Anti-aging is all-the-buzz. You've heard the phrase, "40 is the new 20." People are enjoying longer lives and want their appearance to reflect their good health and vibrant state of mind. Still, the aging process begins when we enter the world and the effects are increasingly evident throughout our lives. Since "anti-aging" is impossible, it is aging gracefully that we all strive for. By embracing a healthy lifestyle and using specific nutrients both topically and internally, slowing the natural aging process has become a goal shared by people from their 20's to their 80's.
Although theories abound about the underlying causes of aging, research shows that there are actually two distinct types of aging. Intrinsic (internal), which is caused by the genes we inherit, and extrinsic (external), caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to the sun's harmful rays. More and more evidence is pointing to these two causes working together, although it hasn't been determined which has more impact. While aging affects every organ in the body, our focus is on the largest of them all - the skin.
Not only is skin the largest organ in the human body, it is also one of the most important. Because it interfaces with the environment, skin plays a key role in protecting against pathogens and excessive water loss. Its other functions are insulation, temperature regulation, sensation, synthesis of vitamin D, and the protection of vitamin B folates. We tend to take our skin and its many roles for granted while focusing on our internal organs, forgetting that our skin provides a visual reflection of our emotional and physical well-being.
Skin is composed of two primary layers, each with their own sub-layers. The epidermis covers the body, serving as a protective barrier against the environment and infection. The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is made of dead, flat skin cells that shed about every 2 weeks. The dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis and consists of connective tissue and elastin. The average square inch of skin holds an amazing 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, (pigment producing cells) and more than a thousand nerve endings.
Intrinsic, or natural aging, is a continuous process that normally begins in our 20's. Within the skin, collagen production slows, and elastin, the substance that enables skin to snap back into place, becomes more rigid. Dead skin cells do not shed as quickly and turnover of new skin cells may decrease slightly. A number of extrinsic, or external, factors often act together with the normal aging process to prematurely age our skin. Most external premature aging is caused by sun exposure.
"Photo-aging" is the term dermatologists use to describe aging caused by exposure to the sun's rays. Scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun also attacks elastin. Over time, cumulative sun exposure sets the stage for wrinkles, brown freckles, broken capillaries and dryness. Ultraviolet light not only damages the DNA in the cells of the skin, it inhibits the mechanisms that repair damaged skin cells.
Contrary to popular belief, a sunscreen with SPF does not necessarily prevent DNA damage because SPF ratings measure only the effectiveness in blocking UVB rays. But in fact, UVA rays, once thought to be harmless because they produce no burning, actually penetrate much deeper into the skin leading to much more damage to DNA and other skin structures. Vitamins A, C, and E, protect skin cells from free radical damage caused by UV light exposure and are believed to do more to prevent and repair DNA damage than even the strongest sunscreen.
Other external factors that age our skin are repetitive facial expressions, poor diets, lack of exercise, gravity, sleeping positions, and smoking. Internally, declining hormones contribute to the aging of the skin. Estrogen provokes collagen and a moisture factor known as hyaluronic acid. Men tend to have thicker skin than women due to the dominant hormone testosterone. However, in later years, the lack of estrogen in women and testosterone in men contribute to aging skin in both genders.
Stress, an unavoidable part of life, also plays a role in premature aging. Cortisol, released by the adrenal glands during times of stress, causes a loss of collagen and accelerated skin aging. Studies have shown that our emotions, particularly stressful ones, can unleash a torrent of free radicals and stress hormones such as cortisol that not only age our skin but cause a wide range of allergic and inflammatory skin ailments. It is estimated that between 30% and 60% of visits to the dermatologist are related to skin problems that result from psychological factors.
Science also substantiates the role that free radicals play in skin aging. The protein collagen is particularly susceptible to free radical damage, and when this damage occurs, it causes the collagen protein molecules to break down and then link back up again in a different way known as cross-linking. Collagen cross-linking and age both contribute to the normally mobile collagen shrinking and becoming stiff. We can feel the effects of cross-linking in our joints and ligaments, and see it in our faces and necks.
Changes in your skin begin early in life however fine lines, dryness, thinning skin, etc. are typically not visible until our 30's. By about 40, lines and wrinkles, decreased skin thickness, and uneven skin tone become more noticeable. In our 50s, the visible signs of aging seem to accelerate. The aging process has been unfolding for years, but the changes can seem sudden and dramatic. Collagen and elasticity are diminished, hormones decline, and the underlying fat padding begins to disappear causing sagging skin. As we approach our 60's, the shape of our face and our appearance changes.
We are the sum of our experiences and lifestyle choices. With the wisdom that comes with age, advances in anti-aging research, and the availability of scientific studies, we can recognize the things we wish we had done differently. For example, if we had known then what we do now, we probably wouldn't have covered ourselves in Baby Oil before spending the day in the hot sun. Unfortunately, the past can't be undone, but, regardless of your age, it's never too late to make positive lifestyle changes that will slow the aging process and enhance the appearance of your skin.
Healthy living delays many of the body changes that aging brings. Eating a nutritious diet goes a long way toward insuring good health. If you smoke and you quit at any time, you will decrease the chances of having a heart attack. Your skin will look much better too, with lines becoming smoother. Exercising or becoming more physically active improves lung function, sending more oxygen throughout your body to nourish your cells. Antioxidants, especially vitamins A, C and E, used both internally and topically, can partially reverse some aspects of skin aging.
Scientific evidence indicates that, in addition to proper nutrition and health care, the daily topical application of antioxidant rich creams play an important role in the preservation and rejuvenation of skin.
Anti-Aging Therapy is a silk protein formation that penetrates deeply to hydrate, soften, and rejuvenate your skin. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, age spots and redness while helping to repair sun damage. Anti-Aging Therapy is very regenerative and moisturizing for fresh, younger looking skin.
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Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. Organic Excellence does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.