Natural Solutions to Keep Your Skin Looking Young

January 15, 2016

Natural Solutions to Keep Your Skin Looking Young | Island Thyme Soap Company

Natural Solutions to Keep Your Skin Looking Younger, Longer.

As we age, the fiber network of collagen and elastin underneath our skin weakens, and skin sags as it loses its support structure. Other unavoidable forces like the thinning of our skin, gravity and our genetic code contributes to natural aging as well.  But much of what we think of as natural aging is in fact avoidable.  Most of the skin changes associated with aging are environmental, external as well as inside the body and mind.

External Factors

The ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate into the skin and damage the elastin fibers that keep skin firm, allowing wrinkles to develop. Sunlight is also responsible for age spots on sun-exposed areas. The amount of wrinkles that develop, and how prominent they are, are largely dependent on a person's lifetime sun exposure.

Smoking results in collagen degradation and reduces the blood circulation to the skin. A smoker is more likely to get bags under the eyes, jowls and more wrinkles around those lips much earlier than a non-smoker, according to a 2013 study by Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University.

In addition to cigarette smoke, air pollution is also a major contributing factor to premature skin aging. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are a group of more than 100 different chemicals that are released from burning coal, oil, gasoline, trash, tobacco, wood, or other organic substances such as charcoal-broiled meat. Chronic exposure to these pollutants results in the same type of skin aging that is seen with chronic exposure to UV light from the sun.

Internal Factors

Dehydration doesn’t only make you feel bad, it wreaks havoc with the quality of your skin, too. So drink plenty of water. Eating simple carbohydrates raise insulin levels and put an unnatural demand on the body. A diet high is sugar or high-glycemic foods like white bread and soda quickly convert to sugar and cause inflammation, which triggers oxidative stress which in turn damages collagen and DNA. A lack of healthy fats can make the skin dry and flaky. 

Instead eat complex carbohydrates, like brown rice and vegetables. Low-glycemic options, like beans, nuts and whole grains, as well as fibrous foods, which delay sugar absorption, also help control blood sugar levels. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet of healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.Our skin cells are all made from saturated fat, and omega-6s and the omega-3s are essential to keeping them healthy. Eat lean protein, plenty of fiber and the antioxidants in richly colored fruits and veggies if you want glowing, youthful skin. 

Drinking too much alcohol dehydrates the body and depletes stores of B vitamins and magnesium which you need for good skin.  It also interferes with the production of an aminio acid called Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA). GABA deficiencies interfere with the most important stage of sleep,  the "deep" delta sleep that usually begins within 45 minutes. You need good sleep for good skin too. Without restorative sleep, your body releases the stress hormone, cortisol, which mobilizes sugar stores and causes your insulin to spike and inflammation to trigger oxidative stress..  

With the proper nutrition and lifestyle habits, the best skin moisture comes from the inside. And as we wrote of in a previous blog post, it's important to rehydrate when you wake up in the morning! 

Psychological Factors

The intricate relationship between stress and skin conditions has been documented since ancient times. Recent research has confirmed skin is both as an immediate stress perceiver and a target of stress responses. So just as physical stress from high-glycemic foods causes inflammation, which triggers oxidative stress which in turn damages collagen and DNA, so does psychological stress. Chronic stress suppresses the skin’s immune system, increases vulnerability to infections and breakouts, exacerbates inflammation and allergic reactions, and accelerates UV-damage.

Unplug. Lowering stress can be as easy as clicking a button, the off button of your TV, computer and other digital devices. Researchers have found that smartphones actually increase stress. And another report showed that the more people used Facebook or watch cable news, the more their happiness declined. Get moving. Take a leisurely walk.  Even moderate physical activity helps manage stress. 

Meditate. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.

Pamper Yourself

Add more homemade coconut milk to your life AND to your skin! Due to its soothing properties, coconut milk is a great moisturizer that can replace moisture in dehydrated skin. The natural fatty acids in this milk can help treat dry and irritated skin and remove harmful bacteria from your skin. Try adding a cup of rose petals, half a cup of rose water and a cup of coconut milk to lukewarm bath water. Soaking in this bath for about 15 minutes will help restore moisture to dry skin and calm to a frenzied mind.. You can directly rub coconut milk on your skin and leave it for 30 minutes to get absorbed. This will combat dryness and promote healthy and glowing skin.  

So remember your sunscreen, drink plenty of water, make sure your diet is full of antioxidants and complex carbohydrates, don't smoke, minimize exposure to polluted air, drink only in moderation, get plenty of delta sleep and learn to take time to love yourself.

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