THIRD QUARTER 2004, VOLUME 18, NO 3

Aging is Inevitable; But Premature Aging Can Be Fought

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Aging is Inevitable; but Premature Aging can be Fought

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Collagen and elastin, two protein fibers, give the skin its elasticity and help keep it hydrated. As the skin ages, the fibers become less efficient and are replaced at a slower rate. It is impossible to stop the aging process; however, there are ways you can fight and prevent premature aging with proper hygiene, products, rest, relaxation, and a healthy lifestyle.

Cleanse daily to remove accumulated oils and dirt. Oily, dull skin can make you appear older than you are; wash gently twice a day with a mild cleansing agent designed for the face. Avoid ordinary soaps, which dry and irritate facial skin. Pat your face dry and apply a moisturizer, preferably with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Stay out of the sun and apply sunscreen generously before venturing outdoors. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun destroys skin cells. Over time, exposure leads to wrinkles, age spots, a weathered look, and a higher risk of skin cancer. Do you know your skin typeoily, dry, sensitive, combination? Purchase products that are designed for your skin type to ensure your skin will look radiant and youthful.

Adequate rest can help your skin rejuvenate and glow on a daily basis. During the deepest stage of sleep, your body releases growth hormones for cell repair. Without this regenerative effect, your skin’s texture, thickness, and elasticity are diminished. The average adult requires seven hours of sleep per night.

Schedule time for yourself, learn relaxation techniques, and make pampering sessions a priority. Stress negatively affects your skin and accelerates the aging process. When you are feeling overwhelmed, nervous, or anxious, one way your body reacts is by producing excess oils in your skin. Be proactive in reducing stress and your skin will benefit.

A healthy lifestyle affects how you look and how you feel. A diet filled with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is important for your skin to get the proper nutrients it needs. Drink plenty of water and exercise on a regular basis, which will promote good circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the skin as well.

Will exercising your facial muscles fight the aging process? No, exercising these muscles will not prevent your skin from sagging. As we age, the problem is not muscle laxity, but rater loss of collagen in the skin, the affects of gravity on fat and fascia, and the stretching of facial ligaments. Your skin will benefit more overall if you exercise your whole body, rather than just those facial muscles.

If you smoke, you should quit. Smoking affects the blood supply to the skin, inhibiting proper circulation and increasing wrinkles. Smokers also have a risk for squamous cell cancers that is about 50 percent higher than nonsmokers’ risk.

Even after taking preventative measures, you may consider a cosmetic procedure to restore your youthful appearance. Minimally invasive procedures such as a glycolic peel or mini-facelift may bring the results you need; or possibly a surgical procedure such as cheek implants and a facelift to restore fullness and smoothness to your face.

Start with the above factors that you can control and then come in to discuss what other options there are to undo or slow down some of the unavoidable effects of growing older.