Imagine how life would be if Ponce de Leon really discovered "The Fountain of Youth" or if there were some type of miracle cream that would completely eradicate all signs of aging. Wouldn't life be sweet?
Unfortunately, age sneaks up on us unexpectedly, and there is no escaping the fact that we are all growing one year older every three hundred and sixty-five days. However, if we take preventive measures now, we can reduce the chances of unnecessary damage to our complexions in the future.
Our largest organ, the skin, goes through many different phases as we age. Women tend to age faster then men, due to the various hormonal changes they experience starting with puberty, then through pregnancy, and ending with menopause. Once menopause sets in, many women start to notice numerous changes with their complexions, such as, a decrease in sebum (oil) production, loss of elasticity, and a reduction in the rejuvenation process. How fast and to what extent the skin ages depend on three factors: your age, genetics, and lifestyle.
Forget about aging gracefully, in a sense that is giving in. Fight it all the way. You are never too young or too old to combat the signs of aging.
By living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout your years, you increase your chances of overall balance ---- especially when it comes to your skin. All of us will have aging skin at some point in our lives, but with proper care, anyone can have a vibrant complexion and look beautiful at any age.
What you consume on a daily basis has a major impact on how well your skin regenerates itself. Foods that are low in nutrients, such as, refined carbohydrates are empty calories, they will not provide your body with vitamins and minerals it needs to develop and maintain a healthy glow. Choose foods that are close as possible to their natural state -- fresh and unprocessed.
Vitamins And Minerals To Help An Aging Skin
Beta Carotene - antioxidant, increases cellular regeneration, and prevents pre-mature aging of the skin
food source: carrots, apricots, & squash
Vitamin C - antioxidant, needed for production of elastin and collagen; promotes skin strength and elasticity inblood vessel walls and cell membranes
food source: oranges, kiwi, & peppers
Vitamin E - antioxidant, helps maintain all tissues, believed to slow the aging of cells; may help prevent scar formation
food source: cold-pressed vegetable oils, raw nuts & seeds
Selenium - antioxidant, protects against UV induced cell damage; helps preserve skin elasticity.
Food source: tuna, garlic, onions & broccoli
Zinc - antioxidant, essential for normal cell growth and repair
Food source: whole grains, most seafood, & onions
Essential Fatty Acids - to maintain proper function of all tissues and tissue repair, especially the skin
food source: primrose oil, flaxseed oil, & olive oil
Consume your food choices in moderation, your body can only process so many nutrients at once. When you eat your meals, try to incorporate foods that are going to offer you high nutritional value, and try to cut back on the ones that do not. Eating healthy can be a little time consuming at first, but stick with it, and you will see the positive results. Not only will you look and feel absolutely wonderful, but you will expose a brand new person on the inside out.
The Best Kept Beauty Secret
The human body is made up of 50% to 70% water. Your body loses about three quarts of water each day through perspiration, urine, and respiration. Waiting until your thirsty isn't always the best barometer. Thirst is a response to severe dehydration. It is recommended that the average person should drink at least two to three pints of clean, pure water each day. Water is involved with nearly every bodily process -- especially flushing out waste materials. Water benefits our skin by acting as an internal moisturizer, keeping the skin moist, supple, and clear as well as preventing pre-mature aging.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol weakens the immune system, and creates unnecessary problems within the body, by depleting it of vitamins and minerals it desperately needs to function properly. In the realm of skincare, alcohol causes dehydration, which deprives our complexions of precious moisture that is necessary to keep it soft, smooth and youthful. Alcohol in excess is known to overtax the liver, which is a much-needed organ that helps to diffuse impurities from reaching and harming other organs and systems of the human body. Alcohol consumption can lead to broken or distended capillaries, especially over the nose and cheeks. To maintain a lovely complexion, alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation.
Smoking has been documented in many studies to be quite detrimental to the skin. Smoking is a nasty habit that progressively creates a pre-mature breakdown of your overall state of health, internally and externally. Cigarettes contain ingredients such as, acetone, ammonia, arsenic, formaldehyde, and nicotine, which are chemical compounds that are considered to be quite harmful to the human body --- imagine their impact on the skin. Smokers tend to have a grayish tinge to their complexion, due to a poor oxygen supply. Since there is a lack of oxygen, dehydration occurs, which then increases the risk of pre-mature wrinkles. Smoking can also slow the healing and regeneration process of the body, which could be harmful if you ever needed surgery. Just know that there is nothing positive about smoking, it causes many negative side effects within our bodies, which in the long run we wonder to ourselves," Why did I start in the first place? "
Watch Those Rays
There has been extensive research performed over the past thirty years on the sun, and it's impact on the human body. Through these studies, we have found that a certain amount of sunlight is needed to manufacture Vitamin D within our bodies, which is a definite necessity. However, after a certain allotment of time, those powerful rays can be very harmful to our body's largest organ - the skin. In fact, if it weren't for sun exposure, say the experts, our skin would stay relatively smooth into our eighties. Dehydration, fine lines, wrinkles and even skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to UV rays, which penetrate our atmosphere everyday.
