Have you ever seen a friend after a long time and been taken aback by how different they look?
It could be their posture. It could be their clothing. But most likely it’s their skin which has aged faster than them.
You may notice the creases on the face. You may notice the deep wrinkles on their neck. You may notice the roughness of their hands.
This happens more in men, because men especially do not pay much attention to protecting their skin from the elements.
How about you? Have you noticed new wrinkles and fine lines when you looked in the mirror. Or sun spots which have a different coloration than your skin.
There is so much information out there. It’s hard to figure out what to do without spending the big bucks.
You’re not alone in thinking that thought. The beauty industry wants to sell you the new skincare serum of the month, every month. It’s quite annoying.
Is there a simpler way to get younger looking skin and delay the wrinkles and creases for longer?
There certainly is. Read on to find out how, and we promise it won’t involve expensive creams or serums.
Let’s get some basics out of the way first.
Basics of Human Skin
The human skin is made up of 3 layers. The skin protects us from the elements, permits the sensation of touch, helps regulate body temperature and much more.
The three layers are as follows:
Epidermis: This is the layer that is visible and provides the first line of protection for the body. The epidermis contains a few layers of mostly dead cells which protect the skin. Most of the skin cells in epidermis contain a protein called keratin. Keratin makes the epidermis strong and waterproof.
Another type of cells in the epidermis, Melanocytes, produce a protective pigment called melanin which gives color to the skin and creates our skin tone.
Dermis: This is the second layer, and it contains the collagen and elastin fibers, blood vessels, hair follicles, glands that produce sweat and sebum, nerves, and immune cells. This layer has all the important “stuff” and is 15-20 times thicker than the epidermis.
Hypodermis: This layer is made of fat cells and connective tissue and connects to the underlying fibrous tissue of the bones and muscles. This layer protects the body from trauma and insulates from cold. It acts as a storage place for fat.
The Dermis is the most important layer for the skin’s appearance because it has three critical components: collagen, elastic and glycosaminoglycans. These components are responsible for the upkeep of the skin. Let’s explore these.
Collagen is the crucial structural protein that holds the skin together. It provides the strength and firmness in the skin. Collagen is a major skin and connective tissue component and is the most abundant protein in the body (about 80% of the dermis is made up of collagen).
Collagen is a large protein and cannot be externally applied to the skin. Collagen is produced in the body using vitamin C and protein. Collagen is comprised of long fibers, which are made up of amino acids proline, glycine, arginine and hydroxyproline.
Collagen is produced throughout life, but the quantity produced naturally starts declining at about age 40.
Elastic is a very stretchy and resilient protein, and provides elasticity to the skin. Elastin causes your skin to bounce back when pushed, pulled or stretched. Elastin is present in low quantity in the dermis.
The amount of elastin peaks in early adulthood and declines thereafter. Elastin is made up of the amino acids glycine, valine, alanine and proline.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) are amino sugars (polysaccharides) and keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. GAG’s attract and bind to water from the blood vessels and keep the skin naturally moisturized. GAG’s fill the space between the collagen and elastin fibers.
Hyaluronic Acid is one of the most popular GAG’s, and it exists naturally in the dermis. Hyaluronic Acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water which is why it is used as a moisturizing agent in skincare. Other common GAG’s in the dermis are chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate, and dermatan sulfate.
GAG’s also start declining in our body after the age of 40.
What Happens as Skin Ages
Young and Old Skin: Dr. Kelly Bomer
When we are young, our skin is firm, plump and wrinkle-free.
We have great texture to the skin. There are no wrinkles or fine lines. When injured, the skin heals quickly with little to no scarring. Stretching the skin causes it to bounce back to its natural glowing state. The skin is also full of moisture giving it a healthy look. Finally, the skin is plump due to the baby fat in the tissues. Cheek bones are pronounced and sharp.
As we age, our production of Collagen, Elastin and GAG’s such as Hyaluronic Acid starts dropping. Lower levels of Collagen in the skin lead to a loss in firmness and tautness in the skin. Lower levels of Elastin lead to loss in elasticity of the skin, and along with the collagen loss lead to wrinkles and sagging skin with the appearance of folds.
If skin was exposed to the sun enough, age spots may be present. Smaller levels of GAG’s leads to reduced moisture and increased dryness and scaling.
Ageing of the skin takes on two forms, intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging.
Intrinsic aging is a natural process of aging which is guided by our genes and is passed on to us from our parents (hereditary). It affects the skin as it does all the other organs of your body. It is the normal process of cell turnover and it is not preventable.
Intrinsic aging varies from person to person. Some people seem like they won the genetic lottery and their skin looks great even as they age. When you ask them of their secrets to skin care, they typically just shrug and say their parents had great skin.
Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors such as sunlight, pollution, and presence of toxic elements. Prolonged exposure to the sun (also called photo-aging) is the greatest cause of extrinsic aging. Pollution and toxic elements such as tobacco and excess alcohol play a big role. Our diet and food choices lead to extrinsic aging as well.
