By Fort Wayne Custom Rx
As we approach the spring and summer months, skin health becomes a hot topic. There are magazines everywhere discussing skin issues— from cellulite to age spots and wrinkles. The skin care industry is projected to be worth about $12 billion by 2018, with significant growth expected in the area of anti-aging products. If we are spending money on anti-aging products, we should better understand the natural aging process we are up against.
We can’t account for all of the variation in aging that occurs, but here is what we do know: Signs of aging can be caused by intrinsic (occurs inside the body) and extrinsic (environmental contributions) processes.
Intrinsic processes work like this:
To create a human life, DNA is donated from a father and a mother in the form of chromosomes, which are sets of neatly organized genetic information. To help protect these chromosomes from damage, caps are placed on the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. Telomeres are much like how a shoe has a sole to protect it from the wear and tear of the ground. Throughout life, our cells constantly work to replace old or damaged cells. This means these chromosomes are being unpacked to create a copy for a new cell and then repackaged. The protective caps shorten with each new copy, causing a decline in the integrity and function of the tissue. This DNA damage is accelerated by oxidative damage and a process called glycation, where sugar binds to DNA, proteins or fats making them useless.
Based on what we know about intrinsic aging, there a few steps we can take to help slow the process. Reducing cell turnover or decreasing the amount of times a cell needs to divide helps to slow damage that occurs with each cell division. How do we help this?
- Keep skin hydrated and avoid abrasive contact to reduce the amount of cell turnover.
- Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods or supplements work to capture oxidative substances before they can cause too much damage to cells’ DNA.
- Eating a healthy, low-glycemic index diet and achieving a healthy weight will reduce the glycation of proteins, fats and DNA to help maintain integrity of your tissue.
- Skin tends to become drier as we age. Keep skin hydrated from the outside and inside. Water can do wonderful things for your complexion and helps keep skin flexible and hydrated from the inside.
- Moisturizing your skin on the outside is necessary as well. Ointments hydrate better than creams, which hydrate better than lotions. So if your skin is in need of some rehab, look for oils and ointments to do the trick.
What is collagen?
You’ve heard the term, but what does it mean? As the chromosomes and proteins of the body experience this damage, there is a reduction in the quantity and quality of collagen in the skin and in the layer supporting the skin. Collagen is a strong but flexible protein found throughout the body. It provides structure to the cells of the body and is responsible for the skin’s strength and elasticity. As the aging collagen struggles to stretch and recoil, so does the outer layer of the skin. Skin tends to become drier as we age. Think of a rubber band. When you first get the pack, they work fantastically to stretch to the length you need and then to recoil. However, when you go to use the rubber band after it has been exposed to air for a few years, it no longer stretches and has become very brittle. Dry skin is less flexible and more fragile than hydrated skin. The dry skin creates deeper and wider wrinkles as it struggles to adapt to a body in motion.
We can’t reverse aging, but we can use some tips and tricks to slow the process!