What is the best anti aging skin care regimen?
Most people think about lotions and potions when they think about creating the best anti aging skin care regimen for themselves. However, although the right “outside” meaning applied to the skin-products are very important, it is just as important that you “take care of your insides.” I call this “inside out” rather than “outside in” skin care and if you don’t do “this stuff” you are short changing yourself from a health and beauty standpoint. You will look younger by following my recommendations in the article about choosing the best anti aging skin care products but you will look younger by a good 50% more if you start with your health habits. Since I know you want to “get to the good stuff” I’ll get through this and then outline your basic skin care regime which will be more fully explained in the next article.
How to change the habits that age your skin
Diet and exercise
Exercise is absolutely essential to just about all aspects of our health, as well as regulating circulation and the flow of oxygen to skin cells. However, too much exercise can actually create free radicals which then cause damage. I know this is shocking news to most of you but studies have shown excessive exercise to cause oxidative stress created by free radicals.
During strenuous exercise we produce significantly higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), exceeding our body’s natural antioxidant defenses. Our bodies begin to pull antioxidants from tissue stores, depleting the body’s reserve of antioxidants. Over time damage occurs to our cells and tissues.
However I do NOT suggest that you alter your exercise routine and bravo if you have a great routine in place. All you need to do is to counteract the oxidative stress, or production of free radicals.
Here is the simple explanation and all you need to remember:
Oxidative stress is created or made worse by eating genetically modified foods as well as exposure to pollution, stress and toxins. In other words, the more non-GMO fruits and veggies you eat, the lower your oxidative stress levels tend to be. If you cannot eat the proper amount (most people can’t, not even me!), there are natural powdered supplements which can do the job nicely. Of course we have them right here just for you!
And the less oxidative stress you have, the healthier you are and the better your skin will “behave” and appear. This could have been put with the “food” section but since I just scared you exercisers to death I thought I’d give you the fix right now!
Now for those of you, who are NOT exercising, know that there is a huge correlation between diseases, aging and visible skin aging. Think about what happens when you exercise-you “flush” in the face-that’s increased blood flow and nourishment for your skin. Get medical clearance if needed but then start some sort of program you can stick to for all sorts of reasons. You know this already – I’m just giving you a gentle reminder.
Eat Right: Healthy Skin Starts with Healthy Eating
You really are what you eat. Every cell in your body is made from the foods you eat, so why not feed your body high-quality, nutritious foods for best results? After all, your diet has a major impact on the overall health of your body, inside and out. If you need motivation to eat more fruits and vegetables, caring about your appearance may just be the push you need to fill your plate with more plant foods.
We’ve discussed oxidative stress and now let me briefly describe to you the other two things you must learn to avoid….foods which cause inflammation or “glycation.”
This is often CAUSED by:
- Being overweight
- Poor eating habits and eating inflammatory foods. Inflammatory eating speeds the aging process in all cells including skin cells. (More on skin inflammation specifically to come.) To avoid eating inflammatory foods there are some basic rules. What you eat or don’t eat is a key factor in reducing inflammation in your body. For instance, processed foods, junk food and fast food trigger inflammation. Something else that many people do not realize is that sugar is known to damage DNA, and that DNA damage leads to inflammation.
So why are processed foods so bad? Well here is something most of the food companies do not want you to know… processed foods are loaded with chemicals, pesticides, food dyes and colors, artificial ingredients and other harmful compounds. These ingredients cause inflammation. Other inflammatory foods include starches, sugar, fast foods and non-sprouted grains.
Glycation – a little known issue
The effects of glycation at the cellular level may result in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, stiffness, and accelerated aging of the skin. So what is glycation? It means having a blood sugar that is too high and usually associated with the issues mentioned above. I don’t mean blood sugar which is diabetic type high, just higher than about 80-85 mg/dl.
It is associated with being overweight and eating an inflammatory diet. It can be controlled with supplements such as chromium nicotinate, alpha lipoic acid and quercetin, along with weight normalization and non-inflammatory eating.
