Right skin care products can reverse effects of aging

Our skin is our largest organ and endures the most exposure to the elements. Living in a dry climate creates special challenges. The sun, wind and dry air can wreak havoc on our skin.

Achieving healthy skin begins on the inside.  But using high-quality topical skin care products without harmful ingredients is essential as well.

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy skin:

Protect yourself from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems — as well as increase the risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen, one without harmful ingredients. Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays are strongest. Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats.

Don’t smoke. Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin, the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity.

Eat a healthy diet. This is important to help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Some research suggests a diet rich in fish oil or fish oil supplements and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates promotes younger-looking skin. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. A humidifier, especially in the winter, can help as well.

Manage stress and exercise. Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

Avoid harmful chemicals in skin care products. There are only 11 banned skin care ingredients in the United States compared to nearly 1,400 in Europe. There are thousands of skin care products on the market, but the bulk of them aren’t doing your skin any favors. Find a company that doesn’t use harmful ingredients and provides a “free of” list. The largest “free of” list I found includes 2,500 items. Avoid coal tar, heavy metals, hydroquinone, lanolin, mercury, parabens, petroleum, phthalates, solvents, synthetic colors and toluene, to name just a few.

As important as what’s not in your skin care products, is what’s actually in them. Look for clinically proven products that accelerate skin renewal and reverse premature aging.  There are products that can reverse your skin age up to a decade. Skin age is determined by facial wrinkles, firmness, hyperpigmentation, radiance, sagging and skin texture and tone.

Here are some ingredients to look for and what they do:

  • Lotus japonicus. This activates a key protein to regenerate cells and produce more collagen, elastin and fibrillin. Fibrillin is a glycoprotein essential for the formation of elastic fibers found in connective tissue.
  • Antioxidants like vitamins B, C and E. Antioxidants protect the skin by reducing and counteracting free radical production. Free radicals can assault your skin, damaging healthy skin cells and creating oxidative stress. Antioxidants protect your skin and reduce pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. A significant amount of these is needed to do the job. Look for products containing at least 20 percent.
  • Muscadine grape. Muscadine grape polyphenols protect and repair cellular DNA while blocking collagen and elastin breakdown.
  • Schisandra chinensis. This provides more nutrients and energy to the skin.
  • Cactus extract. This moisture magnet attracts moisture in the outer layers of the skin.
  • Blend of four forms of hyaluronic acid. This retains up to 1,000 times its weight in water, locking in moisture and forming a reservoir deep within the skin.
  • 100 percent plant-based squalene. This helps build a protective barrier to reduce water loss, sealing in hydration for lasting results.

Skin care products that are dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested and non-comedogenic.

Achieving younger, healthier looking skin is possible in dry climates if we take the necessary steps. By the way, a good skin care regimen offers a great gift for the holidays.