It’s no secret that visible signs of aging like wrinkles and gray hair are to be expected with age. But you can take a few simple steps to age gracefully. By making just a few key lifestyle changes, you can slow down the wrinkles and boost your health. Besides anti-aging benefits for your skin, these changes can help improve your musculoskeletal system, brain function, and prolong life expectancy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a functional approach to aging. From this perspective, aging is the result of depleted jing (essence) and qi (energy). The ongoing stress of a go-go-go lifestyle and unhealthy habits contribute to the depletion of jing and qi. This can cause physical signs of aging such as dull skin and hair loss to appear as early as the mid-thirties.
If you want to know how to slow down the signs of aging, here are 8 natural anti-aging methods that can help.
1. Increase Your Collagen Intake
A balanced intake of collagen can help to improve skin physiology and appearance. Research shows that there are several benefits of combining an oral collagen supplement with other dermonutrients. Several of these benefits include skin hydration, elasticity, smoothness, and density when taken over a specific time frame.
Collagen supplements have not been shown to cause any side effects, which allows for safe long-term use and long-lasting skin regeneration.
If you’re wondering how to get collagen in your diet, try eating collagen-rich foods, such as bone broth, fish, and tropical fruits to help your body produce collagen.
2. Get Restful Sleep
Sleep supports many important processes in the body, including skin health. A lack of sleep can accelerate skin aging and slow down skin repair after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Lack of sleep is associated with visible signs of skin aging, such as fine lines, uneven skin tone, and reduced skin elasticity. Try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep daily. You can also improve sleep quality by going to bed at the same time every night, ensuring that your bedroom is dark and quiet, and limiting the use of electronic devices before bedtime.
3. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Stress can lead to problems with both mental and physical health. One of the most obvious effects of stress is the onset and aggravation of skin disorders. Stress can also elevate cortisol levels and reduce collagen in the body, which accelerates the aging of 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. Acupuncture or tuina massage 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.
4. Eat 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 fibers. “Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the lungs govern qi, respiration, and the outer skin. When the lungs’ function is impaired, because of deficiencies in lung qi and yin, lung dryness, and heatiness, 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 moisturizing the lungs to slow down skin aging. Collagen and royal jelly have the effect of invigorating the spleen and stomach, while edible bird’s nest nourishes the lungs and the skin,” physician Luke adds.
Natural herbs or supplements, such as Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) can help 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. A healthy skin diet is abundant in fruits and vegetables because they enhance skin protection by suppressing oxidative stress in the body.
One way to boost your intake of antioxidants is to consume pomegranate juice. Pomegranates are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and are commonly used in TCM to promote healthy skin complexion and maintain cardiovascular and prostate health.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking accelerates the formation and deposit of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in skin tissue. AGEs can negatively affect skin aging mechanisms and are directly associated with increased stiffness and reduced skin elasticity.
Smoking also contributes to the formation of facial wrinkles. If you are a smoker, quitting the habit can improve the signs of skin aging and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
6. Get Regular Anti-Aging Facial Massages
A facial acupoint massage or muscle lifting can help to stimulate anti-aging effects on facial skin. This can be attributed to using a massage device, like a face roller or a gua sha, promoting an increased expression of the proteins responsible for ensuring skin elasticity and texture.
Giving yourself an anti-aging facial massage is also effective for reducing wrinkles in the cheek, forehead, mouth area. It is important to note that you need to massage your face regularly before seeing visible results.
Before giving yourself a facial massage, wash your face and hands to prevent the spread of germs on your face. Get into a comfortable position. You can even create a spa-like atmosphere by playing some calming music.
Next, apply a facial oil that suits your skin type. Using your middle finger, apply pressure to the center of your forehead. This massage technique can help smooth frown lines on your forehead and relieve stress and headaches. Apply this pressure for three seconds and repeat for three sets.
You can enhance the effects of this acupressure technique by working your middle finger down until you reach the area in between your eyebrows.
For additional anti-aging facial benefits, you can also put on a facial mask and then apply a toner and facial moisturizer.
7. Use Sun Protection Every Day
Wearing sunscreen can protect the skin from UV radiation exposure, which can cause a loss of skin elasticity and laxity. However, sunscreen application may only reduce 50-75% of free radical formation.
Because of this, be sure to 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 regular sunscreen.
8. Moisturize Skin with Coconut Oil
Another way to slow the signs of skin aging is to apply virgin coconut oil to your face and neck.
Virgin coconut has been a popular natural skin moisturizer for centuries. Virgin coconut oil is effective against skin disorders because it possesses anti-inflammatory characteristics that can improve skin health.
Consistently following healthy habits like getting plenty of quality sleep and eating a healthy diet can help protect your skin and improve your health. Try these eight anti-aging methods to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful.
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- US National Library of Medicine. 2019. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. [Accessed 18 October 2021]
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- US National Library of Medicine. 2017. Effects of a skin-massaging device on the ex-vivo expression of human dermis proteins and in-vivo facial wrinkles. [Accessed 18 October 2021]
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- US National Library of Medicine. 2019. In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil. [Accessed 18 October 2021]
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