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anti-aging tipsAging (and taxes!) is just a fact of life that’s out of our control. The good news?

You can control how you deal with it. Sure, there’s no escaping getting older but there are anti-aging techniques that can help you..

Do it gracefully and beautifully.

To boot, with every new candle on your birthday cake, it symbolizes more life experience and wisdom, which equates to self-confidence. And those are all amazing traits that contribute to a person’s attractiveness.

Speaking of one of the world’s most attractive people… “I’m baffled that anyone might not think women get more beautiful as they get older. Confidence comes with age, and looking beautiful comes from the confidence someone has in themselves,” Kate Winslet wisely said in an interview with Porter Magazine.

But for those concerned about ways to combat signs of aging, there are a lot of things you can to do to help slow the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.

But what’s with those people who never seem to age? If you’ve ever been to your high school reunion, there’s always a few that look exactly like they did years ago… or close to it!

Have you ever wondered what’s going on?

It’s not sorcery. However, it could be science.

Harvard Medical School conducted a study that suggests some people look younger than their age because of a vital component called the “younger gene.” The study was led by Dr. Alexa Kimball, a Harvard dermatology professor. Her research suggests that the genetic recipe for youthful skin, the “younger gene,” is present in around 10 percent of white Americans and around 20 percent of black Americans.1 So yes, you can credit good genes with aging gracefully.

But, all is not lost if you don’t have this fountain of youth genetic make-up…

Whether you have the ‘younger gene’ or not, here are six more ways to be part of the, “Wow, you never age!” club:

  1.  Age-Defying Antioxidants

anti aging tipsAs we grow older, subtle changes happen in the body. Although we may feel some of those signs of aging, there are a lot of things shifting we can’t see. However, what we can see usually involves the skin. I’m talking about those dreaded fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, bags under the eye, sagging skin and more.

And one of the reasons these unwanted signs of aging happen is the decrease of natural antioxidants in our body.

According to one study of over 200 women of different ethnicities, this decline begins in the early 20s. Based on this study, it would appear that the time to start using beauty products containing antioxidants is in your 20s – before many visible signs of aging begin to show.2

So, why are these such a big deal in helping you look younger than your age?

Antioxidants have the ability to stabilize or deactivate free radicals before they attack cells. When it comes to skincare, you can never go wrong with antioxidants, as they can help protect your skin from getting damaged – especially when exposed to sunlight.3

Let’s discuss antioxidants – the gatekeepers of healthy skin.

Vitamin C Age gracefullyVitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, especially fruits and vegetables. It is also available as a dietary supplement. This vitamin plays several essential roles in the human body. Vitamin C can help with:

  • Biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters
  • Metabolism of protein
  • Regeneration of antioxidants
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Absorption of iron4

Vitamin C is also required for the synthesis of collagen and biosynthesis of certain hormones.5

Collagen is essential in keeping the skin, and the connective tissues of the body, firm and supple. Collagen is a protein made up of amino acids, including:

  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Arginine

It also plays an important role in the renewal of skin cells, and is vital for skin elasticity.6

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is considered a key vitamin for strong immunity, healthy skin, and healthy eyes. Just like vitamin C, it is present in some foods and available as a dietary supplement. This vitamin has long been considered a popular antioxidant.7

Vitamin E acts as something called a peroxyl radical scavenger. It inhibits the production of free radicals that can damage the tissues.

Here comes a cool science moment.

The human body is, partly, made up of atoms. Each of these atoms needs to have an even number of electrons. If an atom in the body has an uneven number of electrons, it will get another electron from another atom to become stable. When your body is exposed to outside factors, like sun exposure, it can produce free radicals. These free radicals are atoms that have an uneven number of electrons. Moreover, when produced in your body, they can ‘’steal” some electrons from the healthy cells. This sets off a chain reaction, with cells robbing electrons from others cells, and so on. Eventually, this causes damage to the body and the skin.8

Vitamin A

Beta-carotene is a brightly-colored, red-orange pigment that can be found in fruits and vegetables, especially carrots. It is a carotenoid, and it has antioxidant properties that can protect the skin from damage. Beta-carotene is also converted by the body into vitamin A – another vitamin, which is essential for healthy skin.

Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis, where the collagen and elastin are, reducing the chances of having visible fine lines and wrinkles. Also, it helps stimulate the blood vessels, thereby increasing the blood flow to the surface of the skin. Vitamin A has also been known to increase the deposition of collagen, causing the normal aging breakdown of the collagen and elastin to slow down.9

To ensure you’re getting enough antioxidants to help you stay looking young, just remember the “ACE” rule. Supplement with Vitamin A, C and E. Plus, liberally use products with antioxidants as well. Antioxidant serums are a great way to help slow the appearance of aging as well.

  1. Exercise

As we age, our body functions change. These changes occur on a cellular level, affecting how our organs normally work. This can result in lower energy. And in turn, may lead to reducing exercise or even stopping exercise all together.

However, a sedentary lifestyle can make you age faster. In recent studies, regular exercise was linked to a better quality of life. And besides improving the way your body looks on the outside, several studies are showing how it improves your insides as well by keeping your cells young.11

This makes sense. Exercise promotes overall blood circulation. With proper blood circulation, all the nutrients will be properly distributed all throughout the body, including the skin.

And another study found that exercising regularly could also extend a person’s life by up to five years –  and slow the rate of aging.10

Exercise also boosts oxygen to the skin. One of the benefits of having enough oxygen in the skin is that its anti-inflammatory properties help in the stimulation of collagen production.11

Age gracefully

  1. Eating Healthy & Reducing Sugar

Eating a nutrient-rich diet helps your skin look more radiant and youthful. I’m sure you’re well aware fruits and vegetables are healthy sources of nutrients. Vegetables, in particular, are a major source of essential nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamins A, E, and C.12 And you can find natural antioxidants in the foods you eat every day, such as blueberries, walnuts and even pinto beans. Vitamin A (beta-carotene), Vitamin C, and Vitamin E—or “ACE” for short—are great sources of antioxidants. As we’ve established, vitamins A, C, and E play an important role in giving our skin that youthful glow.  

Plus, reducing sugar is great for maintaining weight, but did you also know it’s a powerful anti-aging trick? Recent studies link premature aging of skin to eating too much sugar. How so? Well, when you eat sugar, your body produces AGEs (advanced glycation end products) that result in cellulite, wrinkles and age spots. It’s hard to completely take it out of your diet completely. However, a pretty painless way to reduce sugar is by cutting sugar-loaded drinks like smoothies, juices and sodas.

  1. Avoid Smoking & Secondhand Smoke

There is little doubt that smoking is incredibly harmful to the body. It can damage nearly every organ, including the skin. In fact, it speeds up the skin aging process. Smoking has been associated with premature skin aging, and a delay of wound healing. In 1970, studies showed cigarette smoking was more likely to promote premature facial wrinkling than exposure to sunlight.13

If you are a smoker, stop. And if you live with someone that is, try not to be around when they smoke. If you need additional motivation, consider these ways cigarette can wreak havoc on your skin:

  • Burning of the skin due to the direct heat from the cigarette
  • Elastic fibers of the skin to undergo changes due to some of the chemicals present in cigarettes, like nicotine, benzene, arsenic, acetic acid, ammonia, and much more
  • Vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of the blood vessels, which results in the decrease of blood supply to the skin, thereby causing a change in the skin’s elastic fibers and a loss of collagen
  • Vitamin A level depletion and loss of skin moisture14

Rarely is it ever this simple, but in this case, it is: Stop smoking and look younger.

