The Random Causes of Aging

Written by Jamina Metcalf, L.E. national educator for Skin Fitness Therapy

To be young! We are all in a fight against aging. Not so much for our vanity either, but for our overall health as well. We constantly hear about ways to stay young: eat right, exercise, stay out of the sun, take care of our skin, etc. But there are some random things that cause aging that we may not be fully aware of!

A majority of deep wrinkles on our face as we age are actually caused by how we sleep. A major cause of this is due to pillowcases that don't allow our skin to move, but actually causes it to crease. Cotton and synthetic fabrics stick to our skin so that while we sleep our skin doesn't budge. The best way to avoid pillowcase wrinkles? Use a 100% silk pillowcase or train yourself to sleep on your back!

Sleeping on your side
According to the Academy of Dermatology, "women who tend to sleep on their side, are most likely to see deep lines appear on their chin and cheeks". Our cells have memory. When our skin is etched with a line from smiling, squinting or sleeping on our side where our face is squished, our cells create scar tissue to protect that spot. This bodes true with repetitive facial expressions as well.

Lack of Oxygen
Our bodies need oxygen to survive, just as our cells need oxygen to function properly. Oxygen fuels mitochondria in our cells and in turn mitochondria is essentially the powerhouse of cellular function. Mitochondria acts like a digestive system by taking nutrients and breaking them down, creating energy that the cell can use to function optimally. Pretty amazing right? When we take a nice deep full breathe, oxygen travels through our tiny blood vessels and into our bloodstream. From there oxygen reaches every cell in our body.

Once oxygen reaches our cell it heads directly for mitochondria where a chemical reaction takes place, thus releasing ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP is the main energy source for all cellular function. Are you following? Oxygen and mitochondria release a chemical call ATP which is absolutely essential for all cellular function including cellular turnover, collagen and elastin production. As we age, this process slows down from mutations in our mitochondria. What can we do?

Start by taking deep full breathes and this will ensure that the mitchondria has an essential ingredient to produce ATP. LED and Microcurrent have also been shown to increase ATP levels which has led to an increase in collagen and elastin. Ubiquinone, an active antioxidant in Coenzyme Q10 increases Mitochondria's ability to produce ATP more efficiently.

Taking a deep full breathe of oxygen can do wonders to not only your physical well-being but to your soul as well.

Studies show that stress is far more reaching in its detrimental affects on our bodies than just having a bad day. Stress can in fact, shorten our DNA strands. Each DNA strand has end caps called telomeres. As we age these telomeres become shorter, it just happens. But stress, especially emotional traumas cause these telomeres to shorten at a faster rate. Telomeres are an essential component to cellular regeneration. Cellular regeneration as we all know is the key to young, beautiful and supple skin.

Stress also releases free radicals, which increase oxidative damage to our cells. According to Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD, "Free radicals is an oxygen containing molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive with other molecules" (Mandal, 2016). Free radicals, because they have an unpaired electron, seek to become stabilized by stealing an electron from another molecule. This causes a chain reaction of free radicals. After a free radical attack, the cell is left damaged and unable to properly function. This is where the superhero anti-oxidants come in!

Anti-oxidants are molecules that give out electrons to unpaired molecules that have been attacked by a free radical. It is important to ensure you have plenty of anti-oxidants in your diet and skincare regimen.

Lack of Sleep
When we don't get enough sleep, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol to give us extra energy to get through the day. While that sounds great, cortisol can actually accelerate the aging process by breaking down skin cells, among other things. When cortisol is released it is essentially communicating to our body to stock up on more fat, increase our appetite and break down materials that can be used for quick energy. Our skin cells fall into that category. Cortisol tells our body to use energy from our cellular regeneration, which can cause damage to our skin cells.

Picture a desert with cracks in the mud from a lack of water, that is your skin dehydrated. Many of the fine lines you see your skin can be visibly less noticeable if hydrated properly. What does this mean? It means hydrating not only topically but also internally. Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat lots of yummy water heavy fruits and vegetables like cucumbers and watermelon. On top of this also if you are dehydrated use creamy cleansers and moisturizers that are right for you skin type. I've seen many times in my years of being an esthetician. A client comes in,

That sweet taste that we all enjoy so much can be causing damage to our beautiful skin! Sugar causes a process known as glycation, which is when two collagen fibers cross-link making them unable to repair. The result are new sugar proteins called glycation end products (AGEs). Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD, states that AGEs degrade collagen and elastin, causing them to harden and lose elasticity, much the same way that rust weakens and degrades metal (Marmur, 2016). Just one more reason to stay away from sweets!

Coffee and caffeine lowers the production of DHEA. DHEA is referred to as the 'youth hormone'. It starts ot be produced in our bodies around the age of 7 and starts declining in our 30's. DHEA is important for mineral metabolism, energy levels and sexual and reproductive functions. When it comes to aging skin, DHEA has been found to increase epidermal thickness, regulate sebum production, increase skin's hydration, and decrease pigmentation. Trade that coffee in for an apple or lemon water in the morning!

Phytic Acid
Phytic acid is a natural substance found in plant seeds. It is essentially an anti-nutrient. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of important minerals that help fuel our cells like zinc, iron, and calcium.

Phytic Acid is found in plant seeds, nuts, legumes and grains. But don't stop eating these foods completely! A well balanced diet will assure that you are getting enough minerals for healthy cellular function. If however you eat these foods at every meal, then you might be mineral deficienct. Some good ways to help lower the phytic acid content is to soak beans, rice, etc. overnight before you digest them.

There are many causes to aging, some more obvious than others. It is important to live a balanced lifestyle, eat right, stay calm and carry on! Life is a beautiful thing and our bodies are a gift. Taking care of our bodies not only reflects on how we see and feel the world around us but also affects our skin, which is our face to the world. When we feel good and look good we are more confident, which in turn leads to happiness.

Mandal, A. (2016, October 12). What is Oxidative Stress?
Marmur, E. (2016). What is glycation?

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