Okay, so you can’t actually stop time, but there are a number of ways to reduce the deteriorative impact that aging has on your face – as well as your body and mind overall. The absolute key to staying as youthful and vibrant as possible, at any age, is to take care of your overall health, from the inside out.
As we age, our immune systems naturally become less able to defend against the effects of oxidative stress and free radical damage. For this reason, it becomes paramount to take proper care of ourselves, especially as we get older. Instead of relying on dangerous medical procedures, look no further than the bounty that nature readily supplies.
While aging is inevitable, we can make choices to help improve our chances significantly that we can undergo it gracefully. The following are several key ways to minimize the signs of age on your face, and to keep you healthy throughout the years.
Reduce your toxic exposure
Environmental stressors, both from the pollutants in the air and from the chemicals that we ingest and slather onto our bodies, can be huge contributors to rapid aging. When free radicals outnumber the antioxidants in your body, oxidative damage takes its toll on all of the body’s tissues. For this reason, it is important to steer clear of the toxins which we can avoid.
Processed foods contain a great deal of chemical additives and preservatives, and the manufacturing methods by which they are produced leave them almost entirely void of nutrition. Dining on these foods is a great recipe for looking old before your time, as your system has to work overtime to flush the chemicals from your body. They may also significantly increase your risk of chronic illnesses.
Sugar, found in many processed foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is inherently inflammatory, and can speed up the aging process. It can also trigger or exacerbate skin conditions such as acne, and is strongly linked to increasing the risk of many chronic conditions, including heart disease and cancers. Sugar may even contribute to degenerative cognitive function. For these reasons, cutting out added sugars is imperative to good health, and a youthful appearance.
Many commercial products, including personal care products as well as household cleaners, laundry detergents and the like, contain hundreds of chemicals, some of which are known or probable carcinogens.
Many of the chemicals used in these products are untested. Using chemically-laden lotions, anti-wrinkle creams and other such products can introduce harmful chemicals into your system, potentially accelerating the aging process.
This goes for makeup, as well. Cosmetic products are made with a wide array of potentially harmful chemicals. Also, if you leave your makeup on overnight, you are opening the door for environmental toxins to latch onto it, which can lead to oxidative stress. Many types of makeup also prevent your skin from breathing, and can actually worsen wrinkles.
Luckily, all of these things have simple solutions. To improve overall health and the health of your skin, keep junk and processed foods out of your diet, switch to natural cleaners, personal care products and cosmetics. Even in the case of natural makeup, however, make sure you wash it off before you go to bed.
What you eat (and drink) matters
Since your body becomes more susceptible to free radical damage as you get older, making sure you get enough nutrients and antioxidants to fight it is crucial. This starts with a healthy diet of whole, nutritious (preferably organic) foods.
Eating a variety of fruits and veggies, of all colors of the rainbow, ensures that your body is taking in a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you as youthful as can be. One very important vitamin when it comes to anti-aging is vitamin C.
This vitamin is necessary for the body’s production of collagen. Incorporating oranges, kiwis and cherries (to name just a few vitamin C-rich foods) into your diet is great for your skin, not to mention your immune system.
Berries are a powerful anti-aging food, as they contain flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have been linked to longevity, and also to aiding in preventing the damage caused by oxidative stress. These antioxidants have also been linked to anticarcinogenic properties. Some berries, such as blueberries and mulberries, contain resveratrol, an antioxidant which has been linked to anti-aging properties.
Resveratrol is also found in red wine. While it is important not to go overboard, a glass a day, especially of a quality, organic red wine, may actually promote longevity.
Other foods rich in a variety of oxidative stress-busting flavonoid antioxidant groups are organic, raw dark chocolate, onions, lima beans, spinach and asparagus.
Foods high in zinc are another great choice, as zinc is a mineral important for various skin-rejuvenating bodily processes. Certain skin blemishes have even been traced back to a zinc deficiency. Foods high in zinc include kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, ginger and Brazil nuts.
Vitamin A is another important vitamin for the skin, as it can help stop premature wrinkles, as well as balance out skin tone. Eating carrots, as well as other orange-colored fruits and veggies, can give you an ample amount of vitamin A. Vitamin E is key for fighting free radical damage, and foods such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and a variety of nuts are high in this skin-nourishing nutrient.
Ginger is an important superfood to add to your diet for a variety of reasons, including skin health. Besides having potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it aids the body in absorbing nutrients from food, helps heal damaged cells, and can help to prevent fine lines, wrinkles and skin sagging. It has also been found to improve the elasticity of the skin.
One more thing on diet: be sure to stay hydrated, and drink at least eight glasses of distilled water each day. If you are dehydrated, your skin will be dehydrated, and skin needs moisture to look young and supple. Staying hydrated also flushes toxins from the body, and helps keep every system in your body running as it should.
Natural skin nourishers
Instead of chemical-filled, heavily processed creams and lotions, try these natural anti-aging items to keep your face moisturized and healthy.
Organic, extra-virgin coconut oil is the perfect everyday moisturizer for any type of skin. It allows the skin to breathe, and also adds vital nutrients to it, as opposed to depleting them as many chemical products do. It has antibacterial properties, and has been found to help with the healing of acne, dermatitis and minor wounds. On top of that, coconut oil functions as a mild sunscreen, as it blocks out about 20 percent of the sun’s harmful rays.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil has refreshing, rejuvenating and calming properties. Even the scent of the oil can help you feel more relaxed. When mixed with a bit of coconut oil and used as a moisturizer, it can help rehydrate your skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and soothe a nasty sunburn. It has also been found to aid in clearing acne and reducing the symptoms of psoriasis.
The neem tree is an evergreen that grows in Southeast Asia, India and parts of Africa. The leaves and oil of this tree have been used to treat skin conditions for thousands of years. Neem oil is rich in antioxidants including vitamin E, protects the skin from environmental toxins, helps rejuvenate the skin and can aid in restoring youthful elasticity. It is also great for acne and other types of skin blemishes.
Manage your stress
Chronic stress can wreak great havoc on all of the body’s systems, and can also take a significant toll on your face. Living in a perpetual state of stress can lead to frown lines, worry lines and dull, lifeless skin. Nothing can age you quickly quite like stress, so it is important to keep yours in check.
Regular cardiovascular exercise is a great stress-buster, and meditation is a time-tested method to melt away anxiety and get your mind back to the present. Yoga, pilates and martial arts can also do wonders for your stress. No matter how hectic your schedule, take some time to unwind – do a fun activity with a friend, or just take a reflective walk by yourself – whatever helps you to relax.
One more thing that may help to improve the appearance of your skin is acupressure. Check out our recent article on how to make certain acupressure points work for your skin.
Although it is impossible to physically stop time, following the above-listed suggestions can allow you to live the healthiest life possible – and look your best – no matter what your age.
-The Alternative Daily