  1. Sufficient Sleep

Lack of sleep can age the skin because the body releases more cortisol, the primary stress hormone. When there is an excess amount of cortisol, it will cause the skin collagen to breakdown.15

Getting enough rest and sleep can protect our overall health, but how can it make you look younger? When you sleep, you allow your body to regenerate, recharge, and refuel, readying it  for the next day. According to Dr. Kevin Pinski, a dermatologist at Pinski Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, during deep sleep, the body produces great amounts of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones boost the natural repair mechanisms of the skin.16

  1. Self-Actualization and Happiness

Self-actualization is a psychological term that refers to various realizations and fulfillment of potentials in life. As we grow older, we naturally begin to reach the stage of self-actualization. One astute writer described it this way: “Self-actualization represents the process of becoming more of who you already are.” You are at the top of your game. You are completely in control of your life, and your creativity. You are living a life of purpose, and to its full potential, essentially.17Age gracefully

Not surprisingly, the concept of self-actualization is linked to happiness. According to well-known psychologist Abraham Maslow, happiness comes from satisfying a hierarchy of needs in an organized and orderly manner. Achieving self-actualization is part of the process.18

Happiness makes you look younger because when you are happy, your emotions are positive.19 This may lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.20 It also helps to alleviate stress, which may take a toll on your overall well-being (including your appearance).21

Getting the Results of the Younger Gene

When it comes to looking younger, there are things we can’t control… AND things we can! Sure, some seem like they never age with seemingly little effort. Lucky them. For the rest of us who weren’t blessed with the “youth gene,” there are plenty of things we can do to appear more youthful. We can utilize antioxidants in our skincare (and in our food). We can make sure we are living a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, getting enough shuteye, pursuing things that bring happiness and practicing gratitude.

Here’s to you and aging beautifully!

Sincerely,

Dr. Layke

Sources
1Ranosa T. Researchers Find Genes That Can Make You Look Younger By 10 Years: Fountain Of Youth Within Humans?. Tech Times. 2015. Accessed September 28, 2016.

2Gold G. This Is the Age When You Start to Visibly Look Older. Marie Claire. 2015. Accessed September 28, 2016.

3Rutland S. How do antioxidants affect the skin?. HowStuffWorks. 2009.  Accessed September 28, 2016.

4Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C. Odsodnihgov. 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.

5HE L. New developments and novel therapeutic perspectives for vitamin C. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.

6Cashin-Garbutt A. What is Collagen?. News-Medicalnet. 2011. Accessed September 28, 2016.

7Theobald M. Strengthen Your Immune System. EverydayHealthcom. 2014. Accessed September 29, 2016.

8Antioxidants and Free radicals. Riceedu. 2016.  Accessed September 28, 2016.

9Vitamin A. Linus Pauling Institute. 2014.  Accessed September 28, 2016.

10Reynolds G. Phys Ed: How Exercising Keeps Your Cells Young. Well. 2010. Accessed September 28, 2016.

11Research says regular exercise may slow aging process in humans. Amssmorg. 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.

12Nutrients and health benefits. Choose MyPlate. 2015.  Accessed September 29, 2016.

13Health Benefits of Vegetables: Vitamins, Nutrients, Fiber. HealthyEatingorg. 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.

14Simpkin S. Smoking and its effects on the skin | DermNet New Zealand.Dermnetnzorg. 2010. Accessed September 28, 2016.

15Simpkin S. Smoking and its effects on the skin | DermNet New Zealand.Dermnetnzorg. 2010. Accessed September 28, 2016.

16Lifestyle Changes That Make You Look Younger. Healthcom. 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.

17Migala J. 14 Lifestyle Changes That Make You Look Younger. Healthcom. 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.

18Weaver R. Understanding the Journey of Self-Actualization. GoodTherapyorg Therapy Blog. 2012.  Accessed September 28, 2016.

19Joseph S. What is Self-Actualization?. Psychology Today. 2016.  Accessed September 28, 2016.

20Zurich E. Happiness lowers blood pressure. ScienceDaily. 2013.  Accessed September 28, 2016.

21Martinez-Conde S. Happier and Younger (Looking). Scientific American Blog Network. 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.

About the Author

Dr. John Layke

Dr. John Layke grew up in Milwaukee, WI, where he knew from a young age that he wanted to practice medicine. After completing his undergraduate degree at Marquette University, Dr. Layke went on to attend medical school at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and trained in general surgery at the University of Illinois Metropolitan Group Hospitals in Chicago.