So are there foods to eat besides the usual “eat your fruits and vegetables”?
A healthful diet rich in antioxidants, in general with supplementation needed by most is a must. Then there are indeed specific foods (to always get non-GMO and organic) to help this process:
- Vitamin A – carrots, spinach, pumpkin, kale and cantaloupe.
- Vitamin C – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, guava, camu camu, and citrus.
- Vitamin E – walnut oil, wheat germ oil, olive oil, oats, tomatoes, seeds and nuts.
- Nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, selenium and zinc are abundant in fresh produce.
- Essential fatty acids, such as those found in flaxseed and fatty fish, help your skin function properly and aid in tissue repair.
- Polyphenols – dark chocolate, berries, tea, walnuts, and pomegranates.
- Bioflavonoids – berries, onions, citrus, tea, red wine, dark chocolate and sea buckthorn.
Sunscreen is a must if you spend more than 10 minutes outdoors, no matter what the climate. Those UV rays “get through” even if it’s not visibly sunny. Don’t worry about Vitamin D-everyone needs supplementation, anyway!
Dermatologists and Anti-aging doctors recommend applying SPF 15 (or greater) sunscreen every day, even in the winter. For maximum anti-aging benefits, make sure to apply sunscreen to your ears, neck, décolletage and hands, too. Since I live in Florida and have seen tourists turn red as beets I personally recommend SPF #30 and do check that it is protective for UVA and UVB rays.
Drinking lots of water is one of the easiest ways to look (and feel) your best. Water is needed for almost every single body process. Everything from efficient weight loss, good sleep, perspiration, great habits and the removal of waste products. If we’re “talking skin”, water keeps the skin moist, plump and supple. Fine lines and wrinkles appear more pronounced when you are dehydrated. Without adequate hydration, your skin can become dry and lose elasticity. Inadequate hydration can also lead to premature wrinkles and fine lines, as the skin does not have enough elasticity to bounce back.
And don’t be fooled by what “everyone says” you need as your daily water quota—about eight cups a day. You need to hydrate with filtered water: 2 glasses beyond ½ your body weight in ounces of water. And you need to adjust up for higher activity and climate. Your urine should be clear.
Don’t Smoke – Tobacco just plain wrecks your skin!
Ever heard of smoker’s face? This term, added to the medical dictionary in 1985, describes the telltale characteristics that make smokers look older than they really are: grey skin, gauntness, and wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, and deep lines in the cheeks.
We already discussed the free radical situation but there’s more! Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 toxins, many of which are absorbed directly into the skin. Smoking causes the blood vessels in the top layers of the skin to constrict, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood and causing a sickly pallor.
Smoking causes the skin to thin due to poor circulation, making lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Smoking also reduces the production of collagen, which is needed to keep the skin plump and firm. One study of 25 sets of identical twins (one a lifelong smoker, the other a non-smoker) by British researchers at St. Thomas’s Hospital found that the skin of the smoker was 25 percent thinner than the non-smoker’s. In a few cases the skin was up to 40 percent thinner. Your appearance is just one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t smoke.
Drink Less – Alcohol Ages You
Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration and deplete your body of valuable vitamins and minerals. When you drink alcohol, your liver has to work extra hard to eliminate the toxins from your body. If you cut down or eliminate alcohol, your body can flush out impurities more efficiently—resulting in clearer skin and a rosier complexion.
Learn to relax
Stress and tension shows in your skin. Chronic stress can deplete your body of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed for many important functions, including skin cell renewal. Stress also makes people more likely to develop frown lines and other wrinkles, which all make the skin look older. Prolonged stress means an increased level of adrenaline which will constrict blood flow to the face.
Try to fit some form of relaxation into your day…..exercise, meditation, something….I know, this one is hard but necessary. I fight to get my time every day and you should fight for yours too!
According to the “Stress in America” survey by the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of Americans say their stress levels have increased over the past five years.
