Skin

Youthfulness – Skin and ageing

The condition of our skin is one of the main visible indicators of the aging process. As we age the collagen in our skin loses its elasticity and its former plumpness, becoming thinner and more wrinkled. We cannot stop this process, but there are things that we can do to slow it down (if we feel that way inclined).

As this is a huge topic, I’ll not be able to cover everything skin related in just one article!

In this article, I’ll firstly look at what we put into our bodies, as this can have a significant impact on our skin. Secondly, I’ll look at what we can do from the outside, in terms of what we put onto our skin.

In a future skin article, I’ll consider other factors that can impact the rate at which our skin ages, as well as looking at interventions and alternative treatments.

Inside out

One of the biggest influences on our skin is what we put into our bodies. I’ve heard sayings such as “Eat today what you want to wear tomorrow”.

Hydration

One important factor is hydration. We must ensure we take on enough water (and hydrating foods) to support the proper functioning of our bodies, including maintaining the condition of our skin. There are guidelines on recommended amounts but these can differ by person, depending on environment, activity and physiology. Drinking little and often is the best way to ensure proper hydration – drink enough to ensure your urine is pale yellow.

Vitamins

Our skin is also highly affected by the vitamins it gets. A, E & C are the key ones for ‘anti-ageing’, so if you can find ways to get these into your diet, all the better. There seems to be some diverse opinion around which foods to eat for the most positive impact on your skin, but common themes include the following:

–        Blueberries, strawberries, oranges, pomegranate

–        Oily fish e.g. salmon and tuna

–        Nuts

–        Oats

–        Avocado

–        Kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts

–        Olive oil

–        Coffee, green tea

Sources: Huffington Post    Eatingwell.com   Fitness magazine   WebMD

If you are unable to eat a balanced diet, can’t easily access these foods or just need some extra support, you could always take some additional vitamins or skin supplements to assist. I enjoyed reading this article on anti-ageing pills and whether they actually work.

I’ve been taking Harvey and Coco’s Complexion Rehab  (a mix of marine collagen, along with hyaluronic acid and vitamins E & C which contribute to the natural formation of collagen) for the last month and can already see some improvements to my skin, so much so that I’ve ordered another month’s supply. I’ll keep you posted on this.

Sugar

Sugar can have a huge impact on various bodily functions and ultimately our skin. Wrinkles, deep lines and sagging skin are a partial bi-product of the process known as glycation, in which excess sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen fibers and ultimately cause them to lose their strength and flexibility.  Skin becomes less elastic and more vulnerable to sun damage, fine lines and sagging as a result.

Caffeine

Too much coffee can have an adverse effect on your skin from an ageing perspective. Caffeine can cause your blood vessels to constrict, and as a result, the vessels at the surface of your skin won’t deliver as many antioxidants and nutrients to promote collagen production. This can cause skin to wrinkle prematurely and more so over time. These changes can give skin a more aged appearance than in people who don’t consume caffeine.

Many teas and herbal infusions provide benefits for our complexions, thanks to their high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants slow the aging process, provide protection against disease, and boost the immune system by neutralizing harmful free radicals in our bodies.

To boost your antioxidant intake and encourage healthier, more vibrant skin, try green or white tea. Caffeine-free Rooibos, hibiscus, and chamomile herbal teas are also excellent sources of antioxidants.

Alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates the skin and takes away nutrients, making it dull and tired. It also dilates the facial blood vessels, making it more likely you’ll end up with spidery red thread veins. If you drink alcohol, also accompany it with extra water to minimise the effects.

Smoking

Tobacco also affects the condition of skin, but I’ll cover this within the next article, rather than something we put into our bodies.

 

Outside in

As well as what we put into our bodies, what we put onto our skin is also important.  Opinion seems to be divided on specific components or products, but the general consensus seems to be that using moisturisers is beneficial, especially with sunscreen.

Personally, I’m a bit of a moisturising fanatic. I use serum, day and night moisturiser, eye cream, neck cream, hand cream, foot cream and cocoa butter for general body. I love the feeling of freshly moisturised skin and I do believe it helps to hydrate it and keep it younger looking too.

There are so many creams, lotions, serums and gels that proclaim their anti-aging, wrinkle reducing, skin plumping benefits on the market. The key thing is to find products that work for you and to establish a regular skincare routine. This could be based on a mixture of skin type, ethical beliefs, allergies etc. and of course price.

I may test and review some products in a future article, but in the meantime, check out some of the best cheap face creams around.

Lastly, and by no means least, talking recently to a skincare expert from La Powder Box, I was astounded to learn that there can be huge differences between some of the mass-produced skin products, often containing high quantities synthetic chemicals versus those containing more natural ingredients – see Breast Cancer UK’s #DitchTheJunk campaign. Maybe a topic warranting a closer look another time.

 

Wrap-up

In this article, we’ve covered two of the major influences on the rate at which our skin ages. The first being what we put into our bodies and the second what we put directly onto our skin. Hopefully you’ve picked up some useful tips or reminders of things that can help or hinder.

In the next skin article, I’ll consider some other factors that can impact the ageing of our skin, as well as looking at interventions and alternative treatments that may be of interest.

 

Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.