You only have to turn on the tv or open a magazine and you can bet your bottom dollar that you are going to see at least one ad for products that claim to slow down the wrinkling / aging process with regard to our skin. But how much do you think aging skin is really under your control?

Like our joints, our skin suffers the natural wear-and-tear that go with the territory of an aging body. However there are a few fundamental things that you can implement now to slow down that aging process.

So firstly what do we consider ‘normal aging’?

Underlying our skin is a fiber meshwork of collagen and elastin which are proteins that keep our skin firm. When skin is stretched, this protein matrix snaps it back into place. As we age, the fiber network weakens, and skin sags as it loses its support structure. Skin also becomes thinner, loses fat and becomes a rougher texture with age. Gravity also starts to take its’ toll and continually tugs on weakened skin, creating the droop of jowls or “chicken fat” under the arms. Our genetic code is also a contributing factor which is why naturally some people just look younger than others.

So basically none of the above can be avoided, however, there are some things that you can avoid or do to prevent further aging.

The first is Sun Damage – Sunlight is responsible for age spots or “liver spots” on the hands, face, and other sun-exposed areas.The ultraviolet rays from the sun also penetrate into the skin which damage the elastic fibers that keep skin firm, this damage ultimately produces wrinkles. I know its a bit late now isn’t it? Lets face it who can go back to that 10 year old? I remember as a child arriving at the beach at 8am in the morning, leaving 10 hours later armed only with a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Oil! Well, let me put your mind at rest, the amount of wrinkles that develop and how prominent they are, are mostly dependent on a person’s lifetime sun exposure, so if you start making changes now you could stop some of that damage. Consider using a sunscreen product daily of SPF 15 or greater. Wear a hat with a brim and try and avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm.

Damage from Smoking – Wrinkles occur much quicker on people who smoke and they will often be deeper. Smoking decreases the blood flow to the face and obviously produce toxic chemicals. Smokers will often squint their eyes and pucker their lips which  contribute heavily to wrinkles around the eyes and mouth.

Diet – Your skin is constantly fighting a battle with the sun and is therefore continually trying to repair and regenerate itself. Maintaining a healthy diet is key to healthy skin. Ensuring you have plenty of antioxidants like vitamin C and E together with vitamin A and B will help. Be careful of the amount of alcohol you consume, too much alcohol can be dehydrating.