What You Need to Know About Aging and 15+ Tips to Fight It the Natural Way
Aging is a process in life that eventually affects each of us. Usually, a person starts to show the first signs of aging when he reaches around the age of 25.
The skin is usually the first part of our body where these signs start to become visible. These changes in our skin is just one of the most obvious signs of aging. First, you will notice that some fine lines have appeared on your skin. Next, these lines become more defined and eventually form into wrinkles. Other signs of aging include graying hair and becoming shorter.
While aging is a process that is bound to happen whether we like it or not, there are some people who fear it and would even go as far as spending thousands of dollars in order to defy it. And then, there are those who perceive aging as a part of life and simply embrace the idea and the process.
The way people age depends on several factors. In other words, different people age differently. Having said that, we can’t help but wonder why is it that people age? Is there something we can do about aging? Would it be possible to slow down the aging process naturally and healthily? Read on to find out more.
What causes aging?
Aging happens not only because of internal causes but also because of external factors. As our skin is a living organ as well as the largest organ of our body, it performs as a reactive mechanism to both internal and external factors. Whatever we put into our bodies, expose our bodies to, level of stress we encounter, and patterns of sleeping, all of these impact our skin.
Internal or intrinsic aging, also known as the natural aging process, refers to a number of ways that our body age from within. These include loss of underlying fat, slowed exfoliation, decreased cellular regeneration, slowed elastin and collagen production, and skin that begins to thin and sag subtly which becomes more noticeable as life passes by.
Intrinsic aging, which makes up about 10 percent of the aging process, is the type of aging that cannot be changed nor halted. It is something that is bound to happen since everyone is genetically programmed to go through aging since the first day of birth.
The damage begins when our skin cells become affected by oxidative stressors such as the free radicals, the sun, chronic stress, pollution, having a diet that lacks antioxidants, poor skin care and smoking. These stressors break down collagen and the cell’s DNA structure. Over time, our cells more likely replicate the damage causing the damaged cells to increase in number.
External or extrinsic aging makes up around 90 percent of the aging process and is said to be the type of aging that we can control by changing some of our lifestyle habits.
The external factors that affect the speed of skin aging are caused by oxidative stress. This refers to the release of free radicals or reactive oxygen species in the human body. According to the Free Radical Theory, people age because the damage brought by free radicals accumulates over time.
Normally, free radicals are trapped and neutralized by antioxidants that are found in the skin. These are molecules that have the ability to absorb and stop the free radicals. In time, however, this ability of the skin to deactivate free radicals decreases. As a result, all parts of the skin cell become damaged.
Sun and Aging
Overexposure to sunlight and, in particular, getting a sunburn, plays a major role in the premature aging of the skin. Its UV rays damage the elastin found in the skin. Apart from breaking down elastin and collagen, it also slows down the production of new collagen which is important in repairing and strengthening the skin. This causes it to sag, wrinkle and lose elasticity. It is the skin on our neck and faces that gets the full effect brought on by sun exposure because these are the most exposed parts compared to the rest of our body. While the effect is not usually seen early on, it will eventually become visible in 10 or 20 years.
Besides speeding up aging of your skin, getting a sunburn on a regular basis is also associated with increased chances at getting melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma usually begins in melanocytes which are cells that are responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that affects the colors of our skin, hair and eyes. Unlike other forms of cancers, melanoma is usually detected on the skin which makes it easier to diagnose on its early stages.
Several research suggest that around 90 percent of melanoma cases are connected with prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays either from natural or artificial sources which include sunlight and tanning beds that are used indoors. One of the most important warning signs of melanoma is when the skin is found to have an unusually new spot which seems to be changing in color, shape or size. Another relevant sign is when the spot appears to look different compared to any other spots on the skin (sometimes referred to as the “ugly duckling sign).
However, we also have this love-hate relationship with the sun as everyone knows that it is a good source of Vitamin D which is the only nutrient that we get from being exposed to the sun’s rays. Vitamin D, which is essential in building strong bones and teeth and in preventing rickets, is quickly achieving popularity in the world of nutrition. Scientists are learning more about its increasing health benefits such as preventing cancer and reducing the overall risk of mortality.
Exposing our bare skin to sunlight is the most natural way that we can get Vitamin D. Bear in mind, though, that this can happen rather quickly especially during summer. This means that you can get the right amount of Vitamin D without having the need to tan or get your skin burned.
Pollution is harmful to the skin.
According to research, long term or chronic exposure to traffic soot and other airborne particulate matter is one important environmental factor that causes skin aging in humans. Traffic soot is found to have polyaromatic hydrocarbons (a chemical compound known for its carcinogenic effects) which activates the aryl hydrocarbon receptor ( a type of protein in humans) that is expressed on melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) and keratinocytes (keratin-producing epidermal cells).
