I can’t give you an exact timeframe for the aging process, but when we reach our late thirties and early forties, many of us start to notice changes. Our skin begins to thin, lines start to show around the eyes and above the lips, and the lips thin and wrinkle a bit. You may also notice discoloration (our mothers called these “age spots”) or an overall sallow look. Looking closer in the mirror, you might also see enlarged pores and broken capillaries. Just as you enter middle age, which is a demanding, busy time for women, it seems unfair that nature is taking its toll.
We are fortunate to live in an era when modern science can help us postpone the look and feel of middle age. We all know that lifestyle and dietary changes can help us look and feel younger. But did you know that with the right skin care ingredients, your face can look younger too?
Through my work, I’ve seen proof that we don’t have to age like our mothers’ generation. Plastic surgery is not the only way. By drawing on the medical breakthroughs of the last few decades, which include new treatments and potent new ingredients, you can repair and rejuvenate your skin and look younger. You simply need knowledge about aging and what can be done to delay it. Let me be your guide.
Theories of How We Age
The only way to combat aging is to understand how it works at the molecular and cellular level. Let’s take a look at the most common theories of aging:
Telomeres Theory of Aging – Telomeres are DNA sequences that appear at the end of each chromosome. Each time your cells divide, these telomeres shorten, which lead to cellular dysfunction and aging. While you may hear about products that can protect your telomeres, I believe there’s not much we can do yet to affect this process.
Free-Radical or Oxidative Theory of Aging – Free-radicals are unstable and reactive molecules that go looking for healthy molecules they can attach to. When free-radicals attach, they cause harm to the donor molecules. When it comes to your skin, this chain reaction leads to wrinkles, thinning skin and weaker muscles. Anti-oxidants – like beta-carotene, Vitamin C, grapeseed extract, and others – can provide effective protection against free-radicals.
Membrane Theory of Aging – Cell membranes become less pliable as we age, which means that the efficiency of the flow of fluids in and out of cells is compromised, leading to many skin problems, including discoloration – those “age spots.” Hyaluronic acid, acetyl-l-carnitine and carnosine can help improve the pliability of cell membranes and help with discoloration.
Mitochondrial Theory of Aging – Protecting mitochondria, the tiny power plants within each cell in our bodies, is essential in delaying the aging process. Anti-oxidants can help give our mitochondria a boost, as can Pregnenolone and acetyl-l-carnitine.
Glycation and Protein Carbonylation Theory of Aging – Glycation occurs when there’s too much glucose circulating in the bloodstream, which can ultimately make your skin tougher and less flexible. Keeping blood glucose (blood sugar) levels low is an important goal if you want to keep the aging process at bay. Protein carbonylation is like glycation and also can damage healthy skin tissue. Carnosine can help reduce glycation and protein carbonylation.
Hormonal Theory of Aging – According to this theory, nearly all hormones – at least the good hormones, like HGH (human growth hormone) and estrogen – decline with age. To combat aging, some of these hormones can be replaced. But some of the “bad” hormones, like insulin and cortisol, increase with age and can be responsible for muscle breakdown and thinning of the skin. Watching your diet and your weight can help keep insulin and cortisol levels in check.
Metabolic Theory of Aging – The metabolic theory of aging takes into account both the good and bad hormones, along with your diet and lifestyle. Let me first describe something you can’t affect through diet and lifestyle, which is HGH (human growth hormone). HGH is nothing short of a miracle; it helps your body grow, maintain and repair itself. The best way to get HGH is through injections, but these are quite expensive and must be done under strict medical supervision. HGH is not a do-it-yourself option. While HGH injections aren’t possible for most of us, we can do something about another hormone that affects our metabolism: insulin. You can control your insulin levels and it doesn’t involve injections or expense. You can keep your insulin levels low by eating right and exercising. Eating minimal carbohydrates, avoiding simple sugars, and getting proper exercise are the key.
Anatomy of a Wrinkle
A wrinkle is made up of three parts:
To win the war on wrinkles, you have to treat not only the skin, but the underlying muscle and fat layers. Short of injectible fillers, there isn’t much you can do about the subcutaneous fat component of a wrinkle. So let’s examine the things you can do to treat the skin and muscle components: