The campaign against age lines, crinkles and wrinkles is not new. In fact, it dates back to medieval times. In those days women used to drench their faces in bat’s blood. It was considered that by doing a ghastly thing as this helps to keep wrinkles away. So, you see wrinkles are despised since ages.
Those who develop age lines don’t care a damn about the whole aging process and what actually causes wrinkles to form. All they are concerned with is how to get rid of them.
Many people hold that wrinkles are caused by genetic factors. Yes, genetic factors do cause wrinkles but this is not the only cause. More prominently, wrinkles are caused by sun exposure, intense gesticulation, intense intake of alcohol, stress and dehydration.
Treating wrinkles- Different people swear by different anti wrinkle products. Whatever product you choose, pay a patient look to the ingredients. An anti wrinkle cream has to have treinoin, AHAs, vitamin E, glycolic acid, fruit oxidants and other such effective ingredients.
The prevention part is rather easy. Protection from direct sun not only reduces the risk of developing pre mature wrinkles but also considerably reduces the chance of falling into the clutches of skin cancer. The person however must be able to distinguish between adequate sunlight and excessive sunlight. A person may cover his/her face while going out in the sun as it is direct sunlight that is bad not sunlight as it is. Also, you must keep your skin hydrated, facial skin especially.
Wrinkles, they say are caused by frowning as well (hence the name ‘frown lines’. So, you better chill out, play cool and keep yourself stress-free. Stop frowning at least for the sake of your skin, at least!
The last point is not to make hoo-ha about the whole thing. Do not worry yourself sick over it.
What is Tea?
Tea is the common name for the Camellia sinensis plant. It is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes (the portion of a plant stem between nodes) of the plant that are prepared and cured by various methods. “Tea” also refers to the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water.
Tea is known for its stimulant qualities largely attributed to caffeine. Today, herbal teas are known to have many health benefits, preventing a variety of conditions, from heart disease and cancer, to gum disease, skin aging and weight loss. The major types of tea include black, green, oolong and white, differing by the method of harvesting and processing.
The beneficial properties of tea are attributed to polyphenols. The polyphenols found in tea mainly belong to the subtype called catechins. Polyphenols or catechins are better known as antioxidants that fight free radicals. Free radicals are damaging to skin and body by attacking healthy cells. Green tea has more catechins than black tea; white tea is almost as rich in catechins as green tea but is different in composition and less well studied.
So How Is Green Tea Good For My Skin?
There have been number studies of skin benefits of green tea. One of these studies show protection from skin cancer by demonstrating topical green tea formulations can reduce sun damage.(1) Another fascinating study in 2003 was conducted by Dr. Stephen Hsu of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Oral Biology. His findings determined green tea was able to rejuvenate old skin cells at the end of their life cycle.
A quote from Dr. Hsu’s paper explained, “…we report here for the first time, that at certain concentrations, EGCG or a mixture of the major green tea polyphenols stimulated aged keratinocytes to generate biological energy and to synthesize DNA, possibly for renewed cell division.
Therefore, green tea constituents may be useful topically for promoting skin regeneration, wound healing, or treatment of certain epithelial conditions such as aphthous ulcers, psoriasis, rosacea, and actinic keratoses.” (2) Dr. Hsu went on to comment he was “so surprised” to discover EGCG actually reactivated cells that had migrated toward the surface of the skin to ‘die’.
Green tea appears to manipulate sun damage protection by fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays. Therefore, green tea enhances sun protection when used in addition to a sunscreen. To boost sun protection, apply a green tea formula under your sunscreen to elevate the level of sun protection. It is best to combine green tea with zinc oxide-based sunscreens because zinc oxide is chemically inert and should not react with green tea (which some chemical sunscreens might do, especially in sunlight). You can also look for green tea in natural soaps, and other facial cleansers.
Topical green tea is also very beneficial for sensitive skin types by reducing inflammation and irritation in the skin. Wrinkles, skin sag and other signs of aging have been shown to benefit from Green tea. The tea’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols slow down signs of premature of aging
Use green tea at home to boost your skins health, appearance and reduce signs of aging by freezing freshly brewed green tea as ice cubes and use them as a toner. Let them start thawing first before applying directly to the face to avoid irritation. You can also drink green tea or take green tea extract in capsules to benefit from the anti oxidant properties. The polyphenols will reach your skin via the bloodstream in sufficient amounts.