Both intrinsic and extrinsic aging cause thinning of skin, dryness, loss of firmness, fine lines and deep wrinkles, dark spots and irregular pigmentation, and loss of elasticity.
So those are the facts.
The good news is that the majority of skin aging is caused during to external factors which we can control. We can control the food we eat, how much time we spend in the sun, if we smoke or drink, and our exposure to environmental toxins such as pollution.
Let’s discuss some proven ways to prevent and reverse damage to skin, so you can look way younger than your age.
You know you want to. We do too.
Reverse Aging of the Skin and Look Younger
Protect Yourself from the Sun
The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation which easily penetrates the skin. UVB radiation is absorbed in the epidermis by molecules that convert it to vitamin D. Vitamin D is great for bone strength, immunity, and fertility.
However, chronic exposure to the sun damages the collagen and elastin, which are the crucial elements that cause skin firmness and elasticity. A study found that chronic sun exposure caused 20% less collagen than in skin not exposed to such sun exposure. . Breakdown of collagen and elastic leads to wrinkles and sagging skin.
Excess exposure to the sun causes dark spots because the rays of sun hits the melanocyte cells. As you may recall, these cells release melanin which creates our skin tone. On prolonged exposure, melanocytes release excess melanin which causes the dark spots on the skin.
Excess exposure (from UVA radiation) to the sun can cause DNA damage to skin cells due to which they may die or behave strangely in the body (cause diseases such as skin cancer)!
Due to the reasons above, avoid going out in the sun for long periods of time. If your line of work requires you to be in the sun or you like to go for long runs during the day or just sit by the pool, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 25.
Also make sure to get sunscreen on your hands and neck, as men tend to ignore those areas quite often.
Eat Anti-inflammatory foods
Chronic inflammation is another leading cause of accelerated skin aging and it can happen for a variety of reasons such as eating sugar or processed foods, exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins, stress and lack of adequate sleep, and additional factors. Eating anti-inflammatory foods will tamp down the inflammation.
Avoid Sugars and Processed Carbs
Your body will avoid getting resistant to insulin and you will not get the energy highs and lows throughout the day because of these foods.
Eat lots of Vegetables
Consume lots of green and other brightly colored organic vegetables such as Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Celery, and Cucumber. These will alkalize the body and provide stable energy all day.
Eat Food Rich in Omega-3
These foods have shown to be anti-inflammatory and essential for keeping your skin hydrated and younger looking. Consume lots of wild fatty fish, fish oil, olive oil, and nuts such as walnuts. Eat higher proportion of Omega-3 oils than Omega 6’s.
Eat anti-inflammatory spices
Spices are full of natural anti-inflammatory compounds and they are a really easy way to add flavor to your meals, even your smoothies! Some spices we recommend are turmeric, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon and rosemary.
Eat Foods High in Vitamin C
Collagen is produced in the body from vitamin C and proteins, so boosting intake of both those nutrients will allow your body to naturally produce more collagen. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and kiwi fruit.
Eat Collagen Directly
Just like humans, animals store their collagen in skin and bones. To extract collagen from animal bones, it is best to make bone broth. Bone broth is highly beneficial as a source of collagen.
Fish are also rich in collagen, mostly the scales. Feel free to chow down on those fish scales from now on!
Collagen supplements work too. Multiple studies have confirmed that our body can use a powdered form of collagen. One study found that women aged between 35-55 and took collagen supplements for 8 weeks saw a significant increase in skin elasticity and less skin dryness .
Additional studies on collagen supplements have also confirmed the benefits of oral intake of collagen. 
To create both Collagen and Elastin, your body requires adequate protein. Try to get proteins from plant-based sources first as well as select animal and fish sources.
Tofu, lentils, edamame, chickpeas are good sources of plant-based proteins. Wild caught fatty fish, grass-fed beef and free-range organic eggs are good sources of animal protein.
Get adequate sleep per night (7-8 hours are best) so that your body has a chance to get rid of the toxic waste and revitalize your skin. Exercise to reduce stress in your body and get the blood flowing more vigorously into the skin. Cut down your daily stress by doing a few minutes of mindfulness meditation.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize your skin every day with a simple chemical-free moisturizer. You don’t have to go out and buy a fancy moisturizer. We use olive oil, organic coconut oil or jojoba oil as natural moisturizers before bed quite often.
Avoid Harmful Chemicals
Parabens are preservatives used in deodorant, face and body wash, and shampoos to prevent growth of bacteria and yeast. Parabens have found to be endocrine disruptors and interfere with your hormones.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) is known to be a skin irritant. It strips the skin of its natural oils and causes dryness and skin irritations such as exzema, dermatitis, and itchy skin and scalp.
Younger Skin is Possible…Now Go Get It
As you can see, these are great starter techniques that you can use to get started with younger looking skin today!
They are easy to do, and do not require a lot of time or money. No shopping for expensive beauty creams.
Let’s get these basics handled, then we will discuss more advanced techniques.
What are your secrets to having great skin? Feel free to drop us a line or post a comment below.