What Causes Skin to Wrinkle?
It seems inevitable. As we age, the skin becomes less supple and more wrinkled. While wrinkles appear on the surface of skin, it’s actually a change in the dermis or the underlying skin layer, which is composed of proteins called collagen and elastin. These two components form an elastin mesh that provides resilience for the skin. As we get older the amount of collagen decreases and the mesh becomes looser allowing sagging to take place.
The primary reason for the decline in collagen is the presence of free radicals which are molecules seeking electrons. A free radical can take an electron from another cell creating a cascade of electron transfer from cell to cell. Free radicals result from ordinary cellular metabolism. In an effort to attain chemical balance, free radicals will borrow an electron from another chemical compound. This causes a cascade of detrimental effects on cells as each cell is damaged in this continual borrowing of electrons. The cellular damage decreases the overall resilience of skin through damaged collagen.
Over time, the increase in free radicals and decrease in healthy cells results in the appearance of wrinkles, lines and even dark spots. But there are some foods that fight aging and delay the inevitable wrinkling. Generally speaking, foods containing vitamins A, C and D are highly charged antioxidants that when ingested provide extra electrons to bind with free radicals returning them to a stable state.
Healthy Food Choices For Healthy Skin
Eating a wide variety of healthy foods is the smart thing to do. Healthy foods contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidants as well as trace minerals and vitamins essential for life. Incorporating the following foods into the daily diet can reduce skin wrinkling and lines, so eat as much of these healthy foods as you like.
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provides anti-inflammatory support at a cellular level for healthy skin. Other omega-3 rich foods include raw walnuts, flaxseed and lecithin. A lack of this type of fat in the diet can lead to accelerated aging of the skin, inflammation and other debilitating diseases including depression, dementia, or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. There are different kinds of antioxidants so eating a wide variety of produce provides a wide variety of antioxidants. These can slow down cellular destruction by binding with free radicals, which can destroy and weaken cells. Berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, grapes, and vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant called polyphenol. Vitamin C is also present which aids in cellular healing.
Nuts contain healthy fats that benefit the elastin and collagen in skin. Eating nuts can help maintain the skin’s dermis level keeping it strong and resilient. Roasted peanuts have 22% more polyphenols than unroasted peanuts. Nuts should be used sparingly since they are high in calories. Nuts also contain vitamin E component alpha-tocopherol, which is stored in tissues and responds in toxic exposures to work with vitamin C to remove the toxins.
The Importance of Water
Skin is made of cells and cells need water to function properly. A lack of water results in dehydrated cells, which are more prone to wrinkling. Water is needed for hydration of the skin as well as all organs in the body. Drinking water throughout the day provides internal moisture for cellular functioning. Water also exists between cells and is an important medium for transportation of vitamins and minerals needed for healthy skin, tissues and organs.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this will keep the body hydrated and allow easy transportation of life giving nutrients. Juices and milk also provide hydration for the skin.
Other Factors in Aging
It’s certainly smart to eat healthy. In addition, decreasing consumption of caffeinated products, limited exposure to sunlight and protecting the skin from chemical exposure are smart choices.
Caffeine is a stimulant that also dehydrates by increasing urinary output. Without increasing oral liquids there can be an overall reduction in body fluids, depleting cellular liquids and resulting in wrinkled skin. Small amounts of caffeine daily are acceptable, however, it is important to compensate by increasing the amount of water and fruit juices drunk throughout the day.
Dermatologists believe that over 75 percent of skin wrinkling is due to exposure to ultraviolet rays, making over exposure to sunlight very damaging to skin. No amount of healthy eating can make for smooth and supple skin when there is over-exposure to chemicals or sunlight. Be sure to wear UV sunblock when in the sun. Wear appropriate clothing and limit the time exposed to sunlight.