It's an unavoidable fact that our skin will age with time; however, there are many natural approaches we can take to help protect it and slow the aging process. From eating a well-balanced diet to getting enough sleep to avoiding harmful skin care ingredients and more, you can keep your skin healthy and looking its best!
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Our skin cells are produced from the nutrients we obtain from food and beverages, so it makes sense that a healthy diet will help promote optimal skin health. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and an adequate daily intake of water will all have a positive impact on your skin.
Fruits and Vegetables
Free radicals, which form as a result of exposure to sunlight, pollution, cigarette smoke, and other environmental triggers, can cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. However, brightly colored produce provides antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lutein, that can prevent free radical damage and support normal skin development and healthy skin tone. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are a good source of beta-carotene, while kale, spinach, and papaya provide lutein.
Many fruits and vegetables- including blueberries, broccoli, kiwi, citrus fruits, and strawberries- contain vitamin C, an antioxidant nutrient that helps acne heal. Vitamin C is also needed for the production of collagen, a protein that helps give skin its structure and strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds, help moisturize skin and improve its elasticity. Omega-3 fats (think salmon and walnuts) are also used in the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds that can be especially helpful for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Water is just as important for your skin as it is for every other part of your body, and even mild dehydration can cause the skin to look dry, tired, and even slightly grey. Some foods, like watermelon and cucumbers, contribute to your daily water intake and provide extra vitamins and minerals, too. Aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to keep skin hydrated.
Get Your Beauty Rest
There really is truth in this statement. Like the rest of your body, your skin repairs itself during sleep, and getting adequate amounts of shut-eye (seven to nine hours a night) can improve the health and appearance of your skin. Skin makes new collagen while you're sleeping, making it plumper and less likely to wrinkle. Getting only five hours of sleep a night can lead to the development of twice as many wrinkles as sleeping seven hours would.
Blood flow to the skin is also increased while you sleep, which creates a healthy glow when you wake. A good night's sleep can reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes as well.
Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays
Even if you don't tend to burn, too much time in the sun without sunscreen or protective clothing can damage your skin over time. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause degenerative changes in the cells, fibrous tissues, and blood vessels of the skin. Furthermore, overexposure to UV radiation can accelerate aging of the skin and lead to a decrease in elasticity.
While moderate amounts of time in the sun are needed to stimulate vitamin D production, long periods of exposure without sunscreen and/or the right clothing can cause long-term damage. You can find more information about the best ways to prevent UV damage in another post on the Verefina blog.
Use Topical Antioxidants
Antioxidants consumed in foods and beverages can function as a kind of "internal sunscreen," helping to protect against damage caused by sunlight. But topical antioxidants are very effective in mitigating this damage, too. Antioxidants in the skin are depleted during times of sun exposure, but topical antioxidants can be used to replace them. Sea buckthorn oil, pomegranate seed oil, and aloe vera, all found in our Sea Buckthorn Facial Cream, provide antioxidant nutrients and compounds for the skin.
Avoid Damaging Ingredients in Your Skin Care Products
Unfortunately, skin care products are not well regulated in the United States, and many companies use questionable and often harmful ingredients in their products. Some of these ingredients can irritate or damage the skin. For example, sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), inflame the skin and even cause layers of the skin to separate. They may also make the skin more permeable, which can allow unwanted toxins to enter the body through the skin. Sulfates strip the skin of its natural, protective oils as well.
Petroleum products should also be avoided. Also known as mineral oil and paraffin, petroleum products are derived from fossil fuels. They are often used to create artificial scents, and some carry moisture in products. Petrochemicals are very potent- some are added to paint and anti-freeze! These substances suffocate and age the skin. They also disrupt the skin's ability to eliminate toxins. The skin is an important pathway by which toxins leave the body, so it is important to avoid ingredients that interfere with this vital function.
At Verefina, we believe in using natural, health-promoting ingredients and never formulate our products with harmful synthetic ones. You can learn more about the ingredients we don't use here.
Skin does age with time, but there are many natural approaches you can take to keep your skin healthy and looking its best.
"Health Effects of UV Radiation." World Health Organization. Web. 8 December 2017.
Jacob, Stephanie. "The Truth About Beauty Sleep." WebMD. Web. 8 December 2017.
Lewin, Jo. "Eat Your Way to Fabulous Skin." BBC GoodFood. Web. 8 December 2017.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Katie! I love writing for the Blog and working as a Verefina Communications Specialist! I'm also the creator of An Ever Green Life, a blog that seeks to empower my readers to make changes that will improve their health and help protect our environment.
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