When we are young, firm, glowing and supple, we look around at our elder's bodies and think "Oh my, I will never let myself get that way!".
Little do we suspect then, that it would indeed happen to us! We too
will have sagged. One day we look down at our thighs while doing the Yoga Downward Dog, and freak out. Why is my skin wrinkled up like wet silk? The next year we can sub for the old lady riding in the convertible with arms flung in the air and upper arm bat-wings waving in the wind.
When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we start putting hands to face to stretch the skin back into place, contemplating a face lift.
What the heck happened?
According to Webmd:
"Skin becomes slack. The loss of the elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin with age causes the skin to hang loosely."
No kidding. But why?
Some blame it on the sun.
The International Dermal Institute is one of these, saying:
"The breakdown of collagen and elastin is controlled by the activity of Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes known as collagenase and elastase, respectively. Studies have shown that UV radiation activates these enzymes within hours of UVB exposure. Long-term elevation of the MMPs, which is typically found in people with prolonged exposure to sunlight, results in disorganized and clumped collagen and elastin that is characteristic of photodamaged skin. "
Great, so the sunbathing I did 40 years ago is now biting me in the you know what. Since I can't turn back time, what can I do to avoid having my skin folds waggling along behind me when I walk?
Every time you step outside, make sure your skin is covered with clothing or with sun block and maybe with both! Winter or summer, your first step out of the shower is to slather on the sun screen.
Certain foods can help you from further deterioration. What are they? Read on.
Foods with vitamin A like yogurt or other low fat dairy.
The body converts vitamin A to retinoic acid (retinoids) - a key ingredient in a lot of anti-aging creams.
In Huffington Post article, Vitamin A: Skin Friend Or Foe? author Brooke Borel says:
"Retinoids bind to corresponding receptors in the skin. This peels off the top layer, which evens skin tone, and thickens the layers below, which smoothes out wrinkles. Retinoids also boost collagen, a protein that keeps the skin firm and springy, by blocking the genes that cause it to break down and increasing other gene activity responsible for its production. "
Food with antioxidents, like berries and plums.
WebMd, my doctor's preferred medical site for patients says:
"Free radicals -- like the kind formed from sun exposure -- damage the membrane of skin cells, potentially allowing damage to the DNA of that cell. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the cell so there is less chance for damage.
When you help protect the cells from damage and disintegration, you also guard against premature aging. In this respect, these fruits may very well help keep your skin younger looking longer."
Foods with essential fatty acids - like fish, walnuts or flax seed.
These help build healthy cell membranes which allow the cell to expel the bad and let the good come through and also to hold moisture, thus plumbing your skin.
Foods with selenium - like whole grain breads, turkey and tuna.
Selenium helps protect skin againsr sun damage
Water and green tea.
Skin needs to be kept hydrated and water is the ticket for that. Green tea has anti oxidents and helps protect the cell membranes. It is useful either applied to the skin or taken as a drink.
We lose muscle starting around age 30, exercise to keep the muscle layer under your skin toned and your skin will look better.
Exfoliate and lubricate.
Help your old skin shed the dead skin cells, shedding slows down as we age too! Use a loofah on your body and a scrub on your face.
Keep your entire body lubricated, not just your hands and face. Do it as soon as possible after stepping out of the bath or shower, to hold that moisture in.
Of course, you can get help - with face and body lifts, bo tox, injected fillers and more if you want more help that the natural and home grown solutions above can do for you.
Skin tightening solutions also exist, talk to a dermatologist to get the latest remedies.
Laser and infrared treatments can help stimulate new collagen and tighten the fibrous bands that help support our outer skin layers
These can be expensive and sometimes don't last, but they do give visible results!