The battle against premature aging
Science tells us that there are two types of aging. Intrinsic aging (internal or chronological) which is the natural process of life and is a little different for each of us depending on our genes. The other type, extrinsic aging, is caused by external factors; such as environment and lifestyle.
As we age our cells regenerate slower and our circulation decreases. This is the normal process of life and we can’t really do too much about it. The impacts of extrinsic aging, however, can be controlled and we’ll talk about that here.
Extrinsic aging is responsible for most visible signs of premature aging. Although these signs may seem to have appeared out of nowhere they've actually been building up for a number of years under the skin’s surface.
According to science, the main contributors to premature aging include excess alcohol consumption, excessive stress, cigarette smoking, sunburns or ultraviolet tanning, and nutrient-poor diet.
The skin is needy, requiring lots of love and kindness to stay healthy. The youthfulness of our skin depends on the general health of our lungs, colon, kidneys, and liver. Supporting our overall health will show up on our skin (my personal struggle is keeping my health in balance with multiple autoimmune diagnoses. When things go south for me, it shows up aggravatingly quick on my skin.) Now, in my 30’s I’m already starting to see lines and indications of premature aging. Aargh!
I appreciate you friends who’ve asked me to share some research on how to help slow down premature aging!
Here’s the short and sweet of what happens to our skin as we move up in years…
In your 20’s
The production of collagen and elastin – substances that help your skin bounce back from sunburn, wounds, acne, and such – slows down, although skin still appears firm and virtually wrinkle free. As a child, skin cells shed easily and quickly, but when you hit your 20’s that starts slowing down too. Although the impact of sunburns and other skin damage may not show up at this age, it has made an impact, and the inevitable process of aging has begun.
How you treat your skin at this age can make a significant impact later on in life. This is the age when crow’s feet, lines between the brows and on your forehead begin to appear. The skin may become puffier, especially around the eyes. Collagen and elastin production continues to slow down. This is the age when you really want to start protecting, treating, and nourishing your skin to strengthen it, to make an impact on how old or young you look later on.
In the 40’s
Your skin begins to lose even more elasticity and volume since the skin’s fat and collagen (what makes skin youthful and plump) diminishes. The skin starts to thin and become more transparent, corners of mouth start to turn down, and age spots may appear or darken. The skin also becomes drier due to decreased levels of estrogen.
Gravity really starts to have an impact. It causes the tip of the nose to droop, the ears to elongate, the eyelids to fall and jowls to become more pronounced.
In the 60’s and beyond
The impact of gravity can become even more pronounced. You face can appear to be puffy and tired all day. Inflammation and fluid build-up are more prevalent at this point as are fatty deposits under the eyes and chin.
One of the most important ways to decelerate the aging clock is to make sure you are nourishing your body properly.
While some part of this process is inevitable; there are things we can do to keep the process from progressing faster than we’d like. The biggest thing is to nourish skin properly from the inside out at every age by drinking plenty of water, eating skin-loving nutrition (likes lots of veggies and fruits), getting adequate sleep, and movement. To try to slow the tick-tock of the clock we want to do our best to avoid skin enemies like sunburns, crash dieting, smoking and excessive stress (if possible!). Each of these causes deterioration of the skin in some way or another.
Caring for your face with a daily facial routine that includes cleansing, toning, and hydrating will do wonders! Weekly exfoliation will support in sloughing off old dead skin cells, revealing the glow beneath. Plus...treating yourself to facials by an esthetician a couple times a year can really support in regenerating skin cells.
And...drumroll…here’s a REALLY cool technique to keeping yourself toned and glowing...
Facial exercise and massage! Adding in these simple tools into our beauty toolbox has both immediate and long-term benefits. There’s 50-something muscles in our face and neck. The majority of them don’t get used in the normal course of our days, which causes them to get lax and loose just like any other unused muscle in the body (hint: that means wrinkles on the face). When we exercise those muscles it tightens them helping prevent premature aging.
What to do:
Incorporate massage while applying your cleanser and moisturizer each day. Simply gently massage the product on your face in small circular motions, starting at your neck and working upwards to your hairline.
The exercises are little tougher to explain. Click here to get a short demo.
In sum, the aggravating good habits we’ve all been taught are also supporting our radiance!
Hanna is a mom of busy children, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Hanna's love of natural skincare began with her own journey of struggle and angst with skin issues. Finally, after finding no solutions she rolled up her sleeves and spent half a decade researching ingredients and formulas until....finally...something actually worked. Most of her time is spend trying to keep up with the kids, folding something like 99 loads of laundry a day, and making sure nobody starves (they seem to do that 30 minutes after meal time). But when she's got a spare minute she loves helping other women achieve radiance, naturally!
A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The contents of this email and website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Haas M.D., Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2006. Print.
Goroway, Patricia. Facial Fitness. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2011. Print.