Exposure to air pollution is therefore found to have significant effects on the skin’s aging. In particular, wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation are signs of skin aging that are all caused by air pollution.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists the most harmful elements brought by pollution that cause damaging effects for the skin. These include ozone, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (solid or liquid particles found in the air), sulfur dioxide, lead exposure and carbon monoxide.
Smoking can accelerate skin aging.
Since the 1970s, several studies have shown that smoking, compared to sun exposure, can cause more premature facial wrinkles. These are usually seen as lines around the eyes otherwise known as “crow’s feet” which can develop even at an early age. There are also vertical lines that can be seen around the mouth otherwise known as “smoker’s lines.”
While there is no data that will explain how smoking exactly causes our facial skin to age prematurely, there are some theories that help support the relation between smoking and skin aging.
- Changes in the skin’s elastic fibers
- Heat from the cigarette that burns the skin directly
- Reducing the skin’s moisture and Vitamin A levels
- Narrowing of blood vessels
Lack of antioxidants in the diet
Antioxidants, as the word implies, help prevent or stop cell damage that is caused by oxidants. Some antioxidants are produced by our body, while there are some that are not. As our body ages, its ability to naturally produce antioxidants also declines.
Antioxidants play a huge role in your health. This is because they can control the speed of aging by fighting free radicals.
Among the many types of food that have antioxidants, there are at least 20 of them which contained the highest levels of antioxidants. These include red beans, wild blueberry, kidney beans, pinto beans, cultivated blueberry, cranberry, artichoke, blackberry, prune, raspberry, strawberry, red apple, Granny Smith apple, pecan, sweet cherry, black plum, Russet potato, black bean, plum and gala apple.
Sleep and Skin aging
In the book “Primal Sleep,” it is stated that a lack of good quality sleep can bring a number of side-effects. One of them is skin aging.
The relation between inadequate sleep and skin aging was also the focus of a research led by Dr. Elma Baron. According to the study, inadequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging. Women who are sleep deprived show signs of premature skin aging. Moreover, their skin decreases its ability to recover after being exposed to the sun.
Skin Care, Cosmetics and Cleanser Products – Five Ingredients You Need to Avoid
There are some cosmetic manufacturers that actually put chemical ingredients in their skin care products that are not only cheap but are also harmful to our skin. Instead of nourishing our skin, these ingredients tend to worsen our skin’s condition which then leads to more fine lines, dryness and wrinkles in the future.
If you’re serious about taking good care of your skin, be wary of these five key ingredients and avoid them at all cost.
- Chemical sunscreens – octyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3, oxybenzone
- Mineral oil – comes from petroleum
- DEA, MEA, TEA – ammonia compounds that are linked to skin and hair drying as well as to cancer
- Certain alcohols – ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, methanol, ethanol, SD alcohol
- Sulfates – sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate
Chemicals and Pesticides in Our Foods
Many diseases and syndromes that are related to aging have been linked to chemicals and other pesticides. These include Parkinson’s disease, hearing loss, thyroid disorders, prostate, kidney and other cancers.
Chemicals and pesticides are used in animal and plant farming in order to boost production and ensure that there is enough food supply. Since they are toxic enough to kill agricultural pests, some of these chemicals, when consumed by humans in huge amounts, can naturally cause problems.
Apart from chemicals and pesticides, animal products and processed foods that have artificial coloring and flavor, genetically modified soy, high fructose corn syrup, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, chemical fertilizers or herbicides will speed up the accumulation of free radicals as well aging.
Some groups of people can be more sensitive to pesticides compared to others. These include older adults, those with health conditions, children, infants and those who are pregnant.
More recent studies reveal that by 2030, one out of five people in the United States will be age 65 or even older. This means that there will be an increased percentage in the population which shall face the risks brought by absorbing pesticides into the body.
Pesticides can start affecting our body by way of absorption. This can include breathing it, swallowing or getting it on our skin. Absorbing these harmful pesticides may be triggered by several reasons:
- The thinning of our skin’s outer layers which occur as we age
- The susceptibility to damage of thinner skin among older adults
- Changes in the nervous system which affect the way we use our sense of taste, touch and smell
In general, the skin of older adults tends to take longer when reacting to pesticides which then result to slower realization of the need to wash away these harmful chemicals from their skin.
One of the ways to reduce exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is by eating foods that are organic and pesticide-free. Organic food is usually obtained fresh from local farms. It is believed that such type of food have no pesticides and no added preservatives. This type of food is not only safer and beneficial to our health, they are also believed to taste better.
Stress and Skin Aging
Stress can be a contributor to aging particularly one that occurs prematurely. It is often said that if you are constantly exposed to stress, your body also appears to be breaking down little by little. Some types of individual who are prone to suffer from bigger impacts of stress on the aging process include those who are doing stressful jobs (enlisted military personnel, firefighter and airline pilot among others); those who anticipate stress; women who have brains that age more prematurely compared to men’s; people who display temporary vision and hearing loss; and those who take care of themselves less by eating more poorly, not doing sufficient exercise, drinking more and relying more on medication.
