Take a look in the mirror. If you are lucky, you may see mostly even-toned, soft, smooth, and taut skin. If you’re like most of us, however, you’ll probably see some uneven pigmentation, a few age spots, redness, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and sagging.
Many of these so-called “flaws” are evidence of damaged skin. Just like a brand new car gradually loses that shiny sheen and becomes etched, dulled, rusted, scratched, and marked, our skin gets worn by exposure to the sun and environmental elements, and because of the changes that occur inside us as we age.
So, can we repair any of this damage?
… With the right ingredients and care, yes!
What Creates Damaged Skin?
When we’re young, our skin is much better able to heal itself. Remember how when you were ten years old, a scrape or scratch would nearly disappear by the next day? As we get older, however, the time it takes skin to heal gradually stretches out, which means that damage can show on our skin for months at a time.
Meanwhile, skin continues to face damaging elements, so it’s in a constant cycle of trying to heal itself—and may be less able to keep up with the demands.
Factors That Cause Damage
As we go about our daily lives, there are several things that can damage the skin. These include:
- Excessive sun exposure—this is by far the #1 damaging element
- Harsh weather elements (wind, rain, cold, heat)
- Environmental pollution
- Cigarette smoke
- Exposure to harsh and drying chemicals in personal care products
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive use of alcohol and drugs
- Chlorine in swimming pools
- Bacteria, infections, and medical trauma
All of these factors and more can lead to a breakdown in skin cells, which weakens the outer, protective layer, called the “epidermis.” Once this layer is weakened, cracked, and damaged, the skin becomes even more vulnerable to attack from bacteria, UV rays, pollution, and more. It also becomes less efficient at holding onto hydration and nutrients.
The immune system comes into play here, as well. Just like your body needs nutrients, sleep, and stress relief to maintain a strong immune system, your skin requires the same tools to keep up with repair and protect itself from other damaging elements. The more damaged it is, however, the less able the immune system is able to keep up. In fact, the skin’s ability to self-repair can decline by more than 50% by middle age.
Signs of Damaged Skin
This difficult cycle means that skin damage shows up in your mirror. You’re likely to see these signs:
- Dryness, flakiness, dullness
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Hyperpigmentation, acne scars, sun spots
- Moles and freckles
- Sagging, bagging, loss of elasticity and firmness
- Redness, swelling, and inflammation
- Rashes and allergic reactions
- Visible blood vessels
Fortunately, there are ways to help repair and even reverse skin damage. The key is to take steps both internally and externally to support the skin’s own reparative systems. A few things you can do in your diet and lifestyle include:
Eat Vitamin-C Rich Foods
…like citrus fruits, mustard greens, spinach, and peppers. Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, which shores up skin structure and increases firmness.
Eat More Protein
Protein is key for rebuilding cells. Try fish, lean meats, eggs, tofu, beans, and nuts.
Turn Up the Zinc
Zinc aids the body in synthesizing protein helps generate collagen for skin-tissue repair and supports the immune system. Try fish, soybeans, whole-grain kinds of pasta, mushrooms, and egg yolks.
You can also use clean skin care products since sensitivity and irritation that comes hand in hand with synthetically derived ingredients. Plus, who really wants their body to absorb toxins and chemicals? By using a product with organic plant derivatives, you are also going to see far more vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds than what you would find in synthetically derived ingredients.
One of my personal favorite skincare lines is Annmarie Skin Care. Their close-to-nature product line is intentionally made, handcrafted, clean and 100% organic, featuring plant-based ingredients that feed your skin and nourish your glow.
Try their 7-day sample kit for only $10! It includes their bestsellers and my personal favs, the Aloe Herb Cleanser, Anti-Aging Serum, and Anti-Aging Facial Oil. And… a sample of their Illuminating Pearl Mask is also included for free.
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