Using green tea in your skincare routine has definite proven benefits to slow skin aging, reduce acne and protect your skin from cancer among many others. Just be aware of the products you choose. Like most antioxidants, green tea polyphenols are oxidized and can lose their active constituents when exposed to air.
By Tiffany Oney and Rachelle Dupree
(1) Green Tea Polyphenol Treatment to Human Skin Prevents Formation of Ultraviolet Light B-induced Pyrimidine Dimers in DNA (2000). Santosh K. Katiyar, Anaibelith Perez and Hasan Mukhtar. Clinical Cancer Research Vol. 6, 3864-3869, October 2000.
(2) Green Tea Polyphenols Induce Differentiation and Proliferation in Epidermal Keratinocytes (2003). Stephen Hsu, Wendy B. Bollag, Jill Lewis, Qin Huang,Baldev Singh, Mohamed Sharawy, Tetsuya Yamamoto, and George Schuster. Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics. First published on March 27, 2003; DOI: 10.1124/jpet.103.049734
Aging is a normal process of life and the evidence of aging shows on our skin. As we age skin begins to thin, dry and dull due to slow cell turn over. New skin cells do not grow as quickly, resulting in thinning skin. As a result, dead skin cells shed less quickly making the appearance of the skin dull and dry. Collagen and elastin-the system of fibers that make skin firm and elastic-begin to break down, resulting in sagging and wrinkles. Pigmentation is more prominent as we age when melanocytes, (which produce skin pigment) begin to produce irregularly. Research has shown there are two different factors in aging; intrinsic or internal and extrinsic or external.
Intrinsic aging, the natural course of aging, has to do with genes and inheritance. Natural aging begins at birth; however, signs of aging begin to appear on the skin in our mid 20’s. Intrinsic aging includes slower cell turn over, and less collagen production. Elastin begins to break down which acts like a rubber band enabling our skin to stretch and snap back. Visible signs of intrinsic skin aging include fine lines, loss of suppleness, dry and thin skin.
Extrinsic aging are the external factors that age the skin. These include sun exposure, health and diet, gravity, sleeping positions, smoking, drinking and even facial expressions. External factors cause premature aging to the skin and can become visible rather quickly.
While intrinsic factors are mostly uncontrollable, fortunately, extrinsic aging is controllable. Skin aging is a normal process however, premature aging of the skin can be prevented. A healthy lifestyle, yearly physical exams and topical care of the skin can prevent premature aging. A healthy, active life style will create healthy, strong skin from the outside in, preventing premature aging. Physical exams may catch early signs of skin damage that then can be treated. Topical skin care allows the skin to absorb ingredients through topical products that aid in building the epidermis and dermal layers of skin, the skin that is and will become visible. Topical care includes skin care products such as cleansers, moisturizers, serums and sunscreens.
To prevent premature aging is to treat your skin as one of a kind. There are many different skin types, meaning what one person is doing to take care of their skin is not necessarily what you need to be doing to treat your skin. However, the most important products to aid in preventing premature aging are cleansers, exfoliates, moisturizers with hydrators and sunscreens. Cleansers will cleanse the skin clearing excess oil, dirt and debris. Exfoliates will slough off dead skin, deep clean pores and result in smoother more even skin tone. Moisturizers with hydrators will keep the skin supple and moist, while sunscreen will help to protect the skin from sun damage. It is also important to consider skin care products that include essential oils and antioxidants to help fight off free radicals that can further damage skin cells. Always consult a dermatologist before starting any skin care routine.
By Tiffany Oney
Tiffany Oney is a licensed esthetician, professional makeup artist and natural skincare authority. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies California State University, Long Beach and interning with Vivoderm Natural Skincare in Los Angeles, California.
Popular Herbs Used in Skin Care and Their Benefits: Chamomile, Aloe Vera, Lavender and Rosemary
Today skin care and cosmetics are increasingly going natural. You may have heard that herbs and oils are commonly used in skin care and cosmetics; but, you may not know why or what purpose they serve. why, and what do the do? Four very common and popular herbs that are used in the form of oil or gels are chamomile, Aloe Vera, lavender, and rosemary. All provide unique benefits for the skin and body.
