A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Wrinkles
I had a question the other day about wrinkles.
Wrinkles form when your skin thins and loses its elasticity.
As long as your skin is supple, creasing disappears as soon as you stop making the expression causing it.
But skin that’s lost its suppleness keeps the lines formed by smiling or frowning, for example, even after you’ve assumed a more neutral expression.
Over time, these lines deepen into wrinkles.
Some wrinkling is a result of aging and is probably inevitable; no matter what you do, you’ll develop some lines just by living long enough.
With aging, all skin cells begin to make excess amounts of free radicals – unstable atoms and molecules normally removed by naturally occurring antioxidants within your skin cells.
In aging skin cells, antioxidants are in short supply.
The free radicals cause damage to cell membranes, proteins, and DNA.
These free radicals eventually break down collagen, a protein in connective tissue, and release chemicals causing skin inflammation.
It’s a combination of these events that leads to skin aging and the formation of wrinkles.
The first signs of wrinkles usually appear in the delicate tissue around your eyes – smile lines or “crow’s feet.”
Your cheeks and lips show damage next.
As you age, your skin becomes thinner and dryer, both of which contribute to the formation of wrinkles.
But other factors help to determine the rate and extent of wrinkling, including diet and nutrition, muscle tone, habitual facial expressions, stress, proper skin care (or lack thereof), exposure to environmental pollutants, and lifestyle habits like smoking.
Heredity probably also plays a role.
The most important factor of all is sun exposure, which not only dries out your skin but also leads to the generation of free radicals that can damage skin cells.
The sun is your skin’s worst enemy.
Much of what we think of as signs of age are actually signs of overexposure to sunlight.
And, overexposure doesn’t necessarily mean sunbathing or sunburn; approximately 70% of sun damage happens during everyday activities like driving and walking to and from your car.
The ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays doing this damage are present all day long and in all seasons.
These rays erode the elastic tissues in your skin, causing wrinkling.
Worse, the effects of the sun are cumulative, although they may not be obvious for many years.
To deal with wrinkles it’s beneficial to:
*Drink at least 2 quarts of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (even if you’re not thirsty).
*Acerola hydrates your skin.
*Alfalfa, borage, burdock root, oat straw, red raspberry, and thyme are all good for general nourishment of your hair, skin, and nails.
*Aloe vera has soothing, healing, and moisturizing properties. Apply pure aloe vera gel to dry skin as directed on the label.
*Witch hazel is very useful in skin care.
*Other herbs beneficial for skin tone include borage seed, cranberry, flaxseed, ginger root, lavender, lemongrass, parsley, and pumpkin seed.
*Eat a well-balanced diet including many and varied fruits and vegetables, preferably raw and organic, to give your skin the nutrients it needs. Also eat whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.
*Get fatty acids from cold-pressed olive oil. Avoid saturated and animal fats.
*Don’t smoke, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. These dry out your skin, making it more vulnerable to wrinkling. In addition, the smoking habit means pursing your lips 100s of times each day. The creases forming when you inhale often develop into wrinkles at a comparatively early age.
*No matter what your age or skin type, protect yourself from the sun. Always apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to all exposed areas of skin, especially your face, regardless of the season or the weather. Sun exposure is the single greatest source of skin damage.
*Get regular exercise. Exercise increases the circulation of blood to your skin.
*Exercise your face. Sit in a chair and extend your jaw in an exaggerated chewing motion. Stretch the muscles under your chin and the front of your neck. Lying on a slant board for 15 minutes a day is also good.
*Avoid alcohol-based toning products. Use witch hazel or an herbal/floral water instead.
*Pay attention to your facial expressions. If you find yourself squinting, raising your eyebrows, or making some other wrinkle-inducing expression over and over again, you can make a conscious effort to stop.
*Practice good skin care and keep your skin well lubricated, especially if it’s dry.
*Avoid using harsh soaps or solid cleansing creams like cold cream on your face. Use natural oils like avocado oil instead to remove dirt and old makeup. Apply it gently to your face and rinse it off with warm water. Use a facial sponge or loofah several times a week to remove dead, dry skin cells and stimulate circulation.
*Don’t apply heavy oils around your eyes before going to bed. This may cause eyes to be puffy in the morning.
*Limit your use of cosmetics, and choose the ones you do use carefully. Don’t share your cosmetics, and replace them every 3 months.
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