Majority of American Outpatient Clinics customers visit us for services like anti-aging, skin rejuvenation, vein laser treatment, treatment of skin discolorations or scars, body reshaping, wrinkle treatment, face tightening and laser hair removal. Most common question asked by my patients is; How to keep my skin young looking and delay aging? So I decided to write this lengthy article and include everything you can and must do to have beautiful, healthy skin.
Your skin is one of your most precious possessions. In addition to protecting your internal structures from the entry of harmful organisms, it allows you to experience sensations such as touch and pressure, warmth and coolness, and also pain, which alerts you that something may not be quite right. Moreover, it regulates your body temperature, synthesizes vitamin D and excretes body wastes.
Your skin is an integral part of how you feel and how you feel about yourself. Understandably, then, its care is of the utmost importance. It requires attention not only from the outside, but care from the inside also. Internal care essentially through nutrients obtained from wholesome food. External care is what you apply to the skin itself, but that’s not all. You must also avoid subjecting this invaluable organ, your largest in weight and surface area, to agents that can damage it and lead to its aging prematurely.
Care from within
For healthy, problem-free skin, you need to provide it with essential nutrients. These include vitamins and minerals, a few of which are now discussed.
Vitamin A. This “skin vitamin” preserves the youthful look of skin. If it is under-supplied, your skin can become rough, dry and itchy and vulnerable to infections.
The B vitamins. The myriad nerve fibers with which the skin is supplied depend on these “nerve vitamins” for efficient functioning. The B vitamins are also useful in helping to counteract the effects of high-stress levels, which can play havoc with skin.
Vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for the formation of collagen, the “glue” that holds cells together and contributes to the skin’s firmness. An under-supply can lead to wrinkles, flabbiness, skin discoloration and other signs of aging.
Vitamin E. This vitamin is necessary for the formation of the nucleus of every body cell. When you consider that in a mere square inch (6 square centimeters) of skin there are almost 20 million cells, you can readily understand how crucial this nutrient is to the skin’s health. Like vitamins A and C, vitamin E is also an antioxidant: it prevents or inhibits a process by which other nutrients are destroyed.
Of the many minerals needed to maintain good health, the following are especially important for healthy, youthful skin:
Silicon. Experts say that this trace mineral (needed in small amounts) gives life to the skin and beautiful finishing touches to the whole body. Also required for healthy connective tissue, of which collagen is a part.
Sulphur. Known as the “beauty mineral,” sulfur helps to keep your complexion clear and it also contributes to collagen synthesis.
Zinc. This trace mineral is intimately involved in tissue nutrition and repair. A deficiency can lead to skin inflammation (dermatitis).
In addition to the vitamins and minerals discussed, the following are noteworthy:
EFAs, or essential fatty acids, are crucial to the health and attractiveness of skin. They are a necessary component of the oils that lubricate skin and keep it resilient.
Water. Although it is not regarded as a nutrient, water is, in fact, the most important substance we consume, and certainly vital to the skin’s health. It is the principal constituent of all body fluids and the medium by which nutrients are carried to all cells and waste products removed. It is also a lubricant. A water deficiency contributes to roughness, dryness and cracking of the skin.
Sources of nutrients
All nutrients work together, and no single one should be relied upon as a panacea. To obtain the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients discussed. The following are the very best food choices: fresh vegetables, especially those that are intensely green or yellow, such as broccoli, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. Also fresh fruits, particularly those with vibrant colors, such as berries of all kinds, cherries, peaches, and papayas. Whole grains and cereals and products made with them; low-fat milk and other dairy products; eggs, unrefined fish oils, lean meats, legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils), nuts and seeds; also unsweetened fruit juices and plenty of water.
External skin care
Skin-care experts agree that the first line of defense against skin problems is cleanliness. They suggest taking a regular shower or bath without overusing soap, which removes the skin’s natural oils serving a protective function, and with water that’s not too hot. It takes oil glands about six hours to restore the skin’s normal pH, which is, the degree of acidity or alkalinity, after a thorough cleansing with soap. Skin specialists suggest using a naturally formulated cleanser or soap with a pH of 5.5 to 7, which is close to that of normal skin at its surface.