The benefits of chamomile for the skin and body range from calming effects to healing. Recent and on-going research has identified chamomile’s
specific benefits as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-allergenic. Chamomile is most often recognized as an herbal tea; however, chamomile is present in many skin care products. Chamomile’s active ingredients extracted from the flower are essential oils and flavonoids. Essential oils help to calm and relax irritated skin. Essential oils have also been found to be beneficial to treat and sooth acne prone skin. Flavonoids – or plant metabolites- are rich in anti oxidants that help the body repair and heal damaged skin, as well as fight free radicals, which create damage to bodily cells. Chamomile has few side effects and is effective and beneficial to the skin topically or if ingested.
Aloe Vera contains numerous, minerals, vitamin, enzymes, and natural sugars that help with inflammation. Aloe Vera is commonly known for its healing properties, which explains its popular use in skin care. Aloe Vera aids in the healing of skin burns and cuts and moisturizes and softens skin. Aloe Vera is used in skin care products to help with dry sensitive skin as the plant has unique healing and soothing properties. Taken internally, Aloe Vera has been found to regulate digestion, which in turn builds healthy skin from the inside out. Aloe Vera is available as a gel, spray, lotion, juice, cream and in the form of a capsule. Aloe Vera is most commonly found in skin care gels or creams.
Lavender has many uses in skin care that include aiding skin repair, stimulating cell growth, reducing inflammation, preventing scarring and pigmentation, regulating oil production, and reducing pain. Lavender also works as antiseptic or antibacterial agent and is considered an essential oil. Due to its extensive benefits to the skin, lavender is often found in skin care formulated to treat acne prone skin.
Rosemary can be used as an essential oil just like chamomile and lavender. Rosemary and lavender are actually found in the same herbal family.
Rosemary tones the skin, helping to even out skin tone and texture, while reliving dryness. Rosemary strengthens capillaries and is good to use on aging skin. Rosemary is found in skin care cleansers, toners and creams.
There are many other herbs used in skin care and cosmetics today-most in the form of essential oils or extracts- and all can have different or positive effects on the skin and body. Herbs and oils have been used to heal for many centuries and now are being utilized for safe, natural ways to treat skin conditions and maintain a healthy complexion.
by Tiffany Oney
A contributing factor to dry, flaky, skin in winter is a drop in temperature. Although winter sometimes feels damp, there is usually less water in the air than on your skin and that creates a moisture vapour loss from the skin. As skin becomes drier, its surface layer stops producing the natural lipids which prevent moisture loss, and water cannot be retained so easily. Dry skin will also show wrinkles more easlit and contribute to an aging appearance.
As a result of all these factors, sometimes skin on the face and body tends to be in worse condition in the winter months than at other times of the year. In extreme cases, a constant drying effect can even lead to cracking, flaking and redness.
These four tips for helping to keep dry skin at bay during the colder months come from Dr. Kucy Pon, Olay dermatologist.
1. A moisturizer is essential - A moisturizer performs several important functions, including replacing lost water. Water-binding ingredients, such as glycerin, help keep it in the skin.
2. Create an oasis - Put some moisture back into the air by using a humidifier in your home or office. It will counteract the drying effects of indoor heat.
3. Drink lots of water - Increase your body’s natural moisture level by staying hydrated throughout the day.
4. Keep wrapped up - Dress for the season and try to limit your skin’s exposure to harsh temperatures and damaging winds.
If you have dry skin, then you probably already know it can be really difficult to care for. When you don’t look after it properly, it can become flaky, and if it gets really bad, may even become irritated and red. Although it’s possible to find plenty of products that claim to be able to solve dry skin problems, unfortunately most of their claims are sales hype.
Although most over the counter products don’t do much to combat dry skin, there are a number of things you can do to improve the condition of your skin. It’s mostly a question of making some basic changes to your daily skincare routine. It won’t take long for your skin to appear more healthy and vibrant.
With dry skin, you have completely the opposite problem to someone with oily skin. Basically, your skin is suffering from a lack of sebum, the oil that helps to keep the skin moist and supple. People with oily skin produce far too much sebum. Sebum is actually made from skin cells, and is an essential ingredient in healthy, supple skin. Because dry skin has insufficient oil, you need to replace it from both inside and outside.
One of the best things you can do for your skin is to use a good quality moisturizer. Choose a cream that is rich, but not heavy. Consider choosing a natural cream with aloe vera and chamomile. Both these ingredients are very soothing, as well as helping to reduce dryness and improve the skin’s healing abilities.
