Help! I am starting to “look my age” and have absolutely no idea what to do about it! Can you give me a quick anti-aging 101?
Dr. Linda Miles L. Ac., D.O.M. responds:
Once you realize what causes fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and other skin irregularities, it’s easier to understand what needs to be done so you don’t “look your age.” For a quick primer in anti-aging, here is what you need to know, and a few things you can do in order to achieve a healthier, more youthful complexion:
1. Understand Free Radicals
Free radicals are highly reactive atoms that damage cells in the body. You encounter free radicals every day. For example: over-exposure to sun, toxins in food, water and air, through second hand smoke, car fumes, microwaving and even stress can create free radicals. As you age, cumulative exposure to free radicals promotes the visible signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, loss of tone, hyperpigmentation as well as the decline in your skin’s overall health.
2. Learn How Antioxidants Can Help
Antioxidants help the body defend itself from the danger of free radical attack. Antioxidants are specific vitamins, minerals, or nutrients that neutralize free radicals before they can damage cells. Hundreds of antioxidants exist; some, such as alpha lipoic acid, the body produces, whereas others, such as vitamins C and E, must be consumed through diet. Each antioxidant functions differently, but they work together synergistically to keep the body and skin healthy.
3. Discover How Antioxidants Benefit Skin
To maintain a healthy and youthful complexion, we must ensure that our skin has enough antioxidants to adequately protect itself. Because skin is fed by the blood stream, we can deliver these antioxidants through a healthy, balanced diet that includes antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as berries, broccoli, red grapes, spinach and green tea. Antioxidants can also be consumed in supplement form. However, according to Dr. Lester Packer, Founder of Packer Lab at UC Berkley (specializing in antioxidant research) and author of The Antioxidant Miracle, “Although taking oral supplements will help to boost the amount of antioxidants in your skin, the direct application of antioxidants to the skin is a much faster way to increase the level of antioxidants.”
4. Use Topical Antioxidants
Applying crèmes and serums rich in antioxidants will optimize the health of the skin and help guard against environmental stress, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, soothe inflammation, even skin tone and improve texture and elasticity. Look for anti-aging skin care products that include powerful antioxidants such as Pycnogenol®, Astaxanthin, Green Tea, Pomegranate and Alpha Lipoic Acid. derma e® incorporates some of these ingredients in various products such as the Age-Defying Day and Night Crèmes, Pycnogenol® Moisturizing Crème and DMAE – Alpha Lipoic – C-Ester Crème.
5. Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
As mentioned, a healthy, balanced diet full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables will go a long way. Also, make sure you are consuming omega fatty acids (known to help promote smooth, supple skin) that can be found in foods such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. In addition, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, exercise regularly and participate in activities to help relieve stress — such as yoga or meditation.
Understanding free radical damage and the power of antioxidants will keep you from “looking your age.” For the fastest and most effective way to counteract skin’s age damage caused by free radicals, choose skin care products rich in anti-aging antioxidants. Additionally, nourish the body from the inside, and strive to make healthy lifestyle choices that promote balance. These simple steps will help you achieve healthy, beautiful and younger-looking skin.