By now you must be aware that sun exposure ages you, but are their other things to think about that contribute to the downfall of your skin?
It’s not just genes (which is responsible for about 20% of how you age). How you live your life is the real blueprint as to how we age. Whether it’s your skin we are talking about or aging in general, limiting these activities will make a big difference for your longevity. Here are 10 key agers you may not have thought of about.
Drinking through a straw. Simple fact. Many wrinkles are simply lines of expression that form from repetitive contractions of the muscles of your face. Because cutaneous muscles are attached to bone on one end and skin on the other, every time you contract that muscle you pull on the skin. Eventually you create a mechanical dent otherwise known as a wrinkle. This is also true for squinting or furrowing your your brows when you scowl. Tip: You still need to quit drinking through a straw, but lines around your mouth can be softened when you regularly swipe your excess eye cream around your mouth. Eye creams that contain architectural peptides will help resist the dent. And, don’t forget to wear sun glasses to slow those crows feet from forming.
Eating too much sugar. If you have a sweet tooth beware of how it ages your skin on several levels. First, sugar increases inflammation. Inflammation causes a breakdown of all the components of your skin which lead to age spots, loss of tone and wrinkles. Too much sugar also leads to glycation. This is when sugar molecules cross link between collagen fibers (like rungs on a ladder) which then makes collagen fibers rigid, inflexible and more likely to wrinkle. Glycated fibers will not snap back after repetitive facial movement, which accelerates the loss of elasticity and deepens the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Tip: Red algae in your serum or night cream provides a matrix protecting action against glycation. It limits cellular as well as tissue damages caused by AGEs (advanced glycation end products) from sugar that weaken and destroy the skin’s firming proteins.
Sitting at your computer. ...or sitting in front of the TV, or sitting reading, or just sitting. You may have heard, ”Sitting is the new smoking”. While this is a bit of an over statement (smoking is so much more dangerous, and will age your skin faster than anything). Sitting interferes with circulation. When your skin can't get enough of the oxygen and the nutrients needed to stay healthy and young looking it becomes dull and tired, and ages more quickly. Tip: Every half hour, when sitting at your desk, get up and walk around your house for five minutes. Serums with ergothionine (from mushrooms) can help. It is the cell’s principle energizing antioxidant. It will help re-energize tired skin. Eating mushrooms also helps. Portobellos and Cremini contain the highest amounts of ergothionine.
Lack of sleep. Sleep is vitally important to maintain a heathy, young looking skin with a smooth texture, firm tone and youthful vibrancy. All the metabolic activity to repair your skin occurs at night, while you sleep. Those who don't get enough sleep look dull and tired and certainly age faster. Tip: Adopt a regular bed time. Avoid being on your cell phone and TV two hours before bed. Avoid extra lights, especially blue light from your devices. These lights tell your body its daytime - not sleep time. They also lower melatonin production, the sleep hormone. Keep up with your nighttime skin routine. Focus on repair serums. They work best at night.
Elevated stress levels. Stress has been proven to shorten telomeres. These are the tiny caps at the end of chromosomes that ensure they won't fall apart and cease to function (think of them like the end caps that protect your shoe laces). Telomeres are indicators of longevity. Stress elevates cortisol, a hormone which breaks down collagen. Those under constant stress tend to loose tone and have a pale, flaccid look to their skin. Those under stress also tend to have stressed or reactive skin to irritants or harsh ingredients. Tip: Stress is hard to deal with. Yoga, meditation and casual walks can be helpful. Try Relaxation Response Techniques. If you can't lay down, sit in a chair. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly through your nose. Tighten all the muscles in your body. Starting from your toes, gradually releasing each muscle slowly working your way up your body. Studies show that this method works to lower your stress hormones. You can do this several times a day. Stressed skin does well with seawhip extracts. Seawhip is one of the best ant-inflammatory ingredients we know of.
Over exfoliating. Exfoliation is great for your skin. It lifts off those dead dull cells and reveals fresher younger looking skin But, there can be too much of a good thing. Over exfoliating thins out your skin to a point that it is more vulnerable to environmental agers. Over exfoliation leaves skin more prone to inflammation. Its weakened state increases dehydration and the breakdown of collagen. Tip: Get to understand the ideal amount of exfoliation for your unique skin type. Don’t exfoliate every day. Just like working out, it’s best to leave a day in between for your skin to heal and become stronger. If your confused about how much exfoliation is right for you, consider booking a Virtual Skin Consultation with Elizabeth.
Skipping sunscreen on rainy days. You know you need to wear sunscreen to protect yourself from damage when you’re out on sunny days but sunscreen should be worn every day... rain or shine, summer and winter. If you think you’re only exposed to the dangerous UV rays when it’s hot and sunny, think again. The rays that cause premature skin aging are approximately the same strength year round and can penetrate through clouds, even on a snowy or rainy day. It’s so important to use sunscreen every day. Sunscreen is your number one anti-aging product. Tip: To protect your face with sunscreen apply a peanut size amount as part of your morning ritual. Go get dressed and reapply a second peanut sized amount. This will get you your half teaspoon required to achieve that SPF #30 marked on the bottle. I am only talking about your face. Add extra sunscreen to cover your neck and décolletage.
Eating seed oils. Not all fats are created equal. There are many different types of fats, some fats are incredibly nourishing and necessary for hormone production and thyroid function. Think olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil, even butter. The problem oils are polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA. These are vegetable oils, obtained from the seed rather than from the fruit. Common vegetable seed oils to avoid are sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, and sesame seed oil. These oils set off a chain reaction in your body of free radical damage - creating more free radicals that spread damage to other cells, aging your skin. Tip: Olive oil is a great addition to your diet. Don’t use it for cooking though. High heat changes this mono unsaturated oil that will increase free radicals. Cook with butter or coconut oil which can withstand higher temperatures better.
Exposure to pollution. According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, exposure to air pollution significantly correlates to an increase in signs of skin aging. Air pollution contains microscopic contaminants which produce more free radicals. These strip the skin of barrier lipids, which help retain moisture and keep out dirt and other impurities. A compromised skin barrier can lead to increased skin sensitivity, discomfort and premature signs of skin aging, especially pigmentation issues. Tip: Masking regularly can help detoxify your skin. This is when a charcoal mask can help by drawing out impurities.
Not eating enough fruits and veggies. Antioxidants that are essential in fighting off free radical damage to your skin primarily come from the pigments found in fruits and vegetables. It is essential to get these in your diet. To avoid the extra sugar in fruits, stick to low glycemic fruits like berries. The more dark or bright colored pigmented in fruits and vegetables usually means higher amounts of antioxidants. Tip: To increase the antioxidant protection that come from superfruits try supplementing your skincare routine with a serum with concentrated amounts of these superfruits. The antioxidants in superfruits are among the highest potency available today, calming inflammation and fending off free radicals damage.
Time to stay healthy and more youthful with these longevity based strategies.
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