You also need to look at the type of foods you eat. It’s important to choose healthy foods, because the healthier your body, the healthier your skin will be. You may not realize this, but your skin is actually the largest organ of your body. So it needs to be nourished just like all the other organs in your body. Depending on the types of food you already eat, you might need to consider taking a supplement, such as Vitamin E, Omega-3 oils and B-Complex vitamins. Making sure you get enough of these important nutrients is a great way to improve the condition of your skin.
By nourishing your skin in both these ways, you should soon a marked reduction in the level of dryness. Helping your skin to be more supple and moist also helps to slow down the process of aging, so you’re the winner in two ways.
By Tom Turner
Our skin is the largest organ of the body and protects the rest of our organs from outside elements and harm. We have all been taught to take care of our skin not only to look good, but also to be healthy.
The benefits of eating natural, whole foods have been getting a lot of press in recent years. If you want beautiful skin, a healthyinside will reflect a healthy outside. Today, natural anti aging skin care is the fastest growing area in the skin care and beauty industry.
Why natural anti aging products? Beauty products have been known to contain many chemicals such as parabens, to preserve their shelf life. Parabens are actually harmful to the skin, and overall health. Natural anti aging skin care products are all natural and do not contain any chemicals or preservatives. The key ingredients used to make these products contain few if any toxins or chemicals.
You may then ask, “Do natural skin care products expire more quickly than others?” The answer is no. In order to extend the product’s shelf life, manufacturers recommend you use something sanitary–such as a spatula–to remove products from containers and always close containers directly after use. It is widely agreed upon that once skin care products of any kind are opened and exposed to air, they should be used or thrown out after 6 months.
When natural or organic skin care products are used to treat skin disorders such as eczema and acne, they are much less likely to cause irritation to sensitive skin. Choosing natural anti aging is a beneficial and safe way to take care of your skin and overall health. Today there are many natural anti aging skin care lines and products to choose from, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, make-up and even anti-aging serums. Some natural products you may already have at home are: essential oils like ginger and tea tree, natural anti aging plant oils such as grape seed and almond oil, and herbs such as lavender and green tea. You can use these in your bath or make fabulous natural anti aging, facial treatments. The internet or your local library has hundreds of great recipes to choose.
Natural anti aging fruit extracts such as papaya, apples, citrus and cucumbers are proven to have a healthy effect on the skin, due to the absence of toxic pesticides. As you can imagine, there are many great natural anti aging skin care lines available for retail, if you’re not interested in making your own home remedies. However, “natural anti aging” doesn’t always mean organic or pure and labels can be deceiving; do some research on ingredients that seem skeptical.
The intent of this article is to help you be aware what you are putting on your skin and what harmful ingredients may be looming in your favorite skin care products. Now that you know more about natural anti aging skin care follow the below home recipe for a great glow!
Make sure that your at home ingredients are certified organic or all natural.
Moisturizing Avocado Mask:
1 avocado, 1 teaspoon of apple vinegar, 1 egg white, 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Peel and mash avocado. Separate and beat egg white, add to mashed avocado along with other ingredients. Apply to face and wash off after 20 minutes.
Ahh aging. That all-time nemesis of the twenty-first century. Everywhere you go, people are trying to look younger. We buy all sorts of high-tech anti aging skincare products, try exercise regimes, new workouts, spending hundreds or even thousands on spa treatments, facials and invasive surgical procedures. Just so they can look 5 to 10 years younger. And what is the bottom line? WHY are we all trying to erase the signs of our maturity and experiences? Many blame media or modern culture for putting such a high value on youth and vigor that all other valuable attributes have simply slipped away. Indeed, we see evidence of this all too often - from the workplace that lets their oldest employee go for “budgetary” reasons, to the new dating trend preference of of choosing someone 10 to 20 years your junior.
Maybe it’s the inevitable fear of death that keeps most of us clinging to our years already gone by, but our society looses so much of its value and wisdom by simply paying attention to the surface appearance. Doesn’t it make more sense to take care of yourself as best as you can and age gracefully - without regret or expensive ‘restoration work’?
Of course, most of us would all like to live longer and have a better quality of life. To have the gift of good health in your later years, it makes sense to take care of yourself in your youth. Here are some common-sense lifestyle tips and natural remedies to help grow old youthfully.
