Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to look young forever? No one likes the idea of wrinkling, sagging skin riddled with age spots. We’d rather be beautiful for as long as we possibly can.
And that’s a lot longer than you might think… if you take good care of your skin.
When it comes to premature skin aging, there are two big culprits—overexposure to the sun and smoking. Now I absolutely recommend that you avoid smoking or take steps to stop if you do smoke. (My colleague, Dr. Rosenberg shared some ideas about how to quit smoking just a couple of weeks ago.)
Smoking damages the collagen that supports the skin and keeps it smooth. The more your skin is exposed to cigarette smoke, the more prone it is to wrinkle and look loose. Cigarette smoke also can make your skin look yellow and leathery.
When it comes to sun exposure, the solution is almost as straightforward. First let me state that some sun exposure is healthy and won’t damage your skin. The sun is a great source of vitamin D, which promotes good overall health, including healthy skin. But you should never stay out in the sun long enough to let your skin burn—about 10 to 15 minutes is all you need to get a good dose of vitamin D. After that, put on some sunscreen.
I recommend a sunscreen that uses zinc oxide as its active ingredient. It’s the safest kind for your skin.
How to Repair Damaged Skin
The appearance of your skin depends largely on the collagen cells that support it. When these cellular structures start to break down, wrinkles begin to form. The best way to reverse the damage is to take a two-tiered approach.
First, take care of your skin from the inside out. Vitamin C is one of the most important components of collagen production. Begin taking care of your skin by taking one gram of vitamin C each day. Also, choose foods that don’t cause an inflammatory response. The best guideline to use for this is to remember that processed foods cause inflammation… fresh foods don’t. Eat more fresh foods for healthier, younger looking skin.
Next, take care of your skin from the outside in. Use a daily body moisturizer. Personally, I favor natural aloe vera. It moisturizes without clogging pores and helps your skin to stay strong and healthy. Lotions that contain vitamin C and E are also good.
Finally, it’s optional, but consider treating yourself to special skin treatments now and again. A massage or facial are good ways to baby your skin and can stimulate collagen production.
By taking good care of your skin, both inside and out, you can keep yourself looking young, healthy, and beautiful for years and years to come.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Photo Credit: antiaging.com.au