The Race to Fight Aging: Part 1. Anti-Aging for Skin Beauty

The global market for anti-aging products and therapies is expected to reach up to $291 billion by 2015! Hundreds of American health organizations focus solely on new, innovative strategies to slow down the aging process.

We know the right dietary measures can keep diseases from worsening symptoms or progressing. In the natural healing world, we’re discovering more about the rejuvenating benefits of medicinal mushrooms, whole herbs and supplements for anti-aging. There really has never been a better time to grow older!

Research suggests that we may only be living two-thirds of the years our bodies are capable of.  Maximum human life span may be 20 to 30 years longer than most of us live today. Centenarians, people 100 or over, are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Centenarians have much to teach us about health and growing older with greater vitality. And, the US Census Bureau predicts their number to grow to 214,000 by 2020!

Even with these advances, aging brings up special concerns for men and women like skin problems/early wrinkling, diabetes and immune system breakdown. Gentle, natural therapies are a great option for these problems, and they are generally free of side effects common to drug therapies or more invasive approaches.

Anti-Aging Treatments for Skin Beauty

The cosmetic surgery industry is booming. Technology has advanced enormously just in the last 10 years and Americans are rising to the challenge of reclaiming their youth with the latest cosmetic procedures.

Cosmetic surgery isn’t the only or best solution for everyone. The clear beauty benefits come with major drawbacks in terms of trauma, recovery time and, for most of us, prohibitive costs. A facelift is expensive, at $6000 to 8000 per procedure! Less invasive non-surgical facelifts (Thermage/Titan), Botox and wrinkle fillers like Restalyn are less expensive and definitely growing in popularity as we search for that youthful glow.

Beautiful skin is so much more than skin deep. The skin is your body’s largest organ of both nourishment and elimination. It sloughs off old, dying cells every day for a new start. Skin mirrors our emotional state and hormonal balance. Skin problems reflect a stressed lifestyle, poor diet and lack of rest almost immediately. Sallow, dull skin and premature wrinkling are clear signs of dehydration and poor diet.

Skin Aging Factors

TOO MUCH SUGAR- A high sugar diet sets the stage for free radical activity and rapid skin aging. Sugar is known to cause the body to produce more Advanced Glycosylation End products (AGE), which are closely associated with free radical damage and premature aging.

Too much sugar accelerates skin inflammation, and can even cause increased brown spots and deep wrinkles. Many skin experts now say too much sugar is as bad for skin as overexposure to UV rays! Even if your diet is generally good, watch out for overindulging in sugary treats. It is a poor choice for both your health and your looks.

DEHYDRATION- Your skin’s hydration needs definitely increase with age. Even if you drink plenty of water, it becomes harder for skin cells to hold moisture, causing skin to look drier, more wrinkled, or sallow and dull. In response, the cosmetic surgery industry has brought us hyaluronic acid injections with collagen boosters like calcium hydroxylapatite. This type of approach works well temporarily, but the shots are painful, expensive (between $700-1000), and generally need to be repeated every four months. Wrinkle fillers can also make the skin look unnatural, lumpy or swollen.

Is there a better way?

TREMELLA MUSHROOM- Relatively new to America, tremella mushroom is actually a better skin hydrator than hyaluronic acid. Tremella polysaccharides can hold nearly 500 times their weight in water; this is 25% greater than hyaluronic acid. Research shows tremella helps the skin hold moisture for a longer period of time than hyaluronic acid. Tremella cream plumps up loose skin and naturally fills in those fine line and wrinkles, and it’s less sticky than most popular HA creams. Tremella is widely available in tablets, too. I recommend using both for the best results.

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID- Alpha lipoic acid enhances sugar metabolism at the cellular level, allowing the body’s own restorative functions to work more effectively. By protecting the body from sugar’s toxic effects, alpha lipoic acid actually prevents the premature aging of collagen. Cosmetically, it can reduce wrinkles, break down scar tissue and increase levels of other antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione for added protection against UV rays.

COQ10- CoQ10 is another important antioxidant for wrinkle and sun damage prevention. With age, your body’s natural production of CoQ10 slows down, which, in turn, results in reduced collagen and elastin production. Topical applications are effective because of CoQ10’s small molecular size and have been shown clinically to reduce the signs of photoaging (sun damage) and crow’s feet.

SEAWEED like nori, sweet sea palm, dulse and wakame are some of my favorite beauty foods, and they’re some of Nature’s most ancient beauty secrets. The Greeks said that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rising out of the foaming sea, owed her supple skin, shiny hair, and sparkling eyes to the plants of the sea. 

Mineral salts in seaweed help the skin to hold moisture, so it becomes more supple and elastic. Antioxidants like vitamin C, A, D and E in seaweed quell skin damaging free radicals. High protein and essential fatty acids help repair stress and pollution damaged skin.

Using seaweed in a facial mask with rejuvenating whole herbs can cleanse the skin and encourage a "natural facelift" effect. A cooling seaweed mask even helps support recovery from minor burns, acne and scars. You can also use seaweed in soup, or as a topping on a salad, sandwich or healthy pizza. For people who don’t like the taste of seaweed, try seaweed in capsules like Ocean Minerals.