Have you recently been to a gathering with your ex-college mates who had graduated 10 to 20 years ago, looked around and wondered how some of them seemed to be immune to such an inevitable process in life like… aging? Some looked almost exactly the same as you had remembered their faces 20 years ago while others have started to grow fine lines all over the wrong places. No pun intended.
Healthy cells are the key to a healthy body and healthy skin. How then do you maintain the health of your skin cells? Before we answer the question, we must first take into account some factors that may cause your skin cells to degenerate faster than what’s deemed normal.
You may be aware of the terms “free radicals” and “antioxidants”. You’ve probably came across these two terms in one of your local newspaper ads selling beauty products. What are they and what effects do they have on your skin cells?
Free radicals are harmful to your cells and antioxidants vice versa. Free radicals are found everywhere in our environment caused by pollution, sunlight, our diet, and even emotional stress. When free radicals come into contact with your skin cells, they break down the collagen that’s responsible for the elasticity and firmness of your skin, resulting in your skin getting thinner and wrinkled. If you do not intervene, your skin will continue to lose more of its collagen and become weaker and weaker, to the point of sagging. Imagine having saggy skin before you turn 40… Not a very pretty sight.
So here comes antioxidants to the rescue. What antioxidants essentially do is they combat the free radicals by donating electrons to them – a little scientific here, but you get the idea. High levels of antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, especially in fruits that are rich in Vitamin C. That doesn’t mean you should start eating 10 servings of salads and oranges a day. There are other factors that play a part in slowing down the aging process as well such as sleeping early, living a stress-free lifestyle, and regular exercise.
Let’s take a look at a couple of things you can do to prevent premature aging and wrinkles:
Maintain a healthy diet
You are what you eat. So eat healthily and you’ll live healthily. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Having too much of meat especially oily and fatty fried food in your diet will increase the production of free radicals in your body. A diet of fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of lean meat however, will boost the antioxidants levels in your body.
Eat foods that contain amino acids
Amino acids are known to merge themselves together to form collagen. Two of these essential amino acids are Threonine and Proline. Foods that contain these amino acids are soybeans, eggs, peanuts, asparagus, cabbage, cheese, beef, and chicken.
Exercise regularly, but moderately
Exercise will always be good for you, until you overdo it. While exercising moderately can encourage your body’s own capability of producing antioxidants, overexercising can lead to metabolic acidosis which accelerates free radical damage to your cell walls. So the next time you’re planning on exercising, even if you’re dying to lose those pounds, know your body’s limits and don’t overexert.
Avoid basking in the sun
While exposing yourself to sunlight has certain health benefits such as synthesizing Vitamin D from your skin in response to sunlight exposure, too much of it can damage the collagen and elastic tissue in your skin and also result in ugly dark spots, freckles, and wrinkles. If you’re planning on tanning, it would be advisable to skip it, unless of course you want to look lightyears ahead of your actual age.
Sleep early, and well
If you’re losing sleep, chances are the people around you will be well aware of it and even point that out to you. Lack of sleep has a tremendous effect on aging and contributes to a whole lot of other problems including puffy eyes, increased levels of stress, collagen breakdown, and imbalance of hormones. Improving your sleep patterns and sleep quality will have an astounding effect in maintaining your youth.
Keep your skin moisturized
Washing your face regularly is necessary in keeping the oil under control but washing your face too frequently will cause your face to produce more oil than normal, resulting in pimple growth and acne. While the oil production from your face is under control, you’ll want keep it moisturized as well. Dry skin over a long periods will cause your skin to wrinkle. So find a reliable brand of moisturizer and keep your skin moisturized if you want those wrinkles to stay away.