Drink More Water
Water makes up approximately 60% of the human body, and there is water in every cell of the body. We cannot survive without water for longer than a few days. With age our sense of thirst gradually diminishes, and the water content of body decreases so many elderly people are somewhat dehydrated. Dehydration is linked to allergies, hypertension, general aches and pains and of course, bad digestion.
Use Organic or Natural Skincare Products
Natural skin care goes beyond the application of products on one’s skin. It also pertains to a holistic philosophy surrounding the care of one’s body. This includes the belief that what is ingested will affect all aspects of health, including the health of skin. People who use natural skin care products are less concerned with artificial beauty enhancements, as they feel that natural beauty is healthy beauty.
Some examples of natural skin care ingredients include jojoba, safflower oil, rose hip seed oil, shea butter, beeswax, witch hazel, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and chamomile. Many of these natural ingredient combinations can be tailored specifically to the individual’s skin type or skin condition.
Easier said than done for some, but a healthy diet is essential to your well-being. The old saying “You are what you eat” rings true when we see the rise in dietary related diseases. Don’t be caught digging your grave with your teeth. A balanced diet of fresh, whole (non-processed), organic and preferably raw food should be a large part of your diet.
Basic Guidelines For A Simplified Balanced Diet
* Avoid white flour products
* Eat whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet etc.
* Avoid sugar - rather use honey, agave, xylitol or stevia.
* Eat a variety of legumes (beans, lentils etc.)
* Avoid all hydrogenated fats (margarine etc.)
* Avoid fried foods
* Include low-starch vegetables preferably eaten raw.
* Include foods rich in omega-3 fats.
* Include low-fat, organic protein sources (fish, spirulina, organic whey protein, quinoa)
* Include fresh organic fruit (especially from the super food range) and raw nuts.
* Avoid colourants, flavourants, preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
Whole foods are better than processed. Refined foods result in both a measurable loss of nutrients and an unbalanced food, which creates imbalance in the body when eaten. Living food (such as fresh fruit and vegetables) are more nutritious and better than “dead food” (such as canned foods). Foods grown in “live soil” (organic food) is better than food grown in “sterile soil”. This has largely depleted trace minerals in foods.
How Does Eating Sugar Make You Old?
Eating sugar causes your body to secrete high levels of insulin. Insulin and the stress hormone, cortisol, are two hormones that can dramatically speed up the aging process. Sugar depresses the immune system; it contributes to atherosclerosis, and it causes oxidative stress by creating AGEs (advanced glycosylated end-products). These accumulate in body tissues such as the skin (causing age spots), arteries, kidneys and brain. In other words, eating sugar makes you old.
Exercise is one of your key weapons in the fight against premature aging. Medical studies prove time and time again that physical exercise is a key factor in the
prevention of chronic disease as well as beneficial for mental function. The main benefit of exercise is the increased oxygen to the brain, heart and other organs which in turn increases their well-being and functioning. Bouncing on a mini-trampoline is a well recommended form of exercise that can be done in the comfort of your own home and at a time that suits your schedule.
The body detoxifies itself naturally through the skin and other organs of elimination. Assist your body with its cleansing ability by making some lifestyle changes. You need to minimize your exposure to external toxins: changes like drinking pure water, eating organic food, avoiding sources of air pollution and exposure to tobacco, and limiting consumption of alcohol, preservatives, caffeine, sugar and processed foods.
Simple measures like bathing daily, dry brushing, exercising, keeping hydrated, supplementing with herbal remedies that support the organs (like milk thistle for the liver), deep breathing and eating healthily are good routines to follow.
Get Some Sunshine
Natural Vitamin D is another key weapon in the pursuit of good health and longevity. Sunlight is the best form of Vitamin D and its levels in the body affects the entire body. Modern science is now realizing that vitamin D does more than just aid the absorption of calcium and bone formation. It is also involved in multiple repair and maintenance functions, touches hundreds of different genes, and helps to fight infection by regulating the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic across the world and contributes to many chronic debilitating diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and depression, as well as cognitive impairment in older people. Avoid synthetic Vitamin D2 in supplements like fortified foods as high doses have been found to be toxic.