How to fight skin aging the natural way
- Keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays. When you go out during the day, avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the time when the sun’s rays are strongest and can therefore harm your skin the most.
- Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when you do go out in the sun. Be sure that your sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher. Please see this study from EWG on the best and worst sunscreens: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/. You can also learn more about SPF and why it is important to avoid Vitamin A in a sunscreen.
As for your clothing, you can wear wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, long pants or long skirts.
- Avoid tanning. Moreover, don’t take tanning pills since they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and may not be safe.
- If you smoke, start looking for ways to quit smoking. Not only will it help you in improving your skin, it will also do a lot of wonders to your overall health.
- Moderate your alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates the skin and causes damage which can make you look older.
- Do some moderate exercises. Studies show that moderate exercise can help improve our body’s circulation and boost its immune system thus giving our skin a more youthful look.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Your diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables because they are high in anti-oxidant which help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging.
If you want to know more about the types of food that you should include in your diet to help fight premature skin aging, you may want to check the book called “The Top 101 Foods That Fight Aging.” You can also learn how to develop some healthy habits along the way that will allow you to take care of your skin for several years ahead.
- Get enough hours of sleep. The amount of sleep that one needs usually depend on one’s age. Experts recommend that adults should get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Cleanse thoroughly. Wash your face especially at night to get that pollution off your skin. Doing this habit every day will help you in maintaining a young and vibrant skin.
- Remove dead skin cells by exfoliation. It is important to help the skin repair itself after being exposed to pollution. Exfoliation also encourages faster cell turnover and even allow your skin to become more resistant to damages brought by pollution.
According to scientists, you can surely keep those wrinkles at bay by using any good anti-wrinkle serums. They don’t just leave your skin feeling great but they also give it a radiant and happy glow particularly on your face.
Common products such as a gentle soap, a toner and a moisturizer are all we need to keep our face looking radiant. Some people have formed the habit of washing their face regularly before they retire at night.
Nanotechnology and Skin Aging
Nanotechnology is now being used in cosmetics and skin care to keep our skin younger looking and to protect it from the harmful rays of the sun. Products that use the technology include sunscreens that block ultraviolet rays with zinc oxide nanoparticles; sunscreens that use ivy-plant generated nanoparticles for blocking ultraviolet rays; skin creams that prevent skin aging by using proteins from stem cells; skin care lotions which contain encapsulated nanoparticle nutrients that are liquid-suspended (nanoemulsion); and lotions that use ethosomes in providing nutrients for the promotion of hair growth.
Using organic skin care and cosmetics products
Apart from changing one’s diet into something that is based on organic food consumption, there are absolutely several other ways for everyone to enjoy the benefits of green living. Currently, organic skin care and cosmetics products are increasing in popularity as more and more people are becoming increasingly conscious of their health benefits.
Some of the ingredients that are usually found in many types of organic skin care and cosmetics products include preservatives, surfactants, emulsifiers, humectants and emollients.
It should be remembered that these ingredients come in both natural and synthetic versions wherein the latter is said to be harmful for the body. The best thing to do is to research on the product’s ingredients by making it a habit to read product labels. While it seems like a tedious task, it is definitely well worth the effort with results that can be enjoyed for the long term.
Stress reduction methods
Believe it or not, reducing our level of stress is actually feasible by making simple changes in our daily habits. Here are the 10 simple ways that can effectively help in reducing stress.
1. Listen to relaxing music.
2. Call a friend who is willing to listen to your problems.
3. Talk to yourself and analyze the situation at hand.
4. Eat the right types of food.
5. Laugh and take things easy.
6. Try green tea.
7. Practice the concept of “mindfulness” by doing yoga, tai chi and meditation.
8. Take “minute” vacations (doing a short walk, reading a few lines from a good book)
9. Aim to have better quality of sleep.
10. Do some deep breathing exercises.
In order to know more about how you can become free from beauty products that are filled with toxic ingredients, you should adopt the Primal Beauty system for a full head to toe beauty makeover.
Aging is an inevitable human process, BUT there are ways to delay it. If you are conscious about your health and continuously learning how to optimize your way of living, you can surely extend your life and maintain the youthfulness of your skin. Don’t forget to check our solutions page to find natural and affordable ways to delay aging. Investing in your knowledge is one of the most important steps to ensure the healthy state of your skin.
- Signs of ageing | General skin ageing
- The Science of Aging Gracefully
- What causes our skin to age?
- The Aging effects of the Sun
- Pollution and Aging: 5 Ways to Counteract Pollution-Induced Skin Damage
- Is Traffic Causing Your Wrinkles? Science Says It’s So
- Smoking and its effects on the skin
- 20 Common Foods With the Most Antioxidants
- The Ultimate Guide to Antioxidants
- Skin Care and Aging
- Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma Cancer
- What is Melanoma
- Older Adults and Pesticides
- 6 Reasons to Use Organic Makeup