There are millions of products out there that promise to reverse the signs of aging and while some of them have proven to be effective, they often fail to reach the deeper layers of the skin in order to lastingly influence the skin aging process.
So, doesn’t it makes more sense to work from the inside out? We all know that using sunscreen is incredibly important but here are other science-based ways to keep your skin glowing and youthful.
Eat Gelatin or Supplement with Collagen
Collagen is something our bodies naturally produce by breaking down protein into amino acids. Of course, eating a balanced and protein-rich diet that includes lots of vegetables and fruits is key, but as we age, our body’s ability to produce collagen tends to decrease.
If you have a poor diet, spend a lot of time in the sun or smoke, then that decrease in collagen production happens more rapidly. That being said, studies have shown that supplementing with bioavailable nutritional collagen peptides has been proven to reach the dermis and improve the density and elasticity of skin (1). Our personal favorite is made by Vital Proteins.
Otherwise, functional medicine naturopathic physician, Dr. Jolene Brighten, recommends eating 2 tablespoons of gelatin every day to improve collagen production and elasticity of the skin. She recommends Great Lakes gelatin.
Water has an incredible amount of functions in the body, but it also is important for keeping your skin healthy and youthful. For one, water hydrates your cells making them more plump and therefore appear more youthful.
For two, it’s incredibly important for keeping you regular in the bathroom department. If you’re constipated, excess hormones can get recirculated back into the bloodstream creating hormonal imbalances that can make your skin appear dull and puffy.
Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water, plus another 15oz!
Get your stress under control
Cortisol, your body’s flight-or-fight hormone, is our primary stress hormone. It increases when we’re in acute danger, but if we’re constantly walking around like a tightly-wound stress ball (like most of us are), cortisol will break down collagen in the skin and cause premature wrinkles. Here’s how to manage your stress:
- Breathe. When you feel a bout of stress or anxiety come on, stop and take 10 deep breaths. I know it sounds very “crunchy granola” but deep breaths helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest & digest” part of the nervous system — opposite of cortisol’s “flight or fight” response in the nervous system.
- Meditate. Use a meditation app to practice slowing down and increasing your mindfulness.
- Carve out “you”-time every day. Whatever it is that relaxes you — curling up with a cup of tea, praying, stretching, taking a warm bath, etc. — make time for that thing every day.
Bedtime is prime time for the body to recover and repair damaged cells. Getting enough sleep is important for increasing your skins integrity. You can almost immediately notice how much more youthful your skin looks after a good night’s rest, so imagine if you consistently clocked in 7+ hours of good quality sleep? Here’s how:
- Sleep in a quiet room that is completely dark
- Don’t use any electronics 90 minutes before bed, or invest in a pair of blue-light blocking glasses, like these.
- Keep your room relatively cool, around 62-ish degrees
- Practice mindfulness. Use a sleep meditation app, do a 5-minute journal, or write down a to-do list to get your mind ready for restful sleep.
Eat Vegetables High In Carotenoids
A variety of studies established that individuals with high carotenoid concentrations in their skin looked young for their age, while those who had low values appeared older (2). While that’s subjective, there is a study that proved that 4 servings of these vegetables a day resulted in more attractive skin in as little as six weeks (3). Foods high in carotenoids:
- Sweet potato
- Butternut Squash
- Bolke, L.; Schlippe, G.; Gerß, J.; Voss, W. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2494.
- Darvin, Maxim E. et al. “The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin.” Molecules vol. 16,12 10491–10506. 16 Dec. 2011, doi:10.3390/molecules161210491
- Whitehead RD, Re D, Xiao D, Ozakinci G, Perrett DI (2012) You Are What You Eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Beneficial Skin-Color Changes. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32988. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032988
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