Great Sun Tips:
Avoid the sun between the hours of 10AM and 3PM, even if wearing a sun protector.
Watch the reflected light from sand, water, cement, and snow -- it is still damaging to the skin.
The American Dermatology Association recommends that everyone wear a SPF of 15 or greater year round.
A SPF of 15 is a 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of protection. One application daily is not enough to protect your skin all day. You must remember to reapply your sunscreen throughout the course of the day, to shield your complexion from those harmful rays. Remember to apply your sun protection to the areas that you tend to miss such as, your ears, neck, hands, and feet. Make sure to wear clothing that protects you from the sun. Ex. a large brimmed hat.
Some Other Great Tips To Preserve The Youthfulness Of Your Skin
As you apply your facial moisturizer, take some time to work it gently into your complexion with light massage strokes. This technique performed on a daily basis, is quite beneficial in helping to create or maintain a healthy skin. (Avoid this technique on severe acne or individuals suffering from vascular disorders of the face).
-- To support a maturing skin, you must give it moisture and oxygen. Facial masks maintained in a moist value or applying warm compresses laced with your favorite essential oil are suitable for this purpose.
-- A regular facial will provide an intensive cleansing of your complexion. This treatment will loosen hardened places in the skin by stimulating lymph flow and circulation, so that waste products are removed more quickly, nutrients are transmitted to the cells, and the cells themselves are renewed.
-- Incorporate essential oils, such as, lavender, rose, fennel, jasmine, and many others into your daily skin regimen. These natural essences contain plant hormones, which some contain substances similar to estrogen that affect the skin and influence the hormonal equilibrium of the body.
These plant hormones are absorbed by the skin and influence the hormonal equilibrium of the body. They have a tautening impact, along with assisting with cell regeneration, and regulating the sebaceous (oil) glands. Plant hormones do not have the same side effects of animal hormones, which could make the skin appear spongy and swollen when used over a long period time.
-- Try to avoid using extremely hot water when bathing or showering, which can irritate your skin and rob it of its natural oils.
-- Add moisture to your environment. Humidifiers can help replenish moisture in the air of your home and office, making it a friendlier atmosphere for your skin. If the air around you is dry, it will deplete the moisture from your skin through evaporation.
-- Avoid pulling or tugging your skin when cleansing or moisturizing. Your skin should be handled very gently, to prevent unnecessary irritation or premature lines. The eyes are an extra sensitive area, so be careful when you put in your contacts, and always apply eye cream from the inner eye, to the outer eye ---- in a C- formation.
-- Herbal teas that contain antioxidants are a wonderful way of holding back the aging process. If you are a coffee drinker, you might consider replacing your coffee with an herbal tea. Lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, and decaffeinated green tea are some herbal teas that contain significant levels of antioxidants.
-- Another reason to reduce intake of caffeine rich beverages is that they have a diuretic action and promote an internal dehydration, causing the body to lose water -- leaving your skin flaky and dry on the surface.
-- Get plenty of sleep. Research has shown that the skin regenerates itself between the hours of 1 AM and 3AM, and the lack of sleep during those hours can trigger the kind of stress that causes your skin to look dull, puffy, tired or sallow. So, counting sheep and catching some ZZZZs is definitely one of the best beauty remedies out there.
-- It has been documented in many health publications that high levels of stress can increase free radical production within the human body. These molecules eventually attack the healthy cells of our bodies, and will create extreme damage to our systems, which then increases our risk of pre-mature aging, certain diseases, and possibly cancer. Incorporating activities that help reduce your levels of stress like, meditation, yoga or walking, is your best bet to avoid a wrinkle or two in the long run.
-- Exercise on a regular basis. Aerobic activity, like walking, will keep you in tiptop shape -- mentally and physically. Exercise is great for maintaining the health of the skin by increasing circulation, which delivers the vital nutrients necessary for a healthy, clear and youthful complexion.
Your skin is your largest organ of your body -- which must last a lifetime. We tend to take the health of our complexion for granted, and we assume that it will always bounce back into balance. Prevention is the key. It is never too late to take better care of your skin, so start today, and reap the benefits tomorrow. Try to not go full force initially, take baby steps, and try to achieve success a little bit at a time. By following this approach, you will be much more compliant with any lifestyle change, and you will see it was well worth the time and effort.
Laura M. Cummins, Esthetician, has been actively involved within the beauty industry for the past eighteen years. Truly passionate for this grand industry, her experience includes; Spa Educator for two established International Skin Care companies, plus Spa Director for luxury day spas in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area. Ms. Cummins is a television and radio spokesperson for the beauty industry, and enjoys speaking and writing on various skin care topics to help educate the general public on how to maintain their natural beauty.
Copyright Laura M. Cummins. All Rights Reserved.