Dr. Perricone Discusses

5 Ways to Avoid Aging Like Your Parents

If you are young and want to keep that beautifully radiant youthful skin, and not age like your parents, follow these six rules and you will look at least ten years younger than your chronological age.

1. Skip Pro-Inflammatory foods (sugar and starches)
Foods can be pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. Pro-inflammatory foods promote wrinkles, disease, accelerate aging and cause the storage of body fat. Pro-inflammatory, sugary, starchy foods causes a loss of radiance, dark circles under the eyes, loss of tone, increased lines and wrinkles, loss of facial contours, increased puffiness and pore size. These foods also exacerbate acne, which is a systemic, inflammatory disease. Sugars and starches rob your youth, health, and beauty.

2. Add Anti-Inflammatory Topicals to your Skincare Routine
As a dermatologist that focuses on anti-aging, my focus is on treating the underlying inflammation that causes damage to the skin. Topical antioxidants can act as natural anti-inflammatories and help undo many of the unwanted signs of aging. The goal of topical antioxidants is to encourage a natural tightening, lifting and toning, while increasing radiance, decreasing puffiness, enlarged pores, discolorations, and fine lines and wrinkles. A few ingredients I recommend for youthful, radiant and healthy skin include DMAE to lift and tone skin's appearance, Vitamin C Ester to brighten the complexion and stimulate collagen production, and Alpha Lipoic Acid to minimize the appearance of large pores and resurface skin's texture.

3. Minimize Excessive Exposure To The Sun
We need to get some sun to absorb Vitamin D and keep our bones strong and healthy. But baking in the sun can cause wrinkles, freckles, liver spots, skin cancer, and a host of other aging skin conditions.

To avoid aging sun damage, it's best to minimize exposure to the sun during peak hours. When you are exposed to UVA/UVB rays, protect skin from breakouts or irritations by using non-chemical sun protection. In general, non-chemical sunscreens (physical sunscreens) are less likely to cause skin reactions. Non-chemical sunscreens such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are better choices because they are not able to penetrate the skin but rather stay on the surface of the skin and physically block the sun's rays from entering the skin. Micronized (micron-sized) titanium and zinc oxides provide adequate sun protection and blend beautifully without leaving a pale, ashy appearance on the skin.

4. Reduce Stress
Stress is a highly destructive, pro-inflammatory and pro-aging force. Stress causes hormonal changes, altering cellular function in vital organs, including skin.

Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol. Large amounts of cortisol circulating in our blood streams for extended periods, is toxic. Brain cells are extremely sensitive to the effects of cortisol. High levels of cortisol cause brain cells to die, can destroy your immune system, shrink vital organs, decrease muscle mass, and cause thinning of the skin. Thin skin accelerates skin wrinkling, and causes blood vessels under skin to be more prominent.

5. Limit Alcohol Intake
People think that alcohol is bad because it dehydrates the body. They assume that increasing water intake will counteract this. Unfortunately, alcohol creates inflammation throughout the body including the skin, resulting in effects that far outlast dehydration. The metabolites of alcohol are molecules known as aldehydes. Aldehydes cause cellular damage.

Alcohol causes small blood vessels in the skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the skin's surface. This produces a flushed skin color and a feeling of warmth which can lead to broken capillaries on the face. The alcohol-induced dehydration also makes the skin more prone to fine lines and wrinkles.

Dullness, enlarged pores, discoloration, sagging and lack of resilience are some of the short and longer term effects. Because alcohol alters blood flow to the skin, it will create an unhealthy appearance that lasts for days. An occasional glass of red wine can confer some health benefits. But moderation is key. Too much alcohol is highly destructive.

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