What images come to mind upon hearing the word “old”? Maybe one will think of a person who has white hair, has difficulty walking or hearing, and someone with wrinkly skin. Being old usually has negative connotations and some, if not most, people are even afraid of getting old. This may be the reason why for centuries, people have been looking for that one solution in staying or looking young.
During the olden times, people made use of medicinal plants and other natural resources to treat their problems with aging skin. Among these resources are aloe and honey which are still used nowadays. However, with various advances in technology and medicine, more sophisticated treatments have been developed such as injectable fillers, botulinum toxin (also known as botox) and microdermabrasion. These newer solutions may alter or slow down skin aging faster or more efficiently, however, at a higher cost. For those who cannot afford such expensive procedures, there are still other possible skin treatments combating aging that can be done without breaking the bank.
Before trying a particular skin treatment, it is important to have even some basic knowledge of the components of our skin and how it functions. As it has been taught in school, the skin is made up of two layers: the dermis which contains various skin appendages, and the epidermis which serves as a protective portion against infections and other threats. Within the skin are also different components and substances such as melanocytes that cause skin pigmentation, collagen that helps form connective tissues, and elastin that is responsible for the skin’s elasticity.
By knowing the different components and functions of the skin it will also be easier to understand how the skin ages and what can possibly cause it. Causes of skin aging may either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic causes may include genetic factors which affect the natural skin aging process. Extrinsic causes on the other hand are those that come from the environment such as exposure to the sun and the environment’s humidity level. It has been said that intrinsic factors that cause skin aging cannot be changed or prevented. Often, only the extrinsic factors then are being addressed by most treatments or procedures available.
What different treatments or solutions can be done to avoid, prevent or slow down skin aging without much money being spent?
1.Protect your skin from excessive exposure to the sun. If possible, avoid or limit tanning or using tanning devices and products. When doing any activity that may require much sun exposure, make use of sunblocks or sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or above. Apply suncreen regularly, 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, and take note to re-apply after sweating or washing with water.
2.Moisturize your skin. One indication of aging skin is its being dry. It is important to observe the recommended water intake of 8-10 glasses per day. Also avoid using products that have chemicals which may cause the skin to dry; instead choose those contain moisturizers. Skin moisturizers must be applied after washing.
3.Observe what you eat or drink. According to a medical research director at Revival Soy in North Carolina, soy can help build and maintain collagen which is an important component of connective tissues that make up the skin. A component of soy which is soy isoflavones can also act as antioxidants to protect the collagen from being damaged. It is also advisable to consume food and liquids that are rich in vitamins A, B, C and E which help maintain smooth and youthful looking skin. If desired, food supplements with such vitamins can also be taken.
4.Avoid smoking. It is said that substances in tobacco or cigarettes can cause biochemical changes in the body and skin. Based on a number of researches made previously, smoking can hasten skin aging by increasing the appearance of wrinkles and causing the skin to look yellowish.
5.Avoid repetitive facial expressions and sleeping positions. It is said that constant or repetitive positioning of the face on the pillow may cause lines and wrinkles to be etched on the skin. The same thing happens with repetitive facial expression since when muscles contract to convey these expressions, grooves are formed on the skin. These lines and wrinkles, which are often observed in aging skin, may be more visible as a person grows older and his or her skin decreases elasticity.
Treatments other than those mentioned above, specifically those that are not as costly as the ones offered in clinics, can also be used to address skin aging. Among these are use of medicinal plants and natural resources as what the people have done during ancient times. However, it is important to know the substances and reactions of these materials to the skin so as not to be misled and to avoid complications. It is therefore not necessary to spend so much just to avoid or prevent skin aging. Through a disciplined lifestyle and regular observation of the solutions stated above, prevention of premature skin aging can be addressed. Though eventually, a person has to learn to accept that despite of all treatments undertaken, his or her skin will still age naturally. In this situation, there is no better option other than choosing to age gracefully.