Have you ever wondered why some people age better than others? Is it genes? Is it a special cream? Is it plastic surgery? What’s their secret?

Our skin is the largest organ in our body and serves as a mirror for what is happening inside our system. We cannot address skin imperfections without first addressing our internal environment. Only then can our skin heal, rebuild, and adequately respond to treatments so that we can achieve optimal results. Think back to times when you have perhaps ingested too much alcohol, gotten too little sleep, allowed yourself to become dehydrated, or eaten too much fatty/greasy food. How did your skin look the next day? Did you have puffiness underneath your eyes, a grey or yellowish skin tint, and overall, a lackluster glow? Once you recognize that aging starts from within, you can start making changes in your daily life towards better physical health and, therefore, better skin health.

Without having to search the shelves for a miracle in a bottle, here are 5 steps you can take right now to naturally slow down the aging process and improve the look of your skin.

1. Drastically Reduce Sugar Intake

Sugar molecules bind to collagen fibers and cause them to lose their strength and flexibility, which in turn leads to an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, and diminished skin elasticity. Sugar can also lead to a significant increase in inflammation. Studies have shown that sugar not only accelerates age-related changes in the skin, but it has also been linked to a decrease in telomere length. Try eliminating processed sugars in breads, cakes, cookies, yogurts, juices, and soft drinks. Slowly decrease the amount of sugar used to sweeten coffee and tea until you can drink it plain. The main sources of sugar should come from fresh fruit and in moderation.

Sugar, especially processed types like high-fructose corn syrup, can dramatically damages your skin through a natural process called glycation. 

2. Do a Yearly or Quarterly Fast

Fasting has been shown to improve antioxidant defense levels responsible for fighting off free radicals which cause oxidative stress. Some of the long term consequences of oxidative stress include a large array of inflammatory diseases as well as cognitive impairment and dementia. Fasting has also been shown to dramatically improve the rate at which stem cells regenerate, which declines in function as we age. In a pilot trial of a fasting mimicking diet (FMD), numerous risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer all decreased. While fasting sounds simple and to the point, eliminating all food for a specific period of time can be an extremely tough task for most people. Dr. Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute, has created an easier way to get the fasting benefits by following a 5-day plant-based meal plan allowing you to eat while simultaneously creating a caloric deficit to mimic fasting. The ProLon kit provides you with everything you need. Benefits include fat-focused weight loss, cellular rejuvenation, improved energy, and mental clarity. 

3.  Implement Daily Stress-Reducing Techniques

Chronic stress can accelerate age-related changes and cause DNA strands to shorten. This leads to premature aging and will inevitably shorten your lifespan. We have become so used to the routine of a chaotic and busy lifestyle, that we inadvertently neglect our body’s need to rest and digest. It’s important to note that stress not only affects the appearance of our skin, but also weakens our immune system substantially. Some of the ways that you can incorporate stress-reducing techniques into your lifestyle include:

  • 5-10 minute meditation upon waking and before bed
  • Daily exercise
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Evening baths with salts/essential oils containing energetic properties that work on our emotional/spiritual body such as Phyto5 infused bath salts
  • Herbal teas with ingredients to calm down the nervous system such as chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, passionflower, or ashwagandha. Golden Milk is one of the center’s favorite teas to help unwind in the evenings. You can make it with hot water or a plant-based milk.

4. Eliminate Toxic Chemicals from Your Home

Many of us buy cleaning products with scents in them because we like the smell or the packaging is nice. We buy things based on good marketing without looking past the label to see what’s inside. Even though you may not be orally ingesting your cleaning spray, detergent, scented candle, or Teflon cookware, the chemicals inside them can still impact your health in a negative way.  Some of the health concerns associated with chemicals in these household products include exacerbation of asthma, cancer, reproductive problems, central nervous system impairment, and skin burns, just to name a few. These airborne particles get into your system not only through your airways but also through your skin. By and large, these products can negatively impact the protective barrier of your skin over time and cause free radical damage that can lead to premature aging and disease.

Another hidden contaminate affecting your skin health is coming from your tap water. The best thing you can do is buy a water filter to avoid the toxic chemicals that you are ingesting. Overall, start incorporating safer products into your home, including plant-based cleaners, filtered water stored in glass bottles, homemade laundry detergent, essential oil diffusers instead of scented candles, and glass cookware and food storage containers. To learn more about these chemicals and the impact they have on your health, check out this thorough home guide from the Environmental Working Group. It will help guide you on how to choose the safest products for your home while also educating you on specific chemicals to watch out for.

