Unlike heart or lung disease, where a diagnostic test can reveal changes, the skin - our body's largest organ - is not easily overlooked to us. We see the changes in a mirror on a daily basis. The physical signs of the aging process begin with subtle changes in our thirties and these might be our first gray hair or fine smile lines in the corner of our eyes. As we begin our fourth decade of life, the changes become slightly more apparent - a few more gray hairs, deeper facial lines, skin dryness and laxity.
These changes, although unavoidable, can be slowed down with some healthy steps:
1. Avoid use of harsh soaps - be gentle to your skin. The use of antibacterial soaps can be very drying, thus increasing the appearance of aged skin.
2. Moisturize daily - it is helpful and beneficial to apply a daily moisturizing cream. The best time to apply it is right after the bath or shower while the skin is still damp.
3. Use sunscreen daily and minimize sun exposure. The use of sunscreen with SPF 30, sun protective clothing, and wearing of hats all play a key role in protecting us from skin cancer. These also help prevent the breakdown of collagen (our cushion).
Although there are no miracle pills or creams to tighten-up loose skin, there is an abundant amount of ongoing research exploring the use of Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. At this time there is nothing more promising than a lifestyle that avoids excessive sun exposure, tobacco, sleep deprivation and alcohol. A healthy lifestyle includes proper hydration, a balanced diet, exercise, maintaining proper weight, and stress reduction.