Who is that woman looking back at me in the mirror? Have you ever asked yourself this? I have. I feel much younger than the image looking back at me in my mirror. I'll bet you do too. Let's examine what we do to age our skin without meaning to.
1. You don't cleanse your skin every night -
While it's tempting to fall into bed after a busy day—or a late night on the town—without cleaning your face, skipping a cleanser at night can lead to breakouts and invasion of your pores. I'm always surprised to hear how many women don't cleanse their skin every night. I always recommend cleansing our skin immediately after dinner before getting too tired to wash away the debris from the day.
2. Pollution - what you don't know can hurt you -
We can't control pollution, and we now know many types of pollution are harmful when inhaled, but recently we've learned much more about how pollution interacts with our skin. A handful of newer studies have shown that pollution is linked to skin allergies, aging and slower recovery from damage. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology reports,
"Air pollution exposure was significantly correlated to extrinsic skin aging signs, in particular to pigment spots and less pronounced to wrinkles. An increase in soot and particles from traffic was associated with 20% more pigment spots on forehead and cheeks."
What can we do? If you're like me and live in the city, you may be asking, what can I do to protect my skin from pollution?
a) Cleanse your skin regularly as mentioned earlier. Every night, at the very least, with a good cleanser and exfoliator (2-3 times per week) to remove excess oil or sebum, dirt and pollution.
b) Be sure your skin care products are rich in antioxidants, those wonderful free-radical fighters! Look for Plant Stem Cells in your treatments as well. Why? Plant Stem Cells have protective anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective (cell-protecting) properties which help slow collagen breakdown. They assist with cell turnover and trigger natural production of collagen, elastin and other "youth-proteins."
3. Ditching products too quickly -
If you’re frustrated that your new anti-aging moisturizer isn’t doing its job, stick it out longer before switching. Bouncing from product to product may leave you with the impression that nothing works for your skin. Give a new product at least six weeks to produce a change in your complexion. One skin cycle takes 30 days (for new cells to reach top layer of skin) so in order to see a real difference in texture, tone and clarity you need to use them for more than a month. For anti-aging products, it takes longer. Your skin takes four months to regenerate collagen and elastin. Give your products a chance!
4. Eating an abundance of inflammatory foods -
Vegetable oils, margarine, red meats, white bread, or sugary, processed foods, don't do your skin any favors. These foods can cause inflammation in your body, which may accelerate wrinkle formation.
To prevent premature aging, stock up on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) such as flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, avocados, salmon, and olive oil. These foods will help your skin maintain its soft and supple look.
Be sure to load up on fruits and veggies, too. Fresh produce is abundant in zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, all of which are key players in the body's production of collagen (which keeps skin firm), as well as protecting against free radicals. Red bell peppers, carrots, broccoli are great options, all loaded with Vitamin C. Make sure you're getting enough protein too. Studies show that an insufficient amount of protein can cause wrinkles and cracks in your skin. Aim to get at least one protein-containing food (for example, eggs, poultry, beans) at each meal.