Vitamin C Serum. Your skin is certainly not an island. Diet, lifestyle, genetics, the products you use, exercise, stress, exposure to environmental pollutants, and hormonal changes all play a role in the health and appearance of our skin. Because there are so many factors that affect our skin, there is no one ingredient or product that is the “be all and end all” for great looking skin. Just like the rest of our body, our skin needs a wide range of things to stay its best.
However, a lot of those components can be broken down into 2 types of factors: those that affect your skin from the inside out, and what can help from the outside in. A lot of us fear that we’ll have to put up with the signs of aging. Truth is – there are some simple things we can do to minimize, if not outright prevent, the signs of aging. Let’s take a look at some causes of aging, and the ones you can say bye-bye to!
Some aging factors are a result of heredity. Some of us may be more genetically predisposed to form wrinkles, have dryness, or lose vital skin components faster than others. There isn’t a ton we can do to change our DNA, but some lifestyle adjustments may help keep the visible results of those factors at bay.
1) Stay hydrated! When our skin cells lose their hydration, they go from being plump, healthy cells to weak ones that cannot maintain the smooth, youthful appearance we strive for. You’ve probably heard this before, and there really is no shortcut for it: Drink lots of water! Common guidelines are 5-8 eight-ounce glasses, but feel free to check with your doctor or dietician to see if they have a different recommendation for you.
2) Exercise! According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, “Anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant.” By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin,” says Marmur. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.” Most experts agree that a thirty minute workout is more than enough for the average person. If you’re headed outdoors to get your sweat on, though, make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen.
3) Eat a balanced diet, focused on foods that are natural anti-oxidants. It’s no secret that free radicals are a major contributor to aging. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that damage your healthy cells. Foods that are high in antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, and prevent them from harming your skin. Foods rich in Vitamin C (citrus and berries, for example) are great at because Vitamin C is a potent anti oxidant.
4) Restore your Ceramides. Remember how we talked about hydration? Well, the waterproof barrier in our skin plays a big role in keeping moisture locked in. And a big part of that waterproof barrier is Ceramides. Ceramides are a molecule that exists in the stratum corneum – the outmost layer of our epidermis. This is the layer of our skin that stands between us and the environment. Unfortunately, as we age, our body produces fewer and fewer Ceramides. Worse, free radicals damage Ceramides we do have, which means our stratum corneum breaks down. This makes our skin less able to hold in moisture, leading to, and eventually wrinkles. Thankfully, there is a Plant-Derived equivalent to Ceramides called Phytoceramides. The Phytoceramides help take the place of the Ceramides we lose, restoring the skin barrier, locking moisture in, and keeping wrinkles at bay. Phytoceramides are available as an oral supplement. The optimal dosage is 350 mg of a wheat-based Phytoceramide (Those with Gluten Allergies will need non-wheat source like Rice). Remember, though – this takes time. The average adult has 22 pounds of skin. Moisturizing affects usually take 4 – 6 weeks, and wrinkle improvement can take 3 – 6 months on Phytoceramides.
So, now that we’ve covered what to do from the inside, let’s tackle the outside:
4) Protect your skin from the sun. Many dermatologists agree that sun damage is the #1 aging culprit. UV damage is extremely harmful for the skin. It creates free radicals, damages skin fibers, and causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our face. Make sure to use sun protection whenever you’re headed out, even when it’s cloudy. Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean you’re not exposing your skin to UV rays.
5) Use a Topical Serum, preferably one with Vitamin C. Serums are important for your skin because they act like liquid specialists. Serums have much smaller molecules than moisturizers, which means they’re more likely to penetrate deep, and deliver all of their goodness into your skin. Look for a Serum with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is the only anti oxidant proven to help rebuild collagen, and it can help reverse sun damage, and lighten sun spots. Even though Vitamin C is great to take on the inside like we mentioned in Tip #3, some studies suggest that topical Vitamin C is actually 20x more effective at preventing signs of aging.
6) Moisturize! Women with well-hydrated faces develop persistent wrinkles more slowly than those with dry skin. Keeping your skin’s cells plumped up with moisture is the key to complexion perfection. Pick a moisturizer with SPF for 1-2 punch of hydrated skin, and sun protection.