Why Does Skin Age? Part II: 11 Tips to Slow Aging

Skin aging is caused by intrinsic (genetic) factors and extrinsic (environment and lifestyle) factors. Here are 11 tips to slow aging.

Grandmother & Granddaughter

In my last post I explained that skin ages due to both intrinsic (genetic) factors and extrinsic (environment and lifestyle) factors. Today I’m sharing 11 tips to slow aging in your skin. Notice I didn’t say “stop” aging. That can’t be done. Granddaughters turn into grandmothers. For now, anyway.

  1. Avoid the sun. No single factor is more important to prevent aging than avoiding excess sun exposure. Ultraviolet light breaks down the elastin and collagen in your skin, causing brown discoloration, thinning of the skin, and ultimately wrinkles. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on your face and hands every day.
  2. Stop smoking. Smoking deprives your skin of oxygen, releases damaging oxidizing free radicals and causes wrinkles, dullness, and sallowness. It is a sure contributor to aging. Find a way to quit this summer.
  3. Lose weight. Gaining weight causes excess heavy fat to develop on your face. This will stretch your skin and pull down your cheeks and jowels, aging your face. Have you ever said that someone who has lost a lot of weight looks a lot younger? There is a reason why.
  4. Go low-glycemic. A low-glycemic diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is healthy for your body and your skin. Research has shown that sugary or high glycemic carbohydrate foods can contribute to aging.
  5. Eat less. We know that animals who adhere to a calorie restricted diet age much more slowly than those on a normal diet. Eating 1/3 fewer calories is difficult but would be likely to slow all aging, including your skin.
  6. Control your stress. Chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can damage your organs including your skin. Meditate, exercise, travel, keep a journal. Do whatever it takes to reduce the stress pounding on you.
  7. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your face or on your side causes wrinkles overnight. The weight of your head on your pillow can also limit the blood flow, depriving your skin of blood and oxygen overnight. Night after night this can lead to permanent wrinkles. Try to train yourself to sleep on your back.
  8. Cut back on alcohol. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration and can lead to damage of your skin over time. Although it does not cause rosacea, it can lead to unsightly red blood vessels on your face that quickly age you.
  9. Wear make-up appropriately. Wearing too much makeup can actually harm your skin by clogging pores and causing excess dryness. Thick foundations and shimmery makeup make you look much older especially if it cracks or settles into existing fine lines and wrinkles. As you age, a lighter touch and natural shades are most flattering.
  10. Moisturize. Your skin is under constant assault from the elements — wind rain, humidity, hot, dry weather and arctic air all damage your skin leading to wrinkles and dullness. Fight back by applying a facial moisturizer every day to protect your skin. Moisturizers also plump up skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines.
  11. Stop squinting. Whether you’re squinting to avoid the sun or to see your computer monitor, repeatedly contracting your eye muscles will cause permanent wrinkles over time. Wear dark sun glasses every day, and be sure there’s no glare on your computer screen at work or at home.

Photo credit: FCC, Jenny818

Behold, The Copper Pillow

Copper is beautiful, but can copper make you beautiful?

We have a 10,000-year-long history with copper. We’ve used it to make jewelry, tools, plumbing, wiring, roofing, coins, cookware, and even the Statue of Liberty. Now we’re using copper to make pillows.

Why? Why make a copper pillow? Two reasons:

First, copper is antimicrobial. Putting copper in fabrics or on surfaces has been shown to reduce bacteria. If your partner is a serious night drooler and you’re afraid that the pillows might get accidentally switched, then a copper pillow might reduce your exposure to some of his (yes, I’m assuming here) germs.

Second, copper induces collagen production and promotes healing. The idea is that if you sleep on a copper pillow some of the copper will absorb into your skin, induce collagen, and smooth your wrinkles; it’s also supposed to have other anti-aging effects.

Published company data showed that wrinkles improved after 2 weeks of sleeping on copper pillows. This is interesting, but it would be helpful to see the results replicated outside of the company. Wrinkles are caused by loss of tissue under the skin, fragmenting of collagen, loss of elastin, and muscle activity (i.e., smiling, talking, etc.).  It’s difficult to understand how sleeping on copper (or gold or silk) would have a significant impact, especially in just a few weeks. If additional studies support a cosmetic benefit, it might be worth the $40.

For now, you might want to simply mark your pillows “His” and “Hers” and save the money for a good copper peptide cream instead.

Has anyone used copper pillows? What was your experience?

Photo: Annia316