Constant stress impacts the regulation of hormones and brain chemicals, and reduces immune function and increases the chances for diseases which of course, then age the skin big time. The high cortisol and other dis-regulated hormones associated with stress eventually leads to dull skin, slack pores, age and stress lines, and other tissue damage. And that’s not all folks, it can even lead to cancer.
A quick fix for stress during the day which does NOT substitute for your “happy time”:
When you are stressed your blood vessels constrict (“vasoconstriction”) and your hands feel cold and often clammy. Just go into a restroom or to any sink, calm your breathing as above and run your hands under warm water for 3 minutes or so. Restrict other sounds if you can. The sound of the running water is soothing, your breathing is slow and rhythmic and the warm water will dilate the blood vessels in your hands, making them feel warmer and more “cozy”. Try it!
Lack of sleep is bad for the body and mind. It is also bad for the skin. Developing healthy sleep patterns is one of the best things you can do to ensure the long-term health of your skin. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to increase the amount of time you spend sleeping. It is more important to increase the quality of your sleep, rather than the quantity. If you have any sort of difficulty sleeping, be it falling asleep, staying asleep or unrefreshed sleep please see the expertise articles in my DrKimsAgeWellSolutions website on sleep. Sleep is crucial for all aspects of health.
Remove any distractions from your sleeping space, such as televisions or piles of clothing, and create a peaceful environment to sleep in. A major cause of energy loss, stress and inability to lose weight is lack of adequate sleep. Proper sleeping habits help all of our cells regenerate, thus supporting a youthful appearance. With sleep however, it is not just quantity, but quality. The television and cell phone should be off; the room should be dark and cool to achieve a deep sleep. The basics of what we call “sleep hygiene” are mandatory. Here they are:
1. Making your bedroom “sleep friendly”:
- 8 years is the average “limit” for a mattress, is it time to throw yours out?
- Get high thread count sheets!
- At night, is your room quiet and with no light including covering LED’s?
- Use a flashlight in case you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night to get back to bed easier.
- Do not use your computer or watch TV for at least 2 hours pre-bedtime.
- Get an eye mask if you are sensitive to sunrise.
- If you have spouses or dogs (no kidding) who snore get silicone earplugs as they work the best.
- If you are caffeine sensitive, stop any caffeine by noon.
- Avoid a heavy dinner and eating at least two hours before bed.
- Alcohol reduces REM sleep and should be avoided for a good 2 hours before bedtime; it is NOT a sleep aid.
- Try to complete exercise at least 4 hours pre-bedtime as it can inhibit “sleep induction”/”initiation.”
- Nicotine seriously disturbs sleep patterns, so STOP!
It’s not just the cold weather zapping your skin of moisture — it’s also the indoor heat! Leave your heat on the lowest possible setting comfortable for you, or use a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air (this will help keep your skin hydrated).
Ever wake up with a big pillow crease in the middle of your cheek that, as we lose elastin, takes longer and longer to go away? Get yourself a silk or satin pillowcase and you won’t have “sleep face” again!
The best anti aging skin care daily regimen
Your basic daily Anti aging Skin care routine: 2x per day
(With specific anti-aging ingredients and potions in the next article)
Step 1a – Cleansing
Most of us know that cleansing is an important part of good skin care. The purpose of a cleanser, or the “right” soap, is to surround, loosen, and make it easy to remove dirt, debris, germs, excess oils, and left-over products applied to the skin. Unfortunately, there might be harmful effects of cleansers on the skin if you choose one that strips away too much oil.
Many people have dry skin because of their cleansing routines, not because their skin is normally dry. O.K., yes, skin CAN dry out if you live in Alaska, but this article is about what’s “common.” Some people come to expect that they will have dry, rough patches on the backs of their hands, itch in winter time, and sometimes have a dull complexion. They don’t know that their choice of cleanser could be hurting their skin.
