Skin aging is not only a concern many people encounter, but it also occurs at a rapid rate after the age of 30. Skin problems caused by sun exposure especially on face are very common and so there is need to understand how exactly skin ages. One thing that can be said about aging skin or any other organ for that matter is that it is associated with one or more factors that can either speed up or slow down the process.
Skin aging is actually a result of oxidative stress brought about by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ultraviolet R (UVR) radiation damages skin cells further leading to wrinkles, lines, dark spots and even cancers if prolonged exposure occurs over time. It has been found that sunscreens help to combat the damaging effects of UVR for this makes your skin more resistant. Unfortunately, our bodies were not made to handle the kind of environment we live in presently (polluted air, food grown with chemicals and daily life stressors) which increase aging process.
Another factor that contributes to skin damage is free radical damage. It is well known that human body is made up of trillions of cells which are in constant interaction with each other to keep the system well oiled. Communication within the cells are maintained through chemical messengers called ‘free radicals’. These free radicals, however, can affect neighboring cells and create problems if their numbers get out of control. As a result, you will observe that skin cells can’t do their jobs properly and this leads to wrinkles and loss of elasticity.
Free radicals damage the outer layer (epidermis) and also interact with other cells (collagen and elastin). Collagen is a protein found in your skin which provides support structure as well as strength whereas elastin is another protein which helps the skin to snap back into place after stretching.
What can you do to prevent free radical damage? Unfortunately, once they are formed within your system, there isn’t much you could do except for adding more antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants simply help neutralize free radicals and their effect on collagen which slows down skin aging process.
Some of the best dietary sources of antioxidants are berries, cocoa powder, green tea and tomato sauce. You should also consider taking antioxidant supplements from a reputable company as this will help you to strengthen your body’s collagen and elastin which can slow down skin aging (supplements like resveratrol and anthocyanin).
There is also strong evidence that antioxidants like catechins, curcumin and resveratrol have anti-inflammatory effect which can help reduce wrinkles, dark spots and even skin cancer. They accomplish this by inhibiting the enzymes called matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) which break down collagen – a process responsible for wrinkles, especially around the eyes.
Lastly, you should know that stress is also a big factor of skin aging. Even though there are no visible signs of your being under stress, it can trigger another form of oxidation which is linked with age spots and fine lines on the face. Learn to relax more by exercising or meditating. You could also try getting a massage from time to time or using anti-aging products that contains lavender and other essential oils.
In closing, the process of aging cannot be stopped but it can be slowed down by striving to live a healthier lifestyle filled with antioxidants which will help you maintain good skin health for more years to come.