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5 Steps to slow down the aging process.

Posted November 22, 2010 in Fitness & Nutrition

Preserve the Looks – Drink Water

Drink plenty of water

We all want to preserve our looks. Many products on the market would have you believe that they are the “fountain of youth” of anti-aging products. The truth is, we can’t turn back the hands of time- but we can all use a few tips to help us mitigate the signs of aging that show up most readily in our faces.

Aging is a fact of life, one that we cannot escape no matter how badly we want to. Aging of the skin starts in our 20s- the production of collagen slows, as does the “snap” in our elastin, the substance that gives skin its elasticity. Production of new skin cells to replace old and dead cells also slows. The result of these changes is thinner skin that may develop fine wrinkles and may be less firm, with a tendency to sag as we age further. Our genes partially determine how quickly signs of aging appear, while environmental factors determine the rest. Environmental factors that affect aging include sun exposure, which is one factor that we can control. Smoking also contributes to aging of our cells, and avoidance of cigarettes can decrease the rate at which your skin ages.

Women with mature skin need to pay attention to their skin to protect it from further signs of aging and to improve already-existing signs of aging, such as wrinkles, dry skin and fine lines. The following tips should be part of your daily routine if you have mature skin:

Drink Plenty of Water

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water, which we need to constantly replenish through drinking. We lose water constantly through perspiration, urination and breathing. Our body needs water to function at its best, and this includes our skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and we lose water through our skin constantly. Water also helps to flush toxins from our body, including our skin. When our bodies lack water, we become dehydrated. Dehydration can make wrinkles and fine lines appear more prominent. Drinking Water should be an essential step in any beauty routine, regardless of age.

There has been much debate about how much water we should drink in a day. Requirements will vary, depending on your size and weight, activity levels and other factors. The bottom line? You should drink enough water to keep your mouth feeling comfortably moist at all times and to keep your urine a pale yellow color. A dry mouth and dark urine are reliable signs that you are not drinking enough.

Cleanse and Hydrate

Cleanse

Cleanse & Hydrate

Cleansing your skin rids the skin of accumulated dirt, sweat and oil that have accumulated and that can cause your skin to appear older. If you wear makeup you will need to remove your makeup every day, as makeup can clog your pores, making them appear larger. If your skin is mature, you will want to choose a cleanser that is gentle and does not remove too many of your natural oils. Mature skin is often dryer and therefore cleansers with moisturizers in them are far better than harsh cleansers that may strip your skin of its natural moisture.

You should cleanse your skin at least twice a day, morning and night. Avoid overzealous scrubbing of the skin, which can damage thin skin. Use your ring fingers (these are your weakest fingers) and stroke upwards, being careful not to pull the skin around the eyes, where skin is the thinnest. Rinse your face thoroughly following.

Hydrate

Mature skin is dry skin. For this reason, hydration of the skin is perhaps the most important beauty step to decrease signs of aging. Choose a moisturizer that will keep your skin feeling moist throughout the day. If your skin starts to feel tight towards the end of the day, you may want to consider using a heavier moisturizer. You should moisturize your skin by applying a good quality moisturizer twice a day, morning and night. You may want to use a heavier moisturizer at night while you are sleeping, allowing it to absorb throughout the night.

The hydration step of your beauty routine cannot be overemphasized- when your skin is well hydrated, it will appear smoother, suppler, and fine lines and wrinkles will be much less prominent.

Protect from Sunlight and Eat a Balanced Diet

Protect

As mentioned, environmental factors play a large role in aging of the skin, particularly exposure to sunlight. Protecting your skin from the ravaging effects of sunlight is crucial to caring for mature skin. Mature skin that is exposed to sunlight will not only burn easily due to loss of subcutaneous fat under the skin, but may also develop unsightly age spots. Wrinkles are created and worsened by sunlight exposure. Therefore, protecting aging skin with a potent sunscreen is important.

Choose a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, depending on your skin and environment. If you live in a southern climate, you may want to choose a higher SPF. Don’t forget your lips- wear a lip balm that will both moisturize your lips and protect them from sun exposure. Wear hats when outdoors to avoid direct sunlight on your face. It is also a good idea to avoid tanning outdoors or the use of tanning beds, which not only accelerate aging but can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Eat a Balanced Diet

eating a healthy; balanced diet can help you maintain the appearance of your skin. Protein can help your body rebuild itself, including your skin, while fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants known to nourish the skin. Some foods that you should include in your diet include:

•    Low fat dairy products (good source of vitamin A)

Eat a balanced diet

•    Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries (good sources of antioxidants)

•    Salmon, walnuts and flaxseed (good sources of essential fatty acids)

•    Whole wheat breads, tuna, turkey and brazil nuts (good sources of selenium)

Following the above steps won’t miraculously take ten years off your age, but you will notice that your skin appears healthier, moister and suppler. Fine lines and wrinkles won’t go away, but they will be less noticeable. Most importantly, you will be healthier on the inside as well!

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