As we age, our skin begins to exhibit many changes. However, it’s not just chronological aging that accounts for the signs of skin damage. Pollution, extreme temperatures, UV radiation and other internal and external stressors can significantly impact the way our skin ages.
Pollution Proof Your Skin
Your skin is constantly exposed to dirt and grime that linger in the air. The dust, dirt, car exhaust and even pesticides that often permeate our air supply penetrate deep into your pores, killing cells causing fine lines and wrinkles and giving skin a dull, grey appearance.
Solution: To help protect skin from environmental pollution, it is critical to remove impurities with an antioxidant-rich cleanser. Antioxidants, known as “free radical scavengers”, can seek out unstable free radicals and help neutralize their effects, thereby helping to protect skin from their damaging effects. To remove deeper impurities and dead skin, incorporate a non-abrasive, enzyme based exfoliator at least twice weekly.
Protect Your Skin Against Extreme Temperatures
Winter’s falling temperatures and biting winds can bring a myriad of problems to our skin. Bright sun, strong winds and cold temperatures can accelerate the aging process as much as a mid-summer’s day at the beach.
Solution: You can help counteract the causes of dry, flakey skin internally by following the anti-inflammatory diet, taking nourishing, antioxidant-rich supplements and applying topicals that contain alpha lipoic acid. ALA works synergistically with other antioxidants in the skin to reduce the damaging inflammatory effects to counter the dry flaky skin.
Make Your Sunscreen Work Harder
You have heard endlessly that excess exposure to UV radiation is damaging to the skin. UV radiation increases free-radical activity in the cell plasma membrane, releasing pro-inflammatory chemicals and harming skin cells. This process results in microscarring, which is how the wrinkle is born.
UV radiation that affects the skin is composed of two types of waves UVA and UVB. UVB rays are the main cause of melanin production and UVB rays are responsible for much of the damage associated with photoaging.
Solution: To protect the cells against free-radicals generated by UVA and UVB radiation, repair skin cell damage and ensure your skin is protected, look for products rich in antioxidants and reflective filters. Antioxidants, such as Astaxanthin counteract the free radicals from UV light and help protect your skin from damage. Astaxanthin is an exceptional anti-inflammatory power with nutritional and anti-aging benefits that delivers significant improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and the elasticity and moisture content of the skin.
Everyday life, staying connected, work, family and the holidays can all be causes of daily stress. When we’re under stress, our adrenal glands produce fight-or-flight hormones, as well as cortisol. Cortisol levels increase with age and produce a host of negative effects including increased inflammation, acne flare-ups and accelerated aging. In fact, cortisol can lead to a progressive loss of protein, which profoundly affects collagen, the most abundant protein in our body. The result? Thinning, papery looking skin.
Solution: To combat the appearance of thinning skin due to stress, look for treatments formulated with Vitamin C Ester to help encourage optimal production of collagen and elastin, creating firmer looking skin.
Manage stress levels by exercising regularly and taking time for quiet contemplation such as meditation, yoga, a warm bath, reading or spending time with friends and pets. Taking mindful actions toward reducing stress can have great health benefits for your mind, body…and skin.
Understand Free Radical Damage and Inflammation
The underlying thread connecting the age-accelerating factors (pollution, extreme temperatures, UV radiation and stress) is inflammation. When free radicals damage a cell, they cause inflammation. They provoke an inflammatory cascade, which can continue for hours or even days. The long life of the inflammatory cascade results in most of the cellular damage that leads to aging and age-related diseases.
Solution: The best bet in the fight against inflammation are antioxidants, which scoop up free radicals, prevent the breakdown of fats in the cell plasma membrane and inhibit the production of arachadonic acid and pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Above all, follow the anti-inflammatory diet as faithfully as possible. Healthy fats such as those found in cold water fish, chia and other seeds and nuts, olive oil, avocado’s etc. are important. Fight free radical-induced inflammation with fresh fruits and vegetables and keep your immune system functioning at optimum levels by avoiding sugars and processed foods. As always, stay well-hydrated with pure spring water.