Did you know that environmental pollution can be every bit as skin-damaging as smoking cigarettes or abusing drugs and alcohol? It’s true! In fact, today, the pollutants in air and water are considered a primary source of the skin damage that triggers premature aging.
According to scientific findings (Tabor 2009; Fenske 1986), “Depending upon ones genetic makeup and lifestyle, normal physiological functions within the skin may decline by 50% by middle age.” And that’s without factoring in the added deterioration caused by the increasingly polluted environment in which we live.
The bottom line: Because the free-radical damage wrought by cell oxidation is cumulative, even as children we should be taking action to support our skin’s natural defense systems. But all is not lost! We can act proactively to slow and even reverse the signs of accelerated skin aging:
1) Keep your skin clean. That means washing your face daily, preferably with an all-natural, PH-balanced cleanser followed by an alcohol-free toner.
2) Exfoliate your skin twice a week with a non-abrasive scrub or face brush.
3) Use a daily moisturizer formulated with natural antioxidants that neutralize pollution-induced cell oxidation. (P.S. SkinCeuticals offers three excellent options: C E Ferulic, Phloretin CF, and Phloretin CF Gel.)
4) Drink plenty of pollutant-free water to keep skin hydrated and to accelerate cell reproduction.
5) Stick with a high-fiber diet that revolves around fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and protein-rich beans. Likewise, look for grass-fed, hormone-free meats, as well as fish caught in the wild.
6) Learn to love antioxidant-rich snacks such as cranberry juice, prunes, pecans, red grapes, artichokes, berries, apples, and plums.
7) Avoid cigarettes and most alcohol, with the exception of free radical-fighting red wine.
8) Exercise daily at an intensity that speeds up heart rate and metabolism in order to speed antioxidants to cells and stimulate the natural elimination of toxins from the body.
9) Schedule a facial every month as well as periodic advanced exfoliation treatment, such as microdermabrasion or a chemical peel. This will renew the complexion and help reverse oxidation damage.
10) Use a SPF 30+ UVA/UVB sunscreen – rain or shine. And be sure that it’s water- and sweat-resistant. This will prevent ultraviolet radiation from further escalating the skin’s aging process due to oxidative stress.