Ageing can lead to visible changes in skin appearance, such as wrinkles or sagginess. It can also affect your musculoskeletal system, brain function, cognitive capacity, and senses in several ways. Fortunately, positive lifestyle practices can provide many anti-ageing benefits for the skin. It is also associated with longer life expectancy and a reduced risk of developing age-related diseases.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views ageing from a functional perspective – the depletion of jing and qi. This leads to the early stage of ageing, such as sallow face and hair loss by 35. While sagging skin and greying hair will start to appear once a person reaches 42. However, these symptoms may appear earlier in life. When this happens, there is the overconsumption of jing and qi, caused by different factors, including poor diet and stress.
Here are 8 anti-ageing methods that can slow down the signs of ageing naturally.
Increasing Your Collagen Intake
A balanced intake of collagen can help to improve skin physiology and appearance. This is evident from the findings of a clinical trial, which proved that combining an oral collagen supplement with other dermonutrients enhances skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density when taken over a specific time frame.
In addition, collagen supplement doesn’t cause any side effects after use, thus suggesting that it allows for long-lasting skin regeneration. A flexible way to ensure a sufficient collagen intake is to consume a collagen peptide drink, which helps mitigate anti-ageing effects by restoring elasticity, reducing dark spots and fine lines, and improving skin radiance.
Eating collagen-rich foods, such as bone broth, fish, and tropical fruits may also help your body do its best to produce collagen.
Getting Restful Sleep
Sleep can support several important processes in the body. These include skin function, which is an integral component of human physiology. A lack of sleep can accelerate skin ageing and delay recovery of the skin barrier after being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
It is also associated with a few visible signs of skin ageing, such as fine lines, uneven skin tone and reduced skin elasticity. You need to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep daily. You can also improve sleep quality by going to bed at the same time, ensuring that your bedroom is dark and quiet. It’s also helpful to limit the use of electronic devices before bedtime.
Practicing Relaxation Techniques
Stress can negatively affect a few physiological and psychological functions. One of the most notable effects is the onset and aggravation of skin disorders. Stress can also elevate cortisol levels and reduce collagen mass in the body, thus accelerating ageing on the skin.
Taking a few minutes every day to practice relaxation techniques is one of the best ways to alleviate stress. These include deep breathing exercises, meditation and the practice of yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Meanwhile, acupuncture or Tui Na can stimulate acupoints that regulate organ functions. These treatments work to balance and enhance the circulation of qi in the skin, improving fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Eating a Healthy, Balanced Diet
“The skin is closely related to the digestive system. Excessive consumption of spicy, fried, and over-processed foods can easily cause skin problems, such as pimples and acne,” notes Luke Yau Wai, a TCM physician from Eu Yan Sang.
Glycation is an inflammatory process that plays a key role in skin health. For starters, glycation can induce changes to the structural and functional properties of proteins such as collagen and elastin fibres. “Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the lungs (govern) qi, respiration, and the outer skin. Deficiencies in (lung) qi and yin, (lung) dryness and (heatiness) may impair the lungs’ function. The skin loses its nourishment and begins to appear dull, dry, and wrinkled.
Therefore, Chinese medicine reflects the importance of strengthening the spleen and stomach and moisturising the lungs to slow down skin ageing. Collagen and royal jelly have the effect of invigorating the spleen and stomach. Bird’s nest nourishes the lungs and the skin,” he adds.
Chinese medicine or supplement, such as Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) is good to maintain youthful skin. You can benefit from consuming a health supplement or herbal jelly containing Lingzhi to keep skin soft and lustrous.
To combat the harmful effects of a high sugar intake on your skin, you should consume more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are abundant in antioxidants, enhancing skin protection by suppressing oxidative stress in the body.
One way to boost your intake of antioxidants is to consume pomegranate juice. TCM commonly uses pomegranates, which are high in antioxidants, and vitamin C to promote a healthy skin complexion. Both are also good to maintain cardiovascular and prostate health.
Smoking accelerates the formation and deposit of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in skin tissue. AGEs can negatively affect intrinsic and extrinsic skin ageing mechanisms and are directly associated with increased stiffness and reduced skin elasticity.
Smoking is also responsible for the formation of facial wrinkles. This can be put down to low levels of moisture in the facial epidermis — the outer layer of skin — which directly affects cigarette smoking. If you are a smoker, you should take steps to quit the habit, as it can improve the signs of skin ageing and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Getting Regular Anti Ageing Facial Massages
A facial acupoint massage or muscle lifting can help to stimulate anti-ageing effects on facial skin. You may also use a massage device, like a face roller or a gua sha. It can promote an increased expression of the proteins responsible for ensuring skin elasticity and texture.
Giving yourself a facial massage is also effective for reducing wrinkles in the cheek and forehead and the area around the lip. It is important to note that you need to massage your face regularly before seeing visible results.
- Before giving yourself a facial massage, make sure you wash your face and hands to prevent the spread of bacteria or germs on your face. Get into a comfortable position and set the mood by playing some calming music.
- Next, apply a facial oil that suits your skin type. Using your middle finger, apply pressure to the centre of your forehead. The use of this massage technique can help to smoothen frown lines on your forehead and help you do away with stress and headaches. Apply this pressure for three seconds and repeat for three sets.
- You can also enhance the effects of this acupressure technique by working your middle finger down until you reach the area in between your eyebrows.
Alternatively, you can also put on a facial mask before rinsing it completely to apply a toner and facial moisturiser.
Using Sun Protection Every Day
The application of sunscreen lotion can protect the skin from UV radiation exposure, which can cause a loss of skin elasticity and wrinkling. However, sunscreen application may only reduce up to 55% of free radical formation.
In this regard, you should use sunscreen that contains antioxidant-rich ingredients. This is because antioxidants can help your skin develop resistance to oxidative stress by reducing a larger number of free radicals compared to the use of a regular sunscreen lotion.
Moisturising Skin with Coconut Oil
Another way to slow the signs of skin ageing is to apply virgin coconut oil to your face and neck.
Virgin coconut oil has been used as a natural skin moisturiser for centuries. Virgin coconut oil is effective against skin disorders because it possesses anti-inflammatory characteristics that can improve skin barrier function.
A consistent practice of positive lifestyle habits can have anti-ageing effects. If you are keen to try, make a commitment to change and start creating a wellness plan that you can maintain all year long.
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- US National Library of Medicine. 2019. In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil. [Accessed 9 June 2021]