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How should I care for my skin to reduce the effects of aging?

Overall, your best bet to reduce the effects of skin aging is what's best for overall health: a low-fat, high-fiber diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, plenty of water, regular exercise and enough sleep every night (not just on weekends). More specifically, here's what the science shows:
  • Fats. Several studies find that the amount of poly- and monounsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, you get in your diet may affect the amount of sun and aging damage your skin experiences. The best source of omega-3s? Cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. For healthy mono fats, experts recommend olive oil and nuts.
  • Fruits, vegetables and fish. You know these foods are good for you for any number of reasons. But did you know they may prevent wrinkling? When researchers from Monash University in Australia studied the diets of 453 people aged 70 and older from Australia, Greece and Sweden to see if there was any correlation between what they ate and the amount of wrinkles on their skin, they found those who ate the most fruits, vegetables and fish had the least amount of wrinkles. Conversely, the researchers found, foods high in saturated fat, including meat, butter and full-fat dairy, as well as soft drinks, cakes, pastries and potatoes, increased the likelihood of skin wrinkling.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise maintains healthy circulation and blood flow throughout your body, including your skin. If you're exercising outdoors, though, remember to wear a sunscreen on your face that protects against UVA and UVB rays, or a moisturizer with sunscreen protection.
  • Vitamins. Although it's always best to get what you need from food, several studies attest to the skin-protecting effects of supplements containing the antioxidant vitamins E and C.
  • Other nutrients. Other studies suggest that consumption of borage oil (high in omega-3 fatty acids), garlic and ginkgo biloba may also protect skin from the detrimental effects of sunlight and free radicals.
Here are 10 foods that will benefit your skin:
  • salmon
  • green tea
  • olive oil and olives
  • sardines
  • Brazil nuts
  • blueberries
  • flaxseeds
  • non-fat dairy products
  • canola oil
  • avocados

The best ways to prevent your skin from prematurely aging are:

  1. Don't Smoke
  2. Avoid overexposure to the sun while still maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels.

For the face, a simple skin care program using:

  1. A gentle cleanser,
  2. A good exfoliator to get rid of excess dead skin cells,
  3. A toner, and
  4. A moisturizer. 
Stay away from alcohol-based products as they are excessively drying. Exfoliation is key because excess dead skin cells need to be removed before any moisturizer will penetrate the skin. Retinol products will also help slow the development of fine lines and wrinkles as well as brown spots.

 

One of the key ways to allow your skin to survive the winter is moisturizing multiple times a day. Any type of face moisturizer you use should also have an SPF protectorate against ultraviolet A and B rays -- sun block is not just for the summer. The basic element to age management from an early age is liberal use of sun block and moisturizers during the day; Retinoids (anti-inflammatory) or unesterized vitamin C products are what should be applied at night (when they won’t be inactivated by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays). And don’t forget those hands. Carry around hand-care lotion as well and apply right before putting your gloves on to allow your hands a quick rejuvenation.

Another way to care for your skin is to recognize some of the detrimental factors that may promote pre-mature aging of the skin. They include:
  • Exposure/over-exposure to sun
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol or overuse of prescriptions and other drugs
  • Cycles of weight gain/loss, which loosen and age skin
  • Foods that promote water retention (salt)
So what can you do to help your skin's firmness and elasticity? Exercise to stimulate healthy blood flow and muscle tone and participate in stress-reduction activities like yoga and pilates. Learn what you might be sensitive or allergic to and avoid them. And last, but certainly not least, get enough sleep. Sleep is a weapon that a lot of us overlook due to our busy lifestyles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.