No one wants to look or feel older. And in a youth obsessed society it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending all of your money on the latest in ‘beauty technology’ or anti-aging facial creams that are guaranteed to ‘turn back time’ yet find they fail to live up to their promises.
Getting old can feel depressing for some and therefore, when in this state of mind it’s easy to want to reach for the latest anti-aging wrinkle cream in the hope that it will diminish fine lines or crow’s feet. After all who doesn’t want to restore their youthful looks almost overnight. It’s much easier to spend money on expensive anti-aging skincare products than to look at the real causes of why aging occurs.
The truth of the matter is – aging is really a natural process and you can dramatically slow down the aging process if you know the right way to do it.
So how can you determine the best course of action to take when it comes to staying youthful? We’ve taken the guesswork out of it after asking five top anti-aging experts for their feedback on the 10 biggest mistakes we should avoid making if we want to stay looking and feeling youthful in the long-term…
1. Being inactive
We all know the importance of physical exercise, yet fitting it into our daily routine can be challenging with so many of us leading ever more busy lives. The good news is that we don’t have to hit the treadmill for hours to benefit from the results. The key is to do some form of physical activity that you love and want to do consistently. “One of the most important things you can do if you want to potentially slow the aging process is to stay active.
Some kind of activity, including walking, as many days a week as you can for as little as 15 minutes a day, can help you live healthier longer – and do even more if you are able,” says Vicki Zerbee of AntiAgingByDesign. Consider what you enjoy doing; maybe it’s yoga, walking or swimming. You have to feel passion and motivation to want to do the activity daily.
Discipline is a myth. Be on the look out for what you enjoy doing the most. Make it a joy to want to do the exercise every day or a few times a week and your passion (and how good you feel and look afterwards) will encourage you to get moving and get it done. “The research shows that the most effective is resistance training and interval training.
This kind of exercise doesn’t take huge amounts of time so there is no excuse to avoid them. Exercise can be fun so it is important to find a way to like exercise and incorporate this into your daily life,” says Kate Marie, co-author of Fast Living, Slow Aging and the Slow Aging Guide to Skin Rejuvenation.
2. Not getting the right nutrients
Eating healthy isn’t always easy with so much convenience food around nowadays and we can struggle to choose the most nutritious choice, as we often think we’ll have to compromise on taste. Yet we should be focusing on fruits and vegetables as found in the Mediterranean Diet, whole grains and consuming plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. “Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and natural antioxidants, along with supplementing. Oxidative stress is the single biggest influence on aging, not withstanding smoking and excess alcohol,” says Natural Health Practitioner Steve Marmor from HerbsandMore.
Choose dark skinned berries such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, while cruciferous vegetables such as kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower have been linked to disease prevention as they are a rich source of sulfur that can actively protect the skin against ageing. Sulfur does this by supporting the connective tissue and cartilage that enhances skin elasticity, without which it may otherwise lead to skin sagging, wrinkles, stiff muscles or painful joints.
3. Using oil on your face
The popularity of using oils, be it coconut or essential oils is often seen as a good way to heal and restore the skin’s youthful appearance. Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Argan Oil…all have many skin enhancing health benefits that can make skin look younger due to the high levels of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E that have been shown to “promote anti-aging” skin health effects.
Yet not everyone agrees this is the best option for anti-aging. “Oils are not anti-ageing nor do they penetrate the deep layers of the skin to encourage fibroblast activity,” says Dr Nigma Talib, ND, a leading Naturopathic doctor with clinics in London and Los Angeles. Fibroblasts are a type of cell that synthesize and produce collagen, providing firmness and structure to connective tissue within the skin.
Instead, Dr Talib recommends using plant stem cells, hyaluronic acid and light water technology in a serum. “Having clean and exfoliated skin is a must because if you don’t have this then the serum can’t penetrate the skin,” she says. Regular facial treatments using cutting edge technology like LED and radio frequencies may also have beneficial effects, compared to someone steaming and picking at your skin.
4. Living a stressful lifestyle
This can increase cellular aging, making you look and feel older in the long term. A study published in the October issue of Lancet Oncology confirmed that choosing good lifestyle habits such as eating right, exercise, meditation, sleep and being surrounded by good people all have a beneficial effect on longevity and help us to look younger . The research team looked at telomeres – (caps at the end of chromosomes that keep DNA strands from unraveling) in men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer. These caps get shorter with age and in turn, showed an increase in the risk of premature death from a wide number of health conditions including breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Chronic stress in particular was found to ultimately shorten life span by around 9-17 years. Kate Marie recommends a form of ‘slow’ yoga is good for stress relief, “As this benefits breathing while enabling you to deal with stress and practice ‘mindfulness’ and the training of your autonomous nervous system,” therefore encouraging the body to get into the habit of regular relaxation.
