January 25, 2011

Skin Anti Aging Tips

Skin Anti Aging Tips

Maintaining healthy youthful skin is the key to displaying a youthful vibrant appearance.  Keeping skin healthy is more challenging as we age.  Yet, there are plenty simple of actions one can take to maintain a youthful appearance and feel better as well – there are skin anti aging tips.

Skin and SunSkin Anatomy: the Basics

Skin has three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat.  The epidermis is the outermost layer.  The dermis contains blood vessels, nerve fibers, sweat and sebaceous glands, hair follicles, and fat.  Two important proteins make up the dermis, collagen and elastin.  These two proteins give skin its strength and elasticity and when damaged contribute to the aging appearance of skin.

The epidermis is composed of melanocytes which give skin its pigment.  The epidermis is the visible layer of skin, and is continually replaced by cells produced in the dermis.

Subcutaneous fat is the deepest layer of the skin and serves as the skin’s foundation.  This layer tends to atrophy or shrink as we age leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.

Why We Wrinkle

Many factors contribute to premature skin aging.  Free radicals damage the skin, and are produced from excessive sun exposure, smoking, pollution, toxins, and from many normal body processes.

Free radicals damage the collagen and elastin in the dermal layer.  These proteins breakdown, and then are repaired in a haphazard fashion leading to cross-linking or “scarring” leading to wrinkling and skin that is less elastic.

Inflammation also damages the skin and is produced when we become sunburned.  Most Americans consume an inflammatory diet characterized by consumption of processed foods and high sugar content.  This leads to excessive production of insulin, which is very inflammatory.

Harsh soaps, moisturizers, and some cosmetic products can contain chemicals like phthalates, acrylamide, formaldehyde, and ethylene oxide, which are listed by the EPA as carcinogens, and therefore, are damaging to the skin.

Poor sleep can contribute to aging skin.  Growth hormone facilitates tissues healing. Most of our growth hormone is produced at night during deep sleep phases.  Consequently, getting adequate restful sleep is important not only for our skin health, but our general health.

Preventing Premature Skin Aging

1.  Limit exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure) and use sunscreens.Water and Skin

2.  Get your antioxidants through foods and topical skin care products.

3.  Avoid smoking including second hand smoke, and other environmental toxins.

4.  Drink plenty of water and use moisturizers.

5.  Avoid processed foods and high glycemic foods (see www.glycemicindex.com).

6.  Consume fruits and vegetables, and foods that are natural and whole. These foods are high in antioxidants.

7.  Limit foods high in saturated fats.

8.  Take a pharmaceutical grade multivitamin/multimineral high in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, and zinc and selenium.

9.  Have your hormone levels measured if your skin already showing signs of aging.  Consider replacement with bioidentical hormones if levels are low.

Hormones and Skin Anti Aging

Estrogen helps skin to maintain its thickness and elasticity.  Progesterone improves skin circulation and elasticity.  Testosterone (men and women) helps maintain skin hydration.  DHEA helps skin oil production and keeps skin from becoming dry and brittle.  It also stimulates collagen production.  Melatonin functions as an antioxidant and protects against ultraviolet radiation.  Growth hormone is critical for skin and tissue repair.

Have your hormones levels measured if your skin is showing signs of premature aging.  Maintaining optimal hormone levels is good for your skin, but also your general health.  See “Anti Aging Hormones“.

Related articles include “Anti Ageing Creams“, “Skin Aging“, and  “Skin Protection From the Summer Sun”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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