Get More Sleep
Good quality sleep is essential, in fact some say that it’s the best anti-aging tool. While we sleep,the body “recharges” and repairs. The 24-hour circadian rhythm is our internal clock and governs the body’s functions.. This clock helps the body to adapt to the time of day and to environmental changes. Studies have shown a co-dependency between the circadian clock and the body’s metabolism and cellular performance. Disrupted sleep patterns can adversely affect health especially mental health. Some effects include short-term memory loss and impaired creativity as well as weight gain or loss and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and may cause decreased production of melatonin, which is produced by the brain during sleep.
Take pleasure in living healthily and make good choices in nutrition, exercise, weight management, mental attitude, work and relationships. This will stand you in good stead for your later years.
1. Science Daily March 19, 2009: How Your Body Clock Regulates Your Metabolism.
4. Bland JS. Improving Genetic Expression in the Prevention of the Disease of Aging - A Functional Medicine Approach to Anti-aging Medicine. Gig Harbour, WA:
HealthComm Intl, 1998
5. Grossman T. The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Living Forever. Golden, CO: Hubristic Press, 2000:127
According to Natural News Sources, Telomeres, regions of DNA which protect the ends of chromosomes from destruction, have made big news in 2009.
In fact, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded this year to researchers who investigated the nature of telomeres. Why all the interest? It appears telomeres hold the key to why we age because when a cell becomes old and dies, it’s due to the shortening of chromosomal telomeres. So, if you could keep the length of telomeres from changing, that might literally halt aging. And now comes research showing there is a natural way to impact telomeres and produce an anti-aging effect — long-term physical activity.
According to research just reported in the journal Circulation, intensive exercise can prevent a shortening of telomeres. That, the scientists found, results in a protective effect against aging on a cellular level and could be especially important in keeping the cardiovascular system healthy. So, while you can slather on expensive creams and opt for plastic surgery, if you want to actually slow down aging, your best bet is to get moving and exercise regularly.
A research team from Saarland University in Homburg, Germany, measured the length of telomeres in blood samples from a group of 32 professional runners with an average age of 20 who were on the German National Team of Track and Field. The young men regularly trained by running about 73 kilometers (km) — a little over 45 miles — each week. The scientists also measured the length of telomeres from the blood of middle-aged athletes (average age 51) who had participated in continuous endurance exercise since their youth and who ran about 80 km, or almost 50 miles, per week. These findings were then compared to the telomere lengths found in a group of healthy non-smokers, matched for age with the athletes, who didn’t exercise regularly.
The results? The scientists discovered that long-term exercise training activated an enzyme known as telomerase which reduces telomere shortening in human leukocytes (white blood cells). Telomere loss was found to be far lower in the older, master athletes who had been exercising for decades. Bottom line: the rate of telomere loss that is assumed to be normal as we grow older and that leads to the physical signs of aging can, in fact, be dramatically slowed through long term, vigorous exercise.
“This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise. Physical exercise could prevent the aging of the cardiovascular system, reflecting this molecular principle,” Ulrich Laufs, M.D., the study’s lead author and professor of clinical and experimental medicine in the department of internal medicine at Saarland University, said in a statement to the media. “The most significant finding of this study is that physical exercise of the professional athletes leads to activation of the important enzyme telomerase and stabilizes the telomere.”
What’s more, previous animal studies by Dr. Laufs and colleagues have shown that exercise exerts effects on proteins that not only stabilize telomeres but also protect cells from deterioration and programmed cell death. “Our data improves the molecular understanding of the protective effects of exercise on the vessel wall and underlines the potency of physical training in reducing the impact of age-related disease,” Dr. Laufs concluded.
What is that Spot?
As time goes on, we start to notice brown spots and freckles — “souvenirs of Florida” — on the backs of our hands and on other sun exposed areas like the upper chest and face. At first these brown spots are small and light colored, but eventually they become a cosmetic problem — an obvious sign of premature aging of the skin because of ultraviolet damage from sun exposure or from tanning beds. (Learn more about Sun Damage)
By using modern high-SPF sunscreens like Ombrelle-60™ or Anthelios-60™ we can safely enjoy outdoor activities like gardening, golf and boating, and greatly reduce the rate at which our skin deteriorates. Patients who get into the habit of applying Retisol-A 0.01% cream (a prescription product which combines a retinoid and an SPF-15 sunscreen) to their faces every morning will usually see a considerable improvement in the appearance of their skin after 1-2 years, and if treatment is continued long-term patients will notice that their skin ages more slowly.