5. Not taking a good probiotic
They have the ability to alleviate oxidative stress and promote good intestinal health by boosting healthy microflora (good bacteria and yeast, also known as probiotics) residing in the intestines, meaning it keeps you healthy, strong and youthful in the process. Probiotics for the gut and skin are essential for good health and longevity according to Dr Talib. Probiotics containing lactobacillus plantarum and bifidis can help to support immune cells and fight disease, thereby preventing such symptoms as diarrhea and constipation. It can also protect the mucous lining of the intestine and assist in the digestive process, while providing efficient nutrients to build blood. Take a good probiotic supplement daily for best results.
6. Consuming too much sugar
This can spike insulin levels, leading to increased inflammation in the body. This produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. It also plays a role in weight gain that has been shown to reduce vitality and wellness. Avoiding excess refined sugars found in sodas and packaged foods is therefore key if you want to be healthy and avoid the signs of premature aging. This also ties in with getting the right nutrients for good health. “Looking at food differently will help – whole foods are full of medicinal properties called phytonutrients and these will heal us and keep us healthy,” says Kate Marie. “Think about every mouthful and judge it as being good or bad. Avoid packaged foods as many of these are masquerading as food and in fact will be so processed they’ve lost the nutrients we need.”
7. Not getting enough sleep
More of us ignore good quality sleep and become distracted by modern technology, including mobile phones, tablets, TV and music. “We underestimate the anti-aging benefits sleep delivers…cellular renewal, collagen production, muscle and tissue repair, de-stressing, growth hormones…” says anti-aging expert to the stars, Kellie Olver.
“Technology’s stimuli bombard all our senses including auditory, emotional, cognitive and visual. Plus the blue light that is emitted interferes with deep sleep and REM, keeping the entire brain active which doesn’t allow the body to relax and repair,” she continues. Meanwhile, one study also suggested that women who reported having a good night’s sleep were found to have fewer fine lines, more even pigmentation and better skin elasticity compared with those who slept poorly. For best results it’s recommended to get a full 8 hours of sleep each night and to get to bed by 10pm .
8. Trying to be a ‘younger you’
We may find it difficult to accept that we are getting older and try to avoid it at all costs. Yet this is one of the worst things we can do. “We need to embrace aging as a time of possibility and change and where we can become the people who we really are. We are our age and the sooner we accept this and start to look at the benefits then the better we will all be,” says Kate Marie of Slow Aging. The key is to change our attitude towards how we perceive aging and ourselves.
9. Believing that aging is in your genetics
Some people believe that their rate of aging is solely down to their genetics and any signs such as wrinkles or frown lines are because they are inherited. “The reality is that thousands of studies about aging have been done and it looks like our lifestyles may be the most responsible for how well we age. The good news is that we can make better anti-aging choices for ourselves,” says Vicki Zerbee. Making the right nutrition and lifestyle choices can make the biggest difference in terms of our good health and longevity that is needed by the skin to protect, repair and look younger for longer.
10. Thinking and ‘feeling’ older than you actually are
Mindset controls so much of who we are and when we think younger, we are visualizing this becoming our reality. Kellie suggests it’s important to “Expect your skin to look smooth and firm. Believe that it is easy to maintain a firm healthy body and physique. And speak victory rather than defeat about everything in your life. Especially about achieving and maintaining a youthful glow and a young, fun attitude.” It’s easy to feel that we are becoming older every single year and to slip into a negative state of mind about this fact. Yet staying positive can help you to think and feel younger in the long-term. “The number one health, beauty or wellness tip I would recommend for anti-aging is to adopt a “reverse aging mindset,” says Kellie Olver. There’s a lot to be said about visualizing being younger that can encourage us to feel into this space with great exuberance and when we embody this youthful energy, we naturally start radiating it out to others.
Using this expert advice should give you the clarity required to care for your skin’s health and vitality in the long-term. As a result of following this advice on a daily basis, you should feel fresher and more revitalized while looking younger than your years. But don’t just take our advice about it, try it for yourself and let us know how you get on. May living healthy and keeping a youthful mindset give you the breakthrough you need to start seeing noticeable anti-aging results.