Ageing is a natural process, and the skin always tells a story. It shows quite distinctly how much sun we’ve been exposed to, how much sleep we get (or don’t get), how much worry and stress is in our lives, whether we have smoked at all in our lives and also gives an indication of what our diets are like and how much nutrition we are getting. The skin is a visible guide to the overall health of your body.
All the signs of an ageing skin, such as wrinkles, dry skin, thinning skin, age spots and varicose veins are preventable but once the damage is done, reversing it is more difficult.
However we can help improve some of the outward signs that show themselves on our skin.
Excessive bruising is generally caused by the cell membranes being too weak and therefore easily ruptured. This can be caused by a lack of Vitamin C or other antioxidants and in many cases lack of Zinc and/or Vitamin E, as both are required to enable cell membranes to heal correctly. This can also be the reason why marks from old skin damage remain after a number of years.
See page on ‘Zinc’.
Lack of elasticity (wrinkles) can also be a sign of mineral deficiency but in some instances can also be caused through a low protein intake and/or lack of exercise and toning. Ex-smokers will always have a tendency to wrinkle prematurely no matter how long ago they last smoked!
As you age, collagen becomes less elastic and the skin will appear less ‘plump’.
The skin also becomes thinner as you get older because the collagen portion (the main supportive protein of skin) becomes less.
However, you can take steps to strengthen the skin and the small capillaries beneath it by taking vitamin C and/or a high strength antioxidant product daily. Vitamin C helps build collagen and strengthen capillaries and I have seen good results from certain antioxidant products.
See page on ‘Antioxidants’.
Brownish skin spots are often considered to be a sign of poor liver function (hence being called ‘liver spots’), but are actually a build up of wastes which are by products of free radical damage to the skin cells. They are always far more noticeable on people who have had excessive sun exposure. However poor liver function can certainly be a factor in their formation.
The brownish spots themselves are harmless but are a sign that free radical damage is present. A high intake of antioxidants (especially Zinc and/or Selenium) has been known to help these marks to fade over a period of time.
Also more recently IPL (Intense Pulsed Light ) treatments have become more widely available and can work well. Make sure if deciding to try this that you choose a well practised practitioner and be sure to use a naturally made sun screen every time you venture out side afterwards.
Dry skin can be caused through a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet, or poor digestion of oils.
In older people the digestive processes become less effective, which in particular makes the digestion of proteins and essential fatty acids more difficult. Care needs to be taken that adequate protein is included in the diet and it is always a good idea to take a digestive enzyme product with each meal.
The skin will also often look dry and ‘wrinkly’ if the body is dehydrated. A major improvement can often be obtained simply by drinking far more water. A quick check is to pinch the skin on the back of the hand. A well hydrated skin will feel and look quite ‘plump’, whereas a dehydrated skin will feel and look thin and dry.
Even a healthy diet can be mineral deficient as most of our produce is grown on mineral deficient soils (unless it is organically grown) and our body’s requirements are much higher if living under some stress and subject to pollution – and who isn’t nowadays. Any skin will look pale if Iron levels are low and will lack lustre where mineral deficiency is general and/or the body tired.
See pages on ‘Minerals – the facts’ and ‘Minerals – why we need to supplement’.
Sleep is of major importance and is greatly under-rated when it comes to skin looking good. Dark shadows under the eyes are a dead give away but can also occur where there is a problem with the liver and/or intolerance to certain foods.
When it comes to what to put on your skin, it is important to avoid any skin creams that are based on petroleum synthetics or derivatives. Check the ingredients. Buy creams based on natural oils such as avocado, almond, jojoba, coconut or aloe vera. All are very fine oils that won’t clog the skins pores and actually help the skin to heal.
Also some ‘serums’ work very well. I have found one in particular that I very much like, especially where wrinkles are concerned!!
Applying Aloe Vera gel directly to the skin night and morning helps greatly to protect from sun and wind, helps heal damaged skin and best of all can also help tighten up those very fine lines! make sure you get one that has NO additives.
Try the On-line shop.
However, the majority of healing and improvement has to come from inside. Taking more minerals will allow this to happen. Extra supplements such as Vitamin E (nuts/seeds) and Co enzymeQ10 also help.
Ideally take a supplement that contains extra vitamin C plus all minerals. Spirulina would be good or organic Barley Grass. Of either you need 2-3 tsp daily. However often extra Zinc and Selenium are needed in which case 1- 2 tsp of Colloidal minerals could be added. Extra protease enzymes (try kiwifruit or papaya) are an excellent aid to improving for protein digestion and helping with food intolerances. Also, in many cases it is necessary to add more essential fatty acids to the diet, either as foods (avocado, nuts, seeds, oily fish etc) or as supplements.