Do you like what you see in the mirror? Or are you, like so many of my patients, looking for ways to turn back the clock and get your youthful glow on again?
If that???s the case, here???s something you should know:
Wrinkles are an inside job!
Yes, you read that correctly. Americans spend an astronomical amount of money???literally billions of dollars???on anti-aging cosmetics applied to the surface of the skin.
Good luck with that! You can slather all kinds of expensive creams and lotions on your face and never see a bit of difference. That???s because your skin grows from the inside out.
Skin consists of two layers???the epidermis, or outer layer, and the dermis beneath it. Wrinkles can begin in either layer. Fine lines typically appear on the outer epidermis, while deeper frown and smile lines originate in the dermis.
The best way to prevent wrinkles from forming in either layer is to provide plenty of collagen, the skin???s main protein. Wrinkles start when collagen starts to break down, a process caused by aging or too much sun exposure.
When collagen weakens, the cells that produce it take this to mean they can quit churning it out. Wrinkles then deepen and the top layer of skin becomes papery thin. In addition, there may be changes in bone, cartilage, connective tissue, and tendons, because they all rely on collagen to keep them looking young, too.
Skin cream manufacturers offer plenty of ???collagen enhancing??? skin products. But there???s a problem with applying topical solutions to damaged skin???these products aren???t able to penetrate the layers of skin deeply enough to make a difference.
Of course, the cosmetic industry offers plenty of ways to work around these problems. Botox, for example, temporarily paralyzes the muscles you use to frown or smile, so wrinkles appear to be gone. But once the Botox wears off, usually in a few months, the wrinkles come back, too!
And so-called fillers can be injected into wrinkles to puff up the skin temporarily. But these are short-term solutions. They???re also expensive, and there are problematic side effects, like allergic reactions.
Is there a better way to get youthful skin? You bet there is! Here are my suggestions.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that wrinkles are an inside job? What this means is that since collagen production takes place in your body, you need to provide all the necessary ingredients to keep that process going.
Here are some of the top threats to collagen production:
- Insufficient nutrients
- Insufficient oxygen
- Air pollution
Now, looking at the list, it???s easy to see that???aside from the last two???you can change all those factors. Here???s how:
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking wreaks havoc with your skin???and it doesn???t do anything good for the rest of you, either.
- If your CRP score is high, signaling inflammation, take my previous advice on controlling it. You???ll be doing yourself a huge favor by reducing inflammation, which not only contributes to wrinkles but also chips away at your overall health.
- The same thing???s true of upgrading your diet. Eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as foods rich in good fats (salmon, herring, trout) not only gives your skin more of the raw materials it needs, but your entire body benefits, too.
- Regular, moderate exercise brings more oxygen to your cells, improves circulation, which provides skin with much-needed nutrients, and eases stress, a notorious enemy of health.
- Detoxification, something I recommend to just about all my patients, reduces the impact of our polluted environment. Try a liver flush and see how great you look.
Be aware that huge strides are being made in supplements that improve the skin from inside your body. Beta-carotene, for example, has been found to minimize damage from the sun???s UVA rays.
Then there???s astaxanthin, a well-known antioxidant that reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves elasticity of skin, and boosts moisture content by a whopping 50 percent, so skin appears fresh and supple.
And now research is focusing on a substance known as hydrolyzed collagen peptides as a way to minimize wrinkles, improve elasticity, and???most importantly???get collagen production back in gear. As products like these enter the market, it???ll become easier to maintain smooth, youthful skin.
If you don???t like what you see in the mirror these days, maybe it???s because your skin is trying to tell you that it???s undernourished and begging for your help. Don???t ignore it!
Your skin is the barrier protecting your body from a constant barrage of threats in the outside world. Even if you???re not worried about wrinkles, please return the favor and do everything you can to keep your skin healthy.