How to slow ageing - 5 habits
Skin health comes from the inside.
The connection between nutrition and skin condition or rather the effect of nutrition on skin ageing has been an interesting research field not only for scientists but also a common field of interest for humans throughout the years, from ancient times to nowadays.
Skin ageing consists of two clinically and biologically, distinct processes. The first is intrinsic skin aging (chronological aging) and affects skin in the same pattern it affects all internal organs. The second is extrinsic skin ageing, which we view as aged skin and is the result of external factors and environmental influence, mainly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation and poor nutrition.
Here are 5 habits that we think are worth adding in to your everyday life:1. Diet
Fruit and vegetables consumption may represent the most healthy and safe method in order to maintain a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin. Increasing intake of antioxidant rich foods and increasing food intake that supports a reduction in inflammation may well helpFoods that reduce inflammation2
Foods that increase inflammation3
Fresh fruits, like strawberries, blueberries, and oranges
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale
Fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like mackerel, salmon, and tuna
Nuts, like almonds and walnuts
Added sugar, particularly high-fructose corn syrup that is commonly found in beverages, pastries, and desserts
Trans fats in fried food, processed snack foods, donuts, and margarine
Processed meats, like bologna, sausage, bacon, salami, and beef jerky
Refined carbohydrates, like white rice, white potatoes, many types of cereals, and breads and crackers made from white flour
Excess amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in mayonnaise, many salad dressings, and vegetable oils, like corn, safflower, and soy
2. Physical Activity: Move Your Body
It's hardly news that excercise is good for your heart, lungs and mental outlook. Regular excersie is one of the keys to healthy skin. Skin is the largest organ in your body. By increasing blood flow, excercise helps deliver increased oxygen to the skin, as well as carry away waste products such as free radicals and cellular debris.
Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Set an alarm to remind yourself to stand or move
Stand while talking on the phone, occasionally put your laptop on a counter, or periodically stand at your desk
Stand and move your body during commercial breaks, half-time, or in-between shows
Park farther away at the office or while running errands
Choose the stairs over elevators and escalators
Vacuum, wash windows, weed the garden, or sweep the paths
Get your heartrate up and use your muscles
Aerobic activity is any activity that causes you to breathe harder than normal and your heart to beat faster.
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week.5
Strength training by lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises improves bone health and reduces the risk of weak, thin bones (osteoporosis) – a significant factor in aging.5,6
3. Alcohol: Drink in Moderation
Alcohol dehydrates skin, can leave you feel puffy and irritate you stomach lining. A recent study found that long-term, excessive drinking leads to accelerated aging and increases the risk of cognitive problems, such as dementia.7 The health risks of high alcohol consumption also include high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, liver disease, depression, anxiety, cancer, and a weakened immune system.7,8
Limit alcohol intake to two drinks or less a day for men, and one drink or less a day for women. Examples of one alcoholic drink include:8
12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content) or 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor (40% alcohol content), like rum, whiskey, gin, or vodka
4. Sleep: The Importance of Sleep Hygiene
The relationship between sleep and overall physical wellness is well-documented. Sleep allows both the body and brain to recover during the night. A good night’s rest ensures you’ll feel refreshed and alert when you wake up in the morning.
Sleep deficiency will not only leave you feeling tired, but can increase your risk for a wide range of diseases and health problems. These include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. A lack of sleep is also a threat to your physical safety.9
Tips for better sleep10
Establish a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. This helps your body clock stay in a consistent sleep-wake cycle and promotes restorative sleep.
Wind down. Use the hour before bedtime to do relaxing activities and prepare for sleep. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright light from TV screens, computers, and phones.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime. These interfere with the ability to fall asleep or get restorative sleep.
Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dim. This creates an optimal environment for good sleep.
Leave electronic devices such as phones away from your bed, or ideally outside your room.
5. Sunlight and Air Pollution: Protect Your Skin
What is UV? Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a source of energy that is released naturally by the sun and artificially from sunbeds.11
There are two main types of UV rays that damage our skin. Both types can cause skin cancer:
UVB is responsible for most sunburns.
UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin but contributes much less towards sunburn.
A third type of UV ray, UVC, could be the most dangerous of all, but it is completely blocked out by the ozone layer and doesn’t reach the earth's surface.
You can’t tell whether you are at risk of burning by the temperature outside. This is because you can’t feel UV rays. People can still burn on cool or cloudy days, if the UV index is 3 or more.
In the UK, the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 11am and 3pm from mid-March to mid-October. The UV Index tells you how strong the sun’s UV rays are each day.
How can UV cause skin cancer?
Too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage the DNA in our skin cells. DNA tells our cells how to function. If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, which can lead to skin cancer.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but some people can have a higher risk, including people who burn more easily.
Tips for staying safe in the sun
In the UK, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are the strongest between 11am and 3pm from mid-March to mid-October. During this time, the sun may be strong enough to cause damage. Take extra care to protect your skin, especially if you get sunburnt easily by:
Spending time in the shade, especially between 11am and 3pm in the UK.
Covering up with clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and UV protection sunglasses.
And using a sunscreen with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars. Use it generously, reapply regularly and use together with shade and clothing.
Tips for protecting your skin from air pollution
Indoor and outdoor air pollution also impacts how quickly skin ages. Small particles of soot and traffic pollution (particulate matter) and gaseous compounds like nitrous oxide float in the air and cause hyperpigmentation of the skin. Cooking or burning unclean fuel increases wrinkles of the skin on the face and the backs of hands.
The lifestyle advice you've heard does have a multitude of health benefits. From getting enough physical activity to limiting alcohol and stress, these habits reduce the risk of chronic disease and slow the aging process – helping you look and feel your best for years to come.
According to Researchers at UCL12 habits take anywhere from around 66 days to form, so given yourself the time and space you need to start introducing these patterns of behaviour into your life, giving yourself the best chance to benefit from them.
- 1. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin ageing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/
- 2. Anti-inflammatory diet do's and don'ts. Arthritis Foundation. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet. [Accessed July 18, 2021.]
- 3. Eight food ingredients that can cause inflammation. Arthritis Foundation. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/foods-to-limit/8-food-ingredients-that-can-cause-inflammation. [Accessed July 18, 2021.]
- 4. Peterson D. Risks and benefits of exercise. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. [Accessed July 18, 2021.]
- 5. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, 2018: To the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2018.
- 6. Samarakoon S, Chandola H, Ravishankar B. Effect of dietary, social, and lifestyle determinants of accelerated aging and its common clinical presentation: A survey study. Ayu 2011;32(3)315-21.
- 7. Sullivan E, Pfefferbaum A. Brain-behavior relations and effects of aging and common comorbidities in alcohol use disorder: A review. Neuropsychology 2019;33(6)760-780.
- 8. Alcohol use and your health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. [Accessed July 18, 2021.]
- 9. Physical Health & Sleep; The Sleep Foundation https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health
- 10. Sleep deprivation and deficiency. National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency. [Accessed July 18, 2021.]
- 11. Cancer Research UK https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/how-does-the-sun-and-uv-cause-cancer
- 12. UCL Habits https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2009/aug/how-long-does-it-take-form-habit