7 Ways to Erase Wrinkles, Sagging Skin and Fine Lines Naturally
By Karen Azeez
It seems like every magazine features the new cream, lotion or serum that’s touted to be the next “superstar for healthy skin.” Women will throw down a week’s wages for the promise of banishing fine lines and wrinkles – and are often sadly disappointed.
But in reality, true beauty comes from within. How we live our lives and what we eat can have enormous effects on our outward appearances. By ditching a couple of nasty habits and adding in some healthier ones, you can watch your skin clear, leaving a glowing, smoother complexion and even reverse signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sagging.
But first, it’s important to understand WHY our skin ages like it does, which I am going to explain to you here.
Skin Care 101: Where Did These Wrinkles Come From?
As we age, collagen and elastin – the substances that keep skin firm and elastic – gradually decrease. Without this underlying structure, skin sags, creases form and wrinkles begin to show. How quickly your skin shows signs of aging is largely determined by genetics, but the process accelerates as a result of oxidation – a chemical process during which unstable molecules called free radicals steal electrons from healthy cells. On the skin, oxidative stress can appear as wrinkling, thickening, discoloration and decreased elasticity.
So, the first way to prevent – and begin to reverse skin aging – is by ditching two very unhealthy habits that are the major sources of oxidation.
1. Quit Smoking – Cigarette smoke fills your body with free radicals. Smoking also impairs blood flow to your skin, starving the cells of nutrition and oxygen. It also damages underlying collagen and elastin and keeps your skin from its natural renewal process.
2. Limit Sun Exposure – Sunlight, as pleasant as it is, is a form of radiation – Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, to be more specific. UV radiation not only causes free radical damage, it can also cause cells to mutate and potentially turn cancerous. So, excessive sun exposure is a triple threat: sunburn in the short run, wrinkles in the long run and the possibility of skin cancer to boot. Vitamin D is critical for our health though, so just be sure you are enjoying the sin responsibly.
Now the good news… Thankfully, there are simple ways to literally undo years of damage – sometimes in days. The key is adopting these five healthy habits:
1. Get Your Beauty Sleep – Getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night allows the skin to heal, repair and build collagen. Cheating ourselves of proper, sound sleep not only cuts short this vital process, but also wreaks havoc on our complexion, eventually leading to dark circles, puffy eyes and an uneven skin tone.
2. Drink Lots Of Water – It is so basic, but its importance can’t be understated: Hydration is crucial for skin’s health and beauty. Water helps your body flush away toxins and allows the smooth flow of nutrients into the cells. Well-hydrated cells are plump and full, which means that your skin will look firmer, plumper (in a good way) and clearer. Lack of hydration will cause your skin to be dry, tight, flaky, less resilient and more prone to wrinkling. The average hydration requirement for women is approximately ½ ounce of water per pound of weight (meaning a 130 pound woman should be drinking 65 oz of water/day). For bonus points, use a humidifier in your bedroom – especially during the winter or in dryer climates.
3. Eat Your Vitamins And Minerals – Antioxidants defend against – and in many cases, repair – oxidation from environmental factors like UV exposure, smoking, illness and aging. Therefore, a diet rich in antioxidants is your best strategy for younger skin. Some examples:
- Vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, kiwis and brussel sprouts) is a key factor in collagen production and protects cells from free radical damage.
- Vitamin E (peanuts, pine nuts, olive oil, avocado, broccoli and mangoes) helps protect cell membranes and guards against UV radiation damage.
- Beta carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, butternut squash, spinach and kale) aids in the growth and repair of body tissues and protects against sun damage.
- Selenium (Brazil nuts, turkey and tuna) protects skin quality and elasticity and may prevent skin cancer too.
4. Eat Your Healthy Fats – Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain cell membranes so that they are effective barriers, allowing water and nutrients in and keeping toxins out. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can protect skin against sun damage. If the idea of 2-3 servings of fish a week isn’t tempting, this super salmon recipe might make you a fan. Or try versatile pantry staples like chia and flax seeds, which are also good sources of omega-3’s.
5. Exercise – Get at least 20 minutes of cardio a day and don’t forget strength training 2-3 times a week. This increases blood flow that carries nutrients to the skin cells. It also helps create muscles – even in the skin – that lead to firmer, younger looking skin.
The best way be beautiful skin is by living well. Practicing self-care each day by managing stress, getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising and staying hydrated are the most effective ways to turn back the hands of time to help you look and feel your best. So the next time you’re searching for the newest “miracle elixir” for your skin, don’t rush to the cosmetics counter; start by looking in your refrigerator instead.
Health Coach, Wellness Expert and Freelance Writer
at Well Beings
Karen Azeez is a health coach, wellness expert and freelance writer. Karen helps busy men and women incorporate simple lifestyle changes into their daily routine to address issues such as weight gain, insomnia, stress and digestion problems. Karen enjoys cooking healthy meals, hiking with her husband and border collie and watching way too many TV shows about wedding dress shopping.
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