There are some things we cannot control such as age and genetics. Maintaining youthful skin is not a modern obsession. Since ancient times, we have all been searching for ways to delay the signs of ageing, but recently it has become big business with billions of pounds spent every year on the latest products, treatments and plastic surgery. With so many options and competing skincare brands it can be difficult to find the truth behind the marketing. The good news is that with a good lifestyle, sensible skincare regime and natural treatments, factors that lead to skin ageing can be worked on to slow down the signs of ageing.
While we like to pamper our skin with creams, it is important to remember that practically all of your skin’s nutrition comes from within. Eating and drinking skin boosting foods and encouraging a healthy blood supply to the skin is essential to slow down the signs of skin ageing.
Since most skin damage comes from cell oxidation it is important to have a diet rich in antioxidants which soak up the free radicals in the body before they can react with your skin cells. All fresh fruit and vegetables have antioxidants and vitamins but one of the most potent forms of antioxidants are called Catechins which are found in tea.
White and Green tea generally have the highest amount of powerful anti-ageing antioxidants which is why they are used in China as skincare tonics. Tea also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties to help calm any skin break outs. We love Silver Needle tea (£7.95, chinalifeweb.com), drank in china to prevent skin ageing and maintain youthful looks. This tea drinking regime should be combined with water so that you drink about 2 litres of tea or water per day.
The term ‘beauty sleep’ is not too far from the truth. Sleep allows the skin to rejuvenate by stopping facial expressions and relaxing facial muscles. Lying down for an extended period also combats the constant pull of gravity on the skin. Getting rest also helps to de-stress the body, remove toxins and improve mood – all of which can help your complexion and facial appearance.
Your stress glands recharge between 11pm and 1am so you should try to be in bed by 10pm and asleep during this time. White noise from computers and other electrical devices can disturb your sleep so turn them off completely; don’t just put them on standby or silent. If you find it difficult to get into bed so early, try turning the temperature down below 21⁰C and blocking out all light and you will find yourself naturally getting sleepy.
Getting regular exercise is not just good for your body and stress levels but is also a great way of preventing premature skin ageing. It does this by stimulating the rapid flow of blood through your skin. This helps to draw away toxins and bring oxygen and other nutrients to the skin. Any kind of physical activity is good, including both active sports, and passive activities such as massage.
If your body is carrying around lots of toxins (for example from smoking) than this will contribute to skin damage. It is essential that you work on reducing the toxic load in the body and strengthening the detoxifying ability of the body.
Smoking is a terrible habit for your skin. Cigarette smoke contains toxins and cause free radicals to attack your skin. It also accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin which leads to premature wrinkles and skin sagging.
The regular consumption of alcohol also leads to premature skin ageing. Alcohol dilates the skin capillaries and if consumed in large amounts can lead to a permanent flushing and broken capillaries in the face. Alcohol also dehydrates the skin and aggravates skin irritation. Plus, alcohol depletes the body of Vitamin A which is an important skin antioxidant.
CHINESE MEDICAL COSMETOLOGY
As most skin ageing factors are related to internal factors like blood circulation, cell nutrition and body imbalances, it would therefore make sense to treat both your outer and internal health. Chinese medical cosmetology uses the natural power of herbs and acupuncture to tailor each treatment to the individuals needs. The result is reduction in skin-ageing, but also an improvement in internal health and mood.
Chinese Cosmetology is rapidly growing in popularity in the West with high profile names such as Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian and Sandra Bullock all using the technique to look great naturally. Theresa Velasquez, Chinese cosmetologists expert at AcuMedic clinic, explains “It works by invigorating Qi (the vital energy that makes you a living, breathing creature) and blood flow to the skin, as well as treating internal conditions which may be leading to aged, aggravated or dull looking skin.” Cosmetic acupuncture is effective for anti-ageing, skin rejuvenation and addressing any specific skin conditions.
Another secret to preventing ageing is to use a Jade Skin Roller (£19.60, shop.acumedic.com). For Centuries in China, Jade Rollers have been used as a daily routine to keep skin youthful. The coolness of the jade closes the pores and tightens the skin. The smaller roller is used around the eyes to help banish dark circles, reduce wrinkles and any puffiness. The larger roller helps to relieve stress from the forehead, cheeks, neck and jaw-line, improve circulation, skin elasticity, and stimulate tired muscles to improve tone.