Hats and sun protective clothing can also slow down the rate at which “age spots” appear – and also reduce the chance that we will develop skin cancer. You can learn more about how to prevent sun damage, learn about the early warning signs of skin cancer and see photos of typical skin cancers at Skin Cancer Guide.ca.
The early warning signs of skin cancer include:
* new and unusual growths on the skin
* moles and freckles which have unusual colors or mixtures of colors
* moles and freckles with irregular borders
* growths on the skin which bleed, or which form an open sore which does not heal within a few weeks.
It is not too late for those of us who already have sun spots and age spots. I have seen many patients who had sun damage improve gradually over a period of 3-5 years simply in response to daily sun protection. For those who want more rapid and complete improvement in their sun damaged skin, one or two treatments with the Medlite™ laser can fade or eliminate brown “age spots” on the face, chest and hands within a few weeks.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments, for example with the Cutera Xeo-600, can be used in cases where there is a background of tiny freckles and brown discoloration – sometimes erasing 20 years of irregular pigment with a series of 20 minute treatments! Where there is severe sun damage or when a person wishes the most rapid improvement (for example, if a daughter is getting married in two months) a medicine called Levulan™ is applied to the skin for one hour before treatment with the Cutera Xeo-600. Levulan™ is absorbed by cells in the skin which are misbehaving, and then is activated by light from the Xeo-600. The abnormal cells are shed from the skin over a period of 1-2 weeks, revealing fresher, healthier skin – and giving the patient a “fresh start”.
What ever the type of spot – if you have concerns, or if you see changes in its appearance, it is important that you have it inspected by your family physician or dermatologist.
If there is one skin condition we would all like to avoid, it’s the appearance of aging before its time. The signs of aging can appear as early as our 20s. While there is truly nothing we can do to slow the passage of time, there are measures we can take to minimize the appearance that time has passed. Here are the five places aging shows up first and what you can do to keep time from catching up with you.
Nothing says “mature” like those telltale lines radiating out from the eye. The biggest cause of crow’s feet is sun exposure. The thin skin around the eyes has very little collagen and elastin to begin with. Every time you skip the sunscreen and run outside for “just a minute,” you put yourself at risk for these crinkly cretins. Protect yourself with an eye cream that contains retinoids, peptides or antioxidants and, of course, sunscreen. Newer Sunscreen products with Zinc provide the unsurpassed UVA protection of zinc oxide without the opaque “”white-out”" that has reduced zinc oxide’s appeal in the past.
Your mouth is one of the highlights of your face, so don’t let those fine lines get a foothold. Believe it or not, there was some truth when your mother warned you that your face could stick like that – puckering your lips, pursing them, smoking or even talking animatedly all take a toll on the sensitive skin around your mouth. Of course, sun exposure plays a big role here as well. The best preventative measures you can take are sunscreen and moisturizer. Like the skin around your eyes, the skin around your mouth can hold onto youth with the help of retinoids and peptides – and avoiding continued repetitive mouth movements.
Hyperpigmentation is a long word for a variety of skin color issues including brown spots, freckles and uneven dark patches. A recent study in The American Journal of Dermatology found that hyperpigmentation is the most recognized sign of age – above even fine lines and wrinkles themselves. There are a variety of causes of hyperpigmentation and not all of them can be avoided but, once again, sun exposure is the chief culprit. The sun can accentuate existing freckles and cause dark patches to emerge. Other causes include rising estrogen levels brought on by some birth control medications. To protect yourself, once again, it’s sunscreen to the rescue. For dark patches that have already shown up, hydroquinone has been shown to be an effective bleaching agent.
Recent research has pointed to allergies as having more to do with dark circles than lack of sleep. Allergies can cause inflammation and dilated blood vessels under the eyes. If dark circles have reared their ugly head, try an over the counter allergy medication with an antihistamine. There are other causes of these dark circles as well – some of which you cannot control. There is a web of fine veins under your eyes that can add unwanted color in that area and iron oxide can also leak from the capillaries under the eyes – apparently from sinus inflammation. There is little you can do about the presence of these blood vessels, but you can keep them from getting worse. The skin is thin and the light trauma of even rubbing your eyes can cause damage and darken these circles.