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Published Articles - Anti-Aging: A Holistic Approach

Anti-Aging: A Holistic Approach
Part Three – Healthy Skin

How many times have we heard the saying: "beauty is only skin deep". This time-worn saw is, however, only partly true. In the previous two articles we discussed the importance of a healthy mind and body in anti aging, and now it is time to look at the final piece of the puzzle, healthy skin. The skin is, after all, the body's first line of defense against the elements, and cannot be ignored in any holistic anti-aging regimen.

For years our culture has seen a sun-kissed body as a beauty ideal. After all, what is more attractive, a bronzed Adonis or a pasty white one? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Some people even worsen the sun damage to their skin by bombarding it with extremely damaging UV radiation in tanning booths, that cause both more intense and deeper damage than the sun does itself. The simple fact is that today's tanned Adonis is tomorrow's wrinkled, saggy-skinned old man. Unlike natural aging, which is characterized by the deepening of normal expression lines, photoaging (sun/UV damage) may result in deep wrinkles and coarseness, as well as making the skin leathery and mottled, along with a whole host of other, decidedly unattractive and unhealthy side effects. After all, a tan is actually the skin's way of trying to protect itself from the sun's damaging rays and the darker the tan the worse the damage. The importance of a high-SPF sunscreen and sunglasses cannot be overstated. In fact, the best way to preserve your beautiful healthy skin into old age is to only go out in the sun fully clothed from head to toe. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible for anyone to go through life completely unscathed by the sun's damaging rays.

However, the sun is just one of the many environmental factors that can cause the skin to age prematurely. Smoking is bad for the heart, lungs and yes, the skin. Cigarette smoke, like many airborne toxins, plays a role in the skin's aging and should be avoided as much as possible. Pollution, whether it is indoors or outdoors, is damaging to the skin and causes premature aging. No matter how sexy the cigarette manufacturers may tell us smoking is, once again, today's sexy smoker is tomorrow's wheezing, wrinkled cancer patient. A good rule of thumb is that if it is unhealthy when ingested, it is bad for the skin. Furthermore, extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and wind, as well as airborne pollutants, can all play a roll in aging the skin and should be avoided as much as possible.

Inflammation and trauma to the skin can also cause damage and hence premature aging. In fact, many beauty treatments, such as dermabrasion, laser resurfacing and masks must all be performed by a skilled, trained professional in order to avoid damaging the very skin they are attempting to treat.

So, now that we know what is bad for the skin, what can we do to reverse all of the damage that we are causing? Ideally, proper skin care, including the use of effective sun protection, should start at about six months of age. Unfortunately, however, most of us come late to the game when it comes to effective skin care, so we have to play catch up.

While there are many companies out there touting the next best thing in anti-aging skin care, the truth of the matter is that the best solution is a complete, optimized skin care system with steps that work synergistically to reduce and reverse the signs of aging and keep the skin healthy and young looking. Such ingredients as Retin-A™, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin-C), essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic complex, super oxide dismutase and a whole host of anti-oxidants and free radical fighters can, when properly formulated and combined, provide proven, visible anti-aging results. Furthermore, procedures such as peels, laser resurfacing and dermabrasion can all help repair damaged skin, but even these are most effective when used in conjunction with an effective skin care regimen. While many people resort to cosmetic surgery to try to keep their looks, the truth is that even this is merely a quick fix unless it is combined with a complete skin care system that addresses the skins many needs. In fact, in order to get optimal results from any cosmetic surgery you must take good care of your skin. Saggy skin that has lost its elasticity will not respond as well or heal as quickly as healthy skin after any surgical procedure. There is no quick fix to true anti-aging skin care: while there is a wide range of options, the fact is that there are no shortcuts to beautiful, healthy skin.

In the quest for that oh-so-elusive fountain of youth we are willing to do and spend just about anything. Personal trainers, psychologists, plastic surgery, you name it; if we can afford it we do it. The truth, however, is that no matter what you do, you must keep a balance between preventative and proactive measures and must realize that true anti-aging is a lifestyle decision, not some elixir or procedure that promises a quick fix. We have to take care of our minds, bodies and yes, skin if we want to look and feel as good as possible as we grow older. We must remember that the skin is not just the outer shell that people see when they look at us, but is also our first line of defense against the envi ron ment, as well as our body's single largest organ. Good, effective skin care must be an integral part of any anti-aging routine as it affects both our physical and mental states. As our life expectancy is increasing, it is ever more important to pay attention to our health to ensure that we age gracefully and can enjoy our lives into our autumn years. Who doesn't want to look and feel good as long as they can?


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