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We all know that wrinkles can come with age. But the right ritual can do much to guard against wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin.
It’s all about giving your skin what it needs.
The reason skin gets wrinkly or saggy is that our body produces less collagen as we age. This collagen is an important part of the structure of our skin and important for keeping it firm and youthful. As our collagen production decreases our skin becomes thinner, drier and less elastic. Which then brings on the wrinkles.
How can we create a ritual to defeat wrinkles? Here are some specific tips that you can add to your skincare ritual to stay ahead of the wrinkles.
Any natural health care ritual is going to begin with what you eat. That includes a natural skin care ritual since our skin reflects our health. There is a lot of talk these days about gut health. In fact, studies have shown a connection between the health of our gut and how our skin is doing. So if you want your skin to thrive, pay attention to your gut by minding what foods you are putting in your mouth.
Foods to avoid include anything processed. The more processed food is, the less likely it is to help our body and skin thrive. Be cautious with eating meat and dairy because it is mucus-forming and hard to digest. One study showed adverse reactions to the skin and aging in people who consumed a high amount of meat and dairy.
On the other hand, including a nice mix of vegetables, olive oil and legumes in your diet was shown in this same study to be protective against the types of skin damage that cause wrinkles. Vegetables like broccoli are high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which is necessary for our body’s natural production of collagen. Other great foods to add to your ritual include red bell peppers, blueberries, spinach, almonds and avocados. These are all foods with nutrients that help to keep the skin firm and youthful.
Our skin is made up of 64% water, which means drinking water to maintain this level is important. When there is not enough water for our skin it can cause dehydration, which can cause the appearance of aging in our skin. This can affect elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Generally the suggestion is that you figure your weight in pounds and drink half that many ounces of water every day.
Nourishing your skin topically can be as important as nourishing it from the inside. Many products on the market are made with mineral oil or other petroleum by-products. The problem with these ingredients is that their molecules are larger than the pores of your skin and can’t really soak in and nourish the skin. Choose moisturizers that are made with plant-based oils like almond oil, shea butter, avocado oil and jojoba oil. Olive oil is also very nourishing to the skin. These plant-based oils have molecules that can soak into the skin and nourish it from within.
Understanding jojoba oil shows a bit of what these plant-based oils can do for your skin (although it can be exciting to understand the benefits of each oil). Jojoba is similar to our skin’s sebum, which is the oil our skin produces. It is rich in skin-loving vitamins like A, D and E. It also contains minerals like chromium, copper and zinc as well as omega fatty acids. Overall, this is an oil that will help keep your skin plump and healthy.
As a Master Herbalist, I always get especially excited about the power of the herbs. Here are some of my favorite skin-loving herbs:
Comfrey is an herb that contains allantoin, a substance that supports the body in its ability to grow new cells, which makes it a perfect skin herb. It also supports collagen production and helps keep our skin looking young and supple.
Calendula is part of the marigold family and it is the bright yellow and orange flowers that are used. It is full of antioxidants which promote collagen production. Calendula, otherwise known as Pot Marigold, is one of the favorite herbs for nourishing and caring for the skin.
Chickweed is another favorite and is mainly known for its help with itchy skin and is often used for inflammation. It also may support collagen production.
We keep coming back to that collagen production and how important it is in keeping the skin tight and well to avoid developing wrinkles or sagging skin. Hopefully you are seeing the big picture and realizing that we have many tools to promote that type of wellness in our skin.
Speaking of collagen production, regular exfoliation is another way to promote this healthy skin protein. In addition, by exfoliating you help to remove the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. The skin has a natural process of creating new skin cells and sloughing off the old ones on the surface. When we exfoliate our skin it supports this process and helps bring the newer cells to the surface.
We’ve talked a lot about collagen and supporting the body’s natural production. In addition to the previous tips it can be beneficial to take a collagen supplement. There are many types of collagen and many options, but generally the supplements with collagen types 1 & 3 are recommended for supporting the skin. There are also plant-based supplements available that are formulated to support the body’s natural production of collagen.
Finally…make sure you get a good night’s sleep. It matters more than we sometimes realize. Not only for our well-being, but also for our skin health. This is the time when our blood flow increases and the body builds the collagen and repairs the damage from the day. If you are struggling to sleep, make sure you have a ritual for bedtime that does not include computer or television screens. Turn down the lights before bedtime to signal to your body that it is almost time to rest. If you are still having trouble, there are natural, melatonin-free supplements that support the body in this function.
Enjoy building your ritual as you choose which tips to work on first. I always say that it is better to implement a couple things at a time than to try to make all of the changes at once. Choose which are the most urgent for you and enjoy the journey.