By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
“You don’t look your age,” is a compliment we all want to hear. After all, who doesn’t want to look younger? Aging is a normal and biological process that all of us go through. Genetics, race, and the environment play a crucial part on how fast we age physically compared to others. But did you know that chronic inflammation can also make us age faster than ever before?
Inflammation is not a bad thing. It is, in fact, the opposite. Inflammation is a process that signals the cells in our body to fight and protect us from harmful organisms such as bacteria or viruses and repair damaged tissue. Sometimes, inflammation can be seen and felt, such as pain, redness, or swelling area of the skin, which is why we connote inflammation as something bad. Normally, inflammation should subside after healing, but for some, it does not. This is called chronic inflammation, it causes serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. And now, even skin-aging can be attributed to chronic inflammation as well. Constant sun exposure, air pollution, excessive sugar intake, poor immune system, stress, less hours of sleep, and more trigger chronic inflammation on the skin, causing wrinkles, sagging and dull skin, and enlarged pores.
If you or other people are starting to notice that you look older than you are, you might want to follow these tips take control of your skin and stop accelerated aging:
- Protect yourself from the sun Ultraviolet rays trigger free radicals that can wreak havoc on our cells and cause inflammation. Whether indoors or outdoors, make sure to wear broad spectrum sun block every day and re-apply every two to three hours, especially if you are under the sun most of the time.
- Move more, sleep more Aside from getting rid of toxins from your body, exercise releases endorphins, too, an anti-inflammatory hormone! It also decreases cortisol, the stress hormone, which is crucial as cortisol can disrupt tissue repair and even affect collagen production. Plus, clocking in the right amount of sleep keeps these endorphins high and allows our cells to repair so we wake up refreshed and feeling better. Do any moderate activity (or 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate, any higher may cause skin to sag) from 30 to 45 minutes, three to five times per week to amp up your body’s immune system and lessen inflammation.
- Go Mediterranean Ever heard of the Mediterranean diet? It is the ultimate anti-inflammatory diet consisting of organic whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids present in sardines and salmon, and healthy fats such as nuts. These are also low-glycemic foods, or food that can control sugar levels and avoid the incidence of certain diseases such as diabetes, stroke, depression, and cancer.
- Stop the sugar Sugar, as well as fried food, and food high in carbohydrates are high-glycemic foods, which means, it can raise the blood sugar and trigger inflammation. What’s more, excessive consumption can convert sugar into fat.
- Supplement your diet It is recommended to add these nutrients to your daily diet as these can aid in lessening inflammation and boosting overall health. These include omega-3, B-complex, vitamin C, and vitamin E, among others.
- Choose double-duty makeup and skin care You may want to change your skin care and makeup with additional benefits such as ones containing vitamin C and E that fight and stop accelerated aging. Products with alpha lipoic acid and tea tree oil fight inflammation as well.
While most of us are not afraid of getting old, all of us dread looking old. But it is never too late or too early to practice a healthy lifestyle. Slowly incorporate this into your daily life: swap rice with salad on one meal per day, use the stairs instead of the elevator, choose a glass of wine over a bottle of beer, sleep an hour earlier, and so on. And as you slowly take control of your skin, not only will you look better, but you will feel better, too!