5. Stick to Organic Produce and Antioxidant-Rich Food

Studies have shown that organic produce has a higher nutritional value and a 50% higher concentration of antioxidants, like flavonols and anthocyanins, than conventional produce. These antioxidants are what protect your skin against UV damage, oxidative stress, and inflammation. A diet rich in organic fruit and vegetables will always be of benefit to you – regardless of the type of diet you are on. Variety is key and incorporating colorful produce will give you the most bang for your buck. Stick to EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Dirty Dozen to see which produce you should always buy organic. Apart from fruits and vegetables, try incorporating omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from foods such as wild-caught fish and organic nuts/seeds for additional skin benefits. 

Top Therapies

“Reversing aging does not simply mean looking younger, it means improving cellular regeneration and the function of the entire body, which is then reflected in your skin.”
Erin Mewshaw, NP

Our skin is our protector, it shields us from environmental stressors and because of this, it takes a daily beating. We should honor it by taking care of it and supporting it with proper monthly treatments and skin care products. 

Here are our center’s top 3 therapies that we recommend for monthly skin health.

  1. Phyto5 FacialInnovative bio-drainage from France that it is used to stimulate lymphatic drainage and improve the circulation in your skin. Better circulation means more blood flow and healthier-looking skin.
  2. DermatudeNoninvasive metaject therapy that is designed to help soften fine lines and wrinkles by enhancing product penetration
  3. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) with Microneedling – Advanced therapy using your body’s own platelets to help stimulate collagen production while simultaneously creating a more even skin tone

For skincare treatments you can do at home, try incorporating these 5 anti-aging skincare tips :

  1. Exfoliate with a gentle cleanser at least twice a week after cleansing. This will help to remove dead skin cells, allow for better product penetration, create a more even skin tone, and help stimulate collagen synthesis. Try Phyto5’s Le Gommage Marin, which contains blue-green algae. It also contains jojoba oil beads that are rich in minerals that help to moisturize, stimulate, and revitalize your skin. 
  2. Once a week, apply a face mask targeted towards either the season or a specific skin condition to help draw impurities from your skin. Try one of Phyto5’s Energetic Clay Masks based on five elements that each address different skincare need. 
  3. If you don’t have a food or topical allergy to dairy, try something already available in your home by applying a thin layer of plain organic yogurt to your face to create a mask. Leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse off. The lactic acid in the yogurt will help to exfoliate as well as hydrate your skin naturally. The beneficial bacteria in the yogurt will also help to fight and ease certain skin conditions such as acne and eczema. And, it can even help cool your skin after a sunburn. 
  4. Apply a vitamin-c serum daily to protect your skin against oxidative stress and environmental pollution. Think of it as a protective barrier infusing your skin with moisture and anti-aging properties designed to target wrinkles and restore elasticity. Our favorite is Isdin Flavo-C ampoules. You can apply it under your daily moisturizer. 
  5. Apart from excessive sugar intake, UVA/UVB rays are one of the leading causes of collagen destruction and can produce premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer. Always apply sunscreen on your face before leaving the house, especially during the summer months, and even when it is cloudy out. Eryfotona Actinica is a sunscreen designed to protect your skin against both UVA & UVB while simultaneously repairing your skin from sun damage using DNA ribosomes and Vitamin E.

To summarize, while there are many great topical skin care products available on the market, the biggest impact you can make on your skin health starts from within. Your skin represents the health of both your physical and emotional body. You cannot address just one thing and hope that the rest will follow suit. Using a holistic approach, you can incorporate an anti-aging skincare lifestyle by focusing on cleaner and safer products, getting adequate sleep, eating nutritionally dense food, reducing alcohol intake, and implementing stress-reducing techniques. 

For more information on why we at Innovative Medicine chose Phyto5, check out this article and listen to our podcast with John Canas on the creative process behind the skincare line. 

Please feel free to contact us for more information on any of our solutions as well as personalized recommendations for any of your anti-aging and health-related issues.

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About Erin Mewshaw, NP

Erin is a Family Nurse Practitioner and has been working for the New York Center for Innovative Medicine since 2014. Prior to joining the center, she worked in a community hospital where she learned the importance of connecting with each patient to support them on their journey to good health. Erin has always been passionate about holistic medicine and energy healing. In addition to being a nurse practitioner, she is also a trained esthetician and massage therapist. With this unique combination of skills, she has created a one of a kind anti-aging program for NYCIM based on the five Chinese elements to help patients feel balanced and beautiful from the inside out. Originally from South Carolina, Erin enjoys spending time in nature hiking and horseback riding, vacationing in the mountains or at the beach, doing yoga, and cooking for family and friends.
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