How do you know what type of cleanser to use and where? The first step is to understand your cleanser options:
- Bar soaps – The most irritating cleansers but the best to get rid of dirt and grime. Caveat: some soaps are manufactured from “all natural sources” and don’t contain the usual sodium laurel sulfate which is what gives the “lather” so this of course doesn’t apply to all. We have a great one!
- Liquid cleansers – A wide variety of tolerability – good for cleaning all but the oiliest skin.
- Facial cleansers – The mildest cleanser but may not remove oil and dirt as well.
- Conclusion: Use the mildest cleanser possible that still removes dirt, oil and debris
My personal two cents here:
I love my Clarisonic and no, I have no financial interest in that company. And there are other rotating, soft bristle machines that are similar. I just have tried others and to me, they don’t work as well and break pretty quickly! Note that any sort of stimulation of the skin, including use of a gentle cleaning device such as this, will stimulate collagen and elastin production. And try washing your face and then using a clean head of a machine like this if you have had on any make up. You will get “more” off with this! I don’t wear makeup often but when I do, even though it is “all-natural” I sure don’t want it clogging up my pores and figure why not get some collagen/elastin stimulation while I’m at it?
Step 1b – Toners
This can be skipped if you purchase just about any toner other than what is on “my list.” However our toners are made with all natural ingredients and do not contain the usual array of oil-stripping “garbage” that almost all other toners have. If you like using a toner just use one of ours.
Step 2a – Light Serums
Apply a thin layer or layers 1-2x per day of light “serums” with potent anti-aging ingredients you can find in the ingredients section of the next article.
Step 2b – Nourishing Serums
Apply a layer of the thicker, more nourishing serums you read about in the next article.
Step 3 – Elastin Stimulating Serums
An elastin stimulating serum is needed to correct fine lines and places where you will “sag” or are starting to “sag”
Let me cover this “elastin issue” now. Many substances and techniques will stimulate collagen. However the scientifically proven best collagen and elastin stimulators are the Lifeline ProPlus+ products pictured here.
Step 4 – Moisturizing
Moisturizing is an essential step in good skin care. Sometimes the Lifeline ProPlus+ night serum is sufficient, but this is all an “individual thing.” A good moisturizer can stop the dry skin cycle from spiraling into cracked, thick, flaky skin. An effective moisturizer will have a combination of ingredients that:
- Replenish the skin’s natural ingredients that help maintain its structure
- Cut down on damage from free-radicals
- Help the cells function more normally
Step 5 – Sunscreen – Obviously only needed during the daytime:
The final step in a good skin care program is using sunscreen. You can easily tell if your skin is oily or dry, requiring a good washing or some added moisture. However, most of the damage to the skin from UV radiation is beneath the surface and happens so slowly that we don’t realize how much damage is being done.
I know we’ve talked about sunscreen but don’t take small exposures “for granted”. Even those little bits of exposure add up over the years and can cause wrinkles, dark spots and skin cancer. And the same “rule of thumb” applies to sunscreen regarding “layers”-how many layers of “skin stuff” can we really “take”?
There are several factors to consider when picking out a sunscreen:
- How sunscreens work
- Everyday sunscreen vs out-in-the-sun sunscreen
- Using a sunscreen alone vs sunscreen plus moisturizer
- Understanding the UV-index
- How to be safe in the sun
Don’t undo all the money spent and the benefits of an anti aging skin care routine by exposing yourself to UV radiation. Find a good broad-spectrum sunscreen and make its application a part of your daily routine like brushing your teeth and bathing.
Now, that said, this is the best anti aging skin care routine for someone who is 40+. So when I talk about “going through the decades” on the last article I’ll tailor it to when to add what.
So, there you have the health basics and the best anti aging skin care basic daily routine. Now we can get to the good stuff on the next article. I’ll teach you how to pick the best anti aging serum, the best anti aging moisturizer, and we’ll talk about the hottest thing called stem cell cytokines. What are cytokines? If you just can’t wait, you can read about them here.