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Your guide to healthy ageing by a skin health expert

Your guide to healthy ageing by a skin health expert

As a skin health therapist, I’m always asked, “What should I be doing to my skin NOW to slow down the signs of ageing?”.  The joy is that YOU are in more control of this inevitable process than you think you are! It is never too late to make some positive changes to your lifestyle and skin care routine. Keep reading for my guide to healthy ageing.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Ageing

First, let’s talk about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. This is the exciting bit because understanding this will make you realise how much control you have. While we are genetically programmed from birth to age a certain way, genetics are now thought to only be responsible for 20-30% of ageing. This is what’s referred to as intrinsic ageing. It is therefore out of our control.

The other 70%-80% depends on extrinsic ageing. This refers to ageing caused by environmental factors, such as lifestyle and skincare—all of which you have control over. This is great news because it confirms that how we care for our skin and what lifestyles we lead, far outweighs our genetic predisposition. When it comes down to it, healthy ageing is all about making good choices.

Your Guide to Healthy Ageing

Here’s what you can start doing NOW to slow the process of Extrinsic ageing.

1. Limit Sun Exposure
    • An estimated 80 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.
    • People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.
    • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.
    This just goes to show how important daily sunscreen use is. You must apply SPF every day, 365 days a year, rain or shine, when inside or out. Glass and water can magnify rays too.
    2. Prioritise sleep
    ‘How much sleep do you get? The cliche of ‘beauty sleep’ is actually of real importance when it comes to skin health so let's call it ‘Skin sleep’ instead. Did you know? While you sleep your skin repairs its protective barrier function, exfoliates, ramps up its metabolism (so it can chat to other cells and work more effectively), Blood flow increases and floods the skin with Oxygen and Nutrients which = that health glow. It also loses moisture overnight with all of this going on which is why you need that morning routine to be just right.
    This study, from the National library of Medicine, indicates that chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased signs of intrinsic ageing, diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance.
    3. Wear glasses and sunglasses
    Creases from repetitive facial expressions (like squinting, laughing, smiling, talking, and yawning) can ultimately result in permanent lines and wrinkles. Of course, our faces were meant to move, but you want to avoid facial expressions that are unnecessary, such as squinting. This will accelerate the appearance of lines and wrinkles around your eyes. Be sure to wear glasses (if you need them) and sunglasses. Don’t put off getting your eyes tested regularly.
    4. Avoid smoking, vaping and second-hand smoke
    This should come as no surprise. Smoking (and inhaling second-hand smoke) are dangerous to the body. When it comes to the skin, specifically, it starves cells of oxygen, making it look dull and tired. Also, collagen-destroying enzymes (MMPs) ramp up when the skin is exposed to tobacco smoke. This dramatically increases how quickly the skin ages. Interestingly our ‘Hero serum #1 - healthy ageing’, contains a clever peptide that suppresses this MMP enzyme BUT that’s not an excuse not to kick the habit!
    5. Limit alcohol and drug use
    Every drug will affect the body differently, but generally speaking, drugs can stress the nervous system. This, in turn, elevates hormones (adrenals) that contribute to the wear and tear of connective tissue, resulting in loose, sagging skin.
    As for alcohol, it’s not doing your skin any favours either. Overconsumption of alcohol causes chronic inflammation and harmful free radical activity which is the underlying cause of skin ageing.
    Its all about moderation since the odd glass of red wine has been shown to give positive health benefits due to the cell protective flavanol content and so can also keep the skin healthy too.

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