Steps to healthier skin
Nutrition. Eat wholesome foods and drink plenty of water.
Elimination. Regular elimination of body wastes is vital to skin health.
Exercise. Exercise regularly, both outdoors and indoors.
Stress control. Regular periods of relaxation and adequate sleep are two essential components of any good stress control program.
Hygiene. Gentle cleansing with a mild soap or non-alkaline soap alternative and warm or cool water is essential. If you use a moisturizer, apply it to the skin as soon as possible after cleansing.
If you use skin-care products to help nourish your skin, choose those that offer protection against the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays and which is non-scented. Also select those that do not obstruct the skin’s tiny openings, such as pores.
Of the things that can work against all the good you do to attain and maintain fabulous skin, three are outstanding: sun, stress, and smoking.
The sun is the number one cause of premature aging of the skin. It is true that sun converts substances in the skin into vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for sound bones and the absorption of nutrients such as calcium. Sun also helps to convert carotene into vitamin A, the “skin vitamin.” Also, the sun’s rays destroy bacteria, and this can be useful in helping to clear up some skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis. There’s also the psychological benefit in that people tend to be in a good mood when there’s sunshine.
Despite all these benefits, however, sun damages the elastin fibers which give elasticity to the skin, and collagen which gives the skin its strength. Moreover, the sun’s UV radiation damages DNA, the genetic material in the body’s cells, and overexposure to the sun can contribute to the developing of cancer. And as if these were not enough, the sun’s UV rays can penetrate to the dermis, an important structural part of the skin, which gives it shape, strength, and elasticity. UV light changes the physical characteristics of the dermis into thin, weak, inelastic tissue. The skin then begins to wrinkle and sag.
If you wish to have great skin for life, it is imperative that you take prudent measures to protect your skin from the cumulative ill effects of long-term exposure to the sun. These include:
- Applying a sunscreen to exposed skin areas well before subjecting yourself to the sun’s UV rays.
- Wearing protective clothing and head covering.
- Wearing sunglasses to prevent you from squinting, which encourages the formation of wrinkles around your eyes, and to protect your eyes. Be sure that the glasses offer UV protection.
- Not using deodorant soaps on your face or other skin areas exposed to the sun as they can cause burns.
Certain body changes occur in times of stress. One of that heightened stimulation of nerve endings, with which the skin liberally supplied. The “goosebumps” appearing on your skin are sometimes a manifestation of a response to stress, and fright can produce a noticeable blanching of skin. More dramatic is the skin inflammation called eczema, believed to be stress related in many cases.
If you aspire to have fabulous skin, a daily period of some form of relaxation is an essential requisite. This can be meditation, progressive relaxation or simply listening to soothing music, as a balance to the constant stimulation to which so many of us are daily subjected. You should also avoid having too many life-changing events in any one year if you possibly can. Also, you need to learn to say “no” without feeling guilty, to avoid over-commitment.
Research has shown that the skin of smokers tends to look much older (as many as twenty years in some cases) than that of non-smokers. Smokers often develop well-defined wrinkles at the outer corners of their eyes (“crow’s feet”). The skin on the back of their hands and neck tends to take on a cobblestone appearance, and their complexion is often sallow.
Smoking regularly diminishes the skin’s ability to heal itself. It destroys the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C and reduces oxygen supplies to the tissues. It promotes discoloration and wrinkling, telltale signs of aging.
Understandably, then, if you aim to acquire and preserve healthy, youthful skin, it’s in your best interest to stop smoking. Also, avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
Skin is one of the most visible parts of your body. It plays an important part in shaping your self-image. Its appearance and condition affect how you feel and function. Because it is so vital and so highly visible, its care is of the utmost importance not only to your physical fitness but your psychological well-being also.
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