Whenever a new year starts, it’s always a reminder that time is constantly marching forward. If you’re like many of my patients, though, you’re looking for a way to turn back the clock on the way your skin looks. And, happily, you can limit some of the damage of time to your skin just by limiting, or cutting out 5 of the worst skin agers. Let me tell you what to do about them.
For Younger Looking Skin, Limit These 5 Things
Even though you’re getting older, you don’t want your skin to show it so dramatically. A little graceful signs of aging are acceptable to most people. But, when you look in the mirror and start to see a tired “old” looking you, you want to do something to improve your looks.
So, you try getting more sleep, more skin healthy nutrition, more water and more exercise. And those are all good things to add to make your skin appear healthier and younger. But, there are also several things you want to subtract from your life that can really age your skin. In fact, they are the 5 top skin agers. Let’s go over them…
1. Caffeine. Okay, so even I love my morning coffee and wouldn’t trade it. But, it can be one of your skin’s worst enemies if you don’t counter its effects. You see, caffeine can be very drying to your skin. Why? Because it makes you urinate more and you can become dehydrated. I can take one look at a patient’s facial skin and know if they’re dehydrated. The tell-tale signs are most visible on forehead skin as well as the skin around the eyes. Your forehead skin can start to “tent” when you’re dehydrated. The skin over your eyebrows starts to become a little more slack. In addition, the laugh lines around your eyes can deepen.
But, guess what? All it takes is a few glasses of water to decrease this problem. Many adults over 50 usually go around in a somewhat chronic state of dehydration. They simply don’t drink enough water. And if you drink coffee or tea throughout the day, you’re not replacing the water you’re losing through urination. Limit your caffeine to maybe the morning and evening and be sure to drink more water. In a few short weeks, you’ll see a real improvement in your facial tone with less sagging and wrinkling.
2. Alcohol. Alcohol is kind of a double-whammy skin wrecker. Now, a few glasses of wine, or beer, or mixed drinks per week are not so terrible for your skin. But, if you start to drink more than that, it also dehydrates you, just like caffeine. If you’re going to drink alcohol, drink 8 ounces of water for every 8 ounces of alcohol you consume.
Alcohol also is metabolized as a pure sugar in your body. It then converts to a destructive acid which can both cause inflammation and break down collagen in your skin. That collagen is the support system on which your skin rests. When collagen breaks down, your skin has nothing to rest smoothly on. Furrows and wrinkles start developing. So, decrease the amount of alcohol you drink per week. And be sure to drink extra water and take some extra Vitamin C to counter inflammation and collagen loss.
3. Refined sugar. As I mentioned above in Alcohol, sugar, especially refined, gets metabolized as an acid that can create collagen breakdown and inflammation. Too much refined sugar in your diet can really wreak havoc on your facial skin causing it to age prematurely.
4. Salt. Like alcohol and caffeine, too much salt dehydrates you as well. But even though you’re dehydrated, your facial skin, especially under and around your eyes, will actually swell up. Your body attempts to conserve all the fluid it has when you’ve eaten too much salt so it collects in your tissues. Undereye bags and a sallow skin color tells you that you’re eating too much salt and not drinking enough water to flush it out.
5. Artificial Sweeteners. These man-made sweeteners, like Splenda, Equal, Sweet N Low, also are metabolized in your body as an acid. Like too much refined sugar, these chemical sweeteners also create a lot of inflammation and result in collagen breakdown in your skin. They are essentially chemical toxins. If you want to use sweeteners, switch to Stevia or use a little honey.
Minimizing, or omitting, these 5 top skin agers can have you looking younger, healthier, more wide awake in a few short weeks. Of course, you’ll want to not smoke, or bake in the sun either. You’ll be surprised at the youthifying effect that just drinking more water can have on your face. Decreasing salt, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners can release the puffiness around your eyes, decrease inflammation, brighten up your skin tone and improve firmness. You might not be able to turn back the hands of time, but you can limit its aging effect on your skin.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
The Worst Foods For Skin, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/worst-foods-for-skin_n_4310771.html
Skincare Tips: The 5 Worst Things You Can Do To Your Skin, http://muktiorganicskincare.com/skincare-tips-5-worst-things-for-skin/