a natural indicator of how much water you need — thirst. A good rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty. Another indicator is urine. If your urine is dark yellow, you need to drink more water. The urine of a well-hydrated individual is pale yellow or colourless.
Cut back on sugar and salt
While you do not need to eliminate sugar from your diet, it’s best to minimize intake (a maximum of 6 tsps for women and 9 tsps for men). Excess amounts of sugar in your body can speed up the process of ageing by:
- Dehydrating skin
- Causing inflammation
- Increasing the risk of osteoporosis
- Leading to glycation, which produces Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) that result in wrinkles, sagging, and dark circles under the eyes
Likewise, excess intake of foods high in sodium can contribute to ageing by retaining unnecessary fluids. Water retention causes bloating and puffiness, especially under the eyes. Eat food with low-sodium content or, when cooking, be substitute salt with other flavour enhancers like herbs and lemon juice.
Stress and stress hormones can accelerate ageing. It affects the body at a cellular level, impeding the body’s ability to heal itself and shortening the life span of healthy cells.
- Get adequate amounts of restful sleep – Skin repairs itself overnight. Getting a good night’s rest can promote skin regeneration. It also inhibits the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. The amount of sleep necessary for the body varies from person to person. Some may need more than eight hours while others as few as five hours. The important thing is to get restful sleep.
- Exercise – Exercise can benefit one’s overall health and is a proven method of relieving stress. The activity does not need to be strenuous or intense for you to benefit. Walking regularly, biking, swimming, aerobics, and yoga can bring cortisol levels down and reduce stress.
- Stay positive – People with an optimistic outlook on life are known to be happier, able to manage stress better, and live longer.
Healthy and glowing skin is a byproduct of healthy living. Make it a habit to eat and live well so you can keep looking (and feeling) young and radiant.
To enhance the results of a healthy lifestyle, you can also turn to the advanced formulations of Skinceuticals skincare products and anti-ageing treatments available at em clinic & spa. Consult with one of our skincare experts to ascertain which product or treatment is best for your skin. Consultations are free; call us at (519) 668-7449.