A few decades ago, researchers believed that genetics influenced nearly 25% of aging. Today, it is believed that as little as 3% of skin’s aging process is due to genetic factors. We are learning that the physical signs of aging have more to do with our lifestyle choices and less to do with genetics.
You Can Prevent Aging of the Skin through:
- a healthy diet
- moderate amount of exercise
- avoidance of environmental pollution
- kicking the cigarettes
- increasing the quality/quantity of sleep
- reducing prolonged psychological and physical stress
Physical stress on the body can come from free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules in the body with an unpaired electron, which in turn causes a cell to be unbalanced. When you have a surplus of unbalanced cells looking to become stable/balanced, this creates further stress on the body because there is an attack against healthy cells. This stress is known as oxidative stress; when a cell’s antioxidant defense ability is overridden by oxidative stress, this will lead to cell damage and aging.
Free radicals damage DNA, cell membranes (the outside of the cell), and disrupts the structures inside of the cell that tell the cell how to function. This damage leads to extrinsic aging of the skin (aging on the exterior surface of the skin). Oxidative stress is also believed to play a huge role in chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Aging from oxidative stress is due to
- Poor nutrition
- Environmental pollution
- Overexposure to UV radiation
- Ionized radiation
- Physical and Psychological stress
What can you do to prevent pre-mature aging of the skin?
By incorporating antioxidants into your diet, your body can use these to lessen the impact of free radicals. Studies appearing in medical journals confirm that antioxidants can be absorbed into the skin cells. In skincare, antioxidants can help protect the damage on cells in the body, including your skin.
Antioxidants to consider when choosing a skincare product are:
- Vitamin E – There are two forms in skincare products, natural and synthetic. The natural form is more potent and lasts longer. Vitamin E can influence genetic signals in skin cells to prevent oxidative stress and damage. This vitamin slows the production of melanin, by blocking the enzyme tyrosinase (tyrosinase is responsible for melanin formation, or the dark pigment change you see with age spots.)
- Green Tea – Free radicals damage healthy cells by breaking down collagen (collagen is responsible for the structural integrity of the skin). Loss of collagen leads to fine line and wrinkles. Green Tea gets its kick from epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG). This compound defends the skin against inflammatory effects.
- Coffee Berry – Coffee berries from the Coffea arabica plant are high in polyphenols and phenolic acids. Coffee Berry extract is extremely rich in antioxidants, particularly chlorogenic acid, which combats free radicals throughout the entire cell whereas other antioxidants are limited to specific portions of the cell.
- Lycopene – a type of carotenoid found in tomatoes. Lycopene is powerful because it combats one of the most dangerous free radicals, called singlet oxygen. The antioxidant can detoxify the free radical without being destroyed, going on to fight more free radicals.