As you age your skin becomes thinner and prone to dryness, wrinkles and sunspots. Read on for Naturopath Kate Ferguson's healthy skin tips to combat the signs of ageing from the inside and out.
How does the skin age?
The skin is comprised of 3 layers: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous (fat) tissue. As we get older, the epidermis and dermis become thin and the subcutaneous layer decreases, causing the skin to lose its plumpness and smoothness.
Lines and wrinkles start to form due to a decrease in elastin fibres, which give the skin strength, elasticity, and collagen.
Ageing of the skin results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While we can't do much about our genes, we can give our skin a fighting chance against premature ageing by reducing environmental risks and combining internal and external skin care.
One of the main causes of premature skin ageing is sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes changes to the skin. More than 80 per cent of the damage on an ageing face is from photodamage, which occurs from overexposure to the sun and other elements such as the wind.
Prevent ageing by remembering to ‘slip, slop, slap' when going out into the sun.
Time to Quit
Smoking is also another major factor in premature skin ageing. Smoking narrows the blood vessels, impairs blood flow to your skin and depletes it of oxygen and nutrients. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin causing the skin to sag and wrinkle prematurely.
Eat your way to younger looking skin
A healthy diet rich in essential nutrients is imperative to maintain the health and appearance of the skin.
Antioxidants may prevent signs of premature ageing by minimising free radical damage:
• Vitamin C - found in capsicum, citrus fruits, blackcurrants, strawberries and broccoli, it is necessary for the formation of collagen and the strengthening of capillaries.
• Vitamin E - from vegetable and seed oils, whole grains and green leafy vegetables, it may protect against free radicals that contribute to ageing.
• Vitamin A & betacarotene - in foods such as cod liver oil, carrots, sweet potato and green leafy vegetables, it may be useful for UV-induced skin damage and photo-ageing.
Protein from foods such as fish, legumes, raw nuts and seeds is important as it helps to build and repair the skin.
Essential fatty acids (omega-3s) from oily fish are necessary to keep the skin supple and prevent dryness.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water comprises 70% of the dermis. Drinking water is essential to keep the skin hydrated and looking fresh.
Nourish with nature from the outside
Plant extracts can help to arrest the signs of ageing and maintain the health of our skin:
• Carrot seed oil acts as a cell regenerator for skin and may improve the complexion.
• Rosehip oil has been used to reduce wrinkles and may help to counter effect signs of sun damage.
• Frankincense essential oil is recommended for dry and mature skin and wrinkles.
• Neroli essential oil is reputed to have a rejuvenating effect on the skin.