Think about your skin in your 20's. For most people, it's firm, supple, has a brightness and clarity to it, and no wrinkles. Then in your 30's & 40's, life gets REAL busy. Job, kids, stress. Suddenly you look in the mirror and wonder who stole your face! Is that a sun spot on my cheek? Why isn't my jawline tight anymore? Where did those neck lines come from?
How our skin ages depends on both Intrinsic and Extrinsic factors:
Intrinsic Factors: Genetic or Chronological Aging
Extrinsic Factors: Environmental or Lifestyle Aging
*Diet / Nutrition / Amount of Exercise
Researchers have found that that only about 10% of aging is due to Intrinsic factors (the way we are genetically programmed to age), which are unchangeable. Intrinsic aging is a continuous process that begins in the mid 20's, but may not become visible for decades.
The good news is that extrinsic aging factors are changeable, and contribute to about 90% of our aging process. Extrinsic factors can be reversed with lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, quitting smoking, wearing sunscreen, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, and nurturing the skin with a good home care regimen.
4 Ways to Fight Extrinsic Aging:
#1: Limit UV Exposure: 90% of all skin cancers are directly related to sun exposure. If that's not enough to make you slather on an extra layer of SPF, you should know that it is the #1 factor in
premature aging, especially risk of sun spots (aka hyperpigmentation). UV radiation accelerates the degeneration of skin cells, leading to sagging, wrinkles, enlargement of pores, and weakening of the epidermis.
#2: Quitting Smoking:
Our lungs aren't the only organs suffering from smoking. Smoking restricts circulation, blood flow, and oxygen levels from reaching our skin, causing a sallow complexion, skin discoloration, the formation of deep wrinkles (especially around the mouth), and poor wound healing. Not to mention all of the toxins in cigarettes that contribute to the deterioration of collagen and elastin, causing skin sagging.
Getting adequate sleep is the cornerstone of glowing skin (and feeling good in general). Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep whenever possible. Lack of sleep causes increases in the stress hormone, cortizol, which in turn leads to a breakdown in collagen resulting in wrinkles. Getting enough sleep also allows our bodies to heal properly, and allows our immune systems to fight off viruses and disease.
#4: Nurture Skin with a Daily Skincare Routine
Just like what you feed your body is reflected in your overall health, what you feed your skin topically on a daily basis will influence how your skin looks and feels at any age. Your daily skincare routine doesn't have to be complicated - be sure you're not buying products you know you won't have time to apply and use.
I recommend starting with a few basic items:
*Cleanser - cleansers these days do so much more than just clean your face. They can help balance oil production, work on brightening sun spots, hydrate, and impart powerful anti-aging compounds, all while removing the day's makeup and pollution!
*Antioxidant Serum - applying antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E, green tea extracts, resveratrol, and glucosamine, will help your skin recover from free radical damage, and reduce the signs of aging.
*Targeted Moisturizer - This one is sooo important for our Colorado climate! We lose so much water through our skin in the mountains, and moisturizer is a MUST for all of us mountain-folk! A good moisturizer helps our skin hold on to its natural moisture content, and many have beneficial anti-aging ingredients in them such as peptides, hyaluronic acid, and Omega fatty acids.
*SPF - If you do nothing else for your skin, PLEASE be using an SPF daily. Having sunscreen in your makeup is great, but remember that all sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout the day, and a dab of foundation is not even close to the amount of sunscreen needed to effectively block UV rays. You still need to apply the real deal either under or over your makeup every day. If you're in the sun, your sunscreen will use up its effectiveness after about 2 hours - the sun will break down the active ingredients that block UV radiation, just like the sun breaks down just about everything in its path over time! Wear an SPF of at least 30.
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