In the cold months of winter, you’re probably feeling like your skin is dry and rough, and has way more fine lines and wrinkles than you would like. Or maybe, you’ve turned another year (or 40) older, and the signs of aging are way more prominent than they used to be.
Is it time to change up your skin care regimen? Or is it time to start looking at what is going on behind the scenes when these types of changes are happening on the outside?
What causes aging of the skin?
After the holiday season has passed, we may start to really notice these external signs of aging; this is usually due to the unhealthy indulgences that happen, more sugar, alcohol, fried or grilled foods, chips and hydrogenated fats sneak into our bodies. These types of foods create more advanced glycation end products or AGEs, these compounds are responsible for the aging process.
Improving your diet by including a lot of fish, green leafy vegetables, berries, polyphenols and healthy oils, will decrease your production of AGEs. All supplements that boost antioxidants will also help to counteract the production of AGEs and the process of aging, so maximizing these is highly beneficial in reversing aging.
Sources of Antioxidants
Here’s a refresher on which nutrients are considered to be an antioxidant. The master antioxidant in the body is glutathione, and its role is to prevent damage to your cells caused by oxidative stress.
All other vitamins and nutrients are used in the process to regenerate glutathione. Sometimes we just supplement with glutathione! Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), turmeric, alpha lipoic acid (ALA), and resveratrol are all essential antioxidant nutrients that may help to regenerate glutathione and repair our cells.
What can you do to reverse the signs of aging?
What makes your skin age faster than a blink of an eye? Dehydration. One of the biggies for winter in Calgary is hydration. It is so super dry here, we can all look like raisins if we’re not careful.
Remember, if you’re skin is feeling dry, it’s time to focus on more water. One simple test for hydration is the “tent test”. Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and count how many seconds it takes for it to return to it’s normal flat position. If it’s taking longer than a couple seconds, you’re definitely dehydrated!
Stress and lack of sleep will also make us age quicker. Ever notice a few more grey hairs and a few more fine lines around your eyes after an especially stressful time in your life? Stress and poor sleep increase our body’s demand for antioxidants. Think about making some relaxation techniques part of your regular routine to help stop aging in its tracks.
Remove Toxic Build-Up
Liver function and good bile flow, proper blood circulation and lymphatic movement are also essential for great skin health. The bile production from the liver is paramount for hormone clearance and regulation. If hormones seem to be wreaking havoc on your skin, supporting your liver and bile production will really help to get things back on track. Luckily, we have lots of great herbals and bile support to help. The liver loves any bitter tasting foods, so be sure to include some bitter greens; artichoke, endive, radicchio, and dandelion. Beets, carrots, garlic and onions are also great liver foods.
A simple, at-home activity to help improve circulation is dry skin brushing. The skin is brushed lightly with a dry skin brush or loofah towards the heart, starting at the feet and hands and brushing towards the chest. This is awesome for improving lymphatic flow and helps to break up cellulite. Using a dry loofah daily for about 2 minutes before your shower is enough to get things going!
Dr. Rebecca Sagan, ND and Dr. Hajnalka Pinter, ND