In this beauty conscious world, everyone is looking for an edge to stay young. There are those who tout eating superfoods and antioxidants to stay young… and there are those who are putting concentrated serums and antioxidants on their face to fight aging. Why not maximize your efforts and do both? Before we get into that, let’s look into the benefits and limitations of each to gain an understanding of their usefulness.
As we age, the amount of collagen and elasticity in our skin decreases, causing wrinkling to occur. Smoking and increased sun exposure accelerates the aging process while a healthy diet and exercise will help fight it because they increase blood flow. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed oil, may also be helpful. Of course, the signs of aging include not only wrinkles, but also memory loss, decreased brain function, and an increased risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Many studies have documented the link between a healthy diet and prevention of age-related or chronic diseases. As we age, we become more susceptible to the long-term effects of oxidative stress and inflammation on the cellular level. The theory is that antioxidants and other age-defying compounds help fight damage from free radicals and minimize the impact of aging. Just as oxidation causes iron to rust, it causes humans to age. Vitamin A, found in leafy green vegetables, whole milk, and liver, can help maintain and repair skin. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect you from sun exposure, pollution and smoking. Besides citrus fruits, vitamin C can be found in broccoli, bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin E can be found in vegetable oils, nuts, olives, spinach, and asparagus. Red wine in moderation can help fight aging as well. Resveratrol, found in red wine, is a potent antioxidant, inflammation damper, and artery protector.
What else will help you fight age and look younger? Selenium, found in whole grains, seafood, garlic, and eggs, also help to minimize the damage caused by free radicals. Zinc can clear skin by controlling oil production and is important in cell growth. It can be found in oysters, lean meats, and chicken. Lutein, a dietary nutrient available as a supplement and long-known for its effectiveness in promoting eye health, also provides specific skin benefits. These include increasing hydration, elasticity, and superficial lipids of the skin, while decreasing the oxidation- a process that causes degradation- of those beneficial skin lipids.
As part of a regimen to protect, restore, and nourish your skin, antioxidants and other skin care topicals will fight the effects of accelerated aging and skin damage from the environment and internal factors. Some excellent topical antioxidants are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, green tea, selenium, and alpha lipoic acid. Similar to using an asthma inhaler as compared to a pill, topical applications with these ingredients will begin to work quickly and have a lasting effect.
While there are many products touting similar ingredients, it is important to use products that work and are in sufficiently high enough concentration to be effective. For instance, vitamin C is the standard by which other topical antioxidants are compared. It can be found in serum, cream, or other topical product. The most potent form of it is L-ascorbic acid, but most over-the-counter products use a different form that is less effective. Even some products that are endorsed by doctors may not have this form. Finally, if the concentration was high enough to work significantly, it would be FDA regulated and likely require a prescription or to be sold through a doctor’s office.
So why should we bother fighting the effects of aging on two fronts? Because the aging process, and factors that accelerate the aging process, occur on two fronts: external forces and internal factors. External forces include smoking, sun exposure, pollution and dryness. Internal factors include stress, diet, and genetics. While we can change some of these influences, it’s impossible to change all of them, so we need to take extra measures to combat aging. Changing your diet to include more superfoods and antioxidants will help in the long term. For immediate help that will also give you lasting results, topical agents added to a customized skin care regimen will melt the years off and refresh your look!