Some of the most common issues we all face as we age are sagging, loose skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Wrinkles can start to appear as early as your mid-twenties, especially when you are exposed to harsh environmental conditions daily. Some may think there’s no natural way you can slow down the aging process and they turn to Retin-A, chemical-based commercial skincare treatments or Botox to address the appearance of accelerated aging. These “quick fix” approaches are temporary at best and riddled with side effects and cause for concern. So what are your options to this age-old dilemma in today’s fast-paced culture?
Believe it or not, there are many things you can do to prevent and reverse many aging skin conditions and a host of healthy, holistic alternatives are available to effectively treat many skin conditions, as well as premature aging. Let’s first start by understanding why the skin ages and what accelerates the aging process.
What Causes Wrinkles & Sagging Skin?
The breakdown of collagen is the reason the skin begins to sag. Many factors cause this but the preventable ones include: UV damage and sun exposure, stress, diet, sugar intake, smoking, illness, and medication side effects. Blood sugar imbalances accelerate the aging process causing a process in the body called glycation, causing the collagen fibers to break and the skin begins to begin to sag. Sugar is ENEMY #1 when it comes to aging the skin!
Environmental Exposure– Never underestimate the power of the sun. Daily exposure to ultraviolet light without the proper natural protection, can cause major damage to the skin’s elasticity and cause collagen fibers to weaken and capillaries to break leaving red, discolored blotchy skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, the sun’s powerful rays damage skin cells which, over time increase the effects of aging.
Intrinsic Aging – In addition to environmental factors, intrinsic factors such as glycation-induced aging threaten to diminish the skin’s youthful appearance. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed when sugars react with proteins such as collagen and reduce collagens regenerative ability, increasing the destruction of collagen. The result is wrinkling, creping and sagging skin.
Biological Aging- Biological aging is what naturally happens during the aging process as the result of hormonal shifts, genetics, and heredity. How we take care of our skin is the deciding factor that makes all the difference. Good nutrition is vital (just say no to sugar!) and following an effective, healthy regular skincare routine to help prevent the negative consequences you will otherwise see in the mirror.
Weight Fluctuations- Let’s face it. We don’t stay the same size throughout our lifetime. Weight loss and weight gain can also leave us with loose skin. For example, losing a lot of weight very rapidly will leave lots of loose skin as a result.
Water: Is it the fountain of youth?
Supermodels and actresses swear by drinking gallons of the good stuff to achieve their red-carpet glow and plump up their skin. A British woman even drank 100 ounces of water for 28 days straight and swore it made her look 10 years younger. Dermatologists do say it is important to stay hydrated, otherwise, you could have sunken eyes, and your skin will lose some elasticity. Not to mention, staying super hydrated helps improve cognition and brain function. And the best part of this? It’s FREE! (Just do it ☺)
As a holistic skin therapist (aesthetician), I have treated many complex skin conditions and never cease to be amazed by how useful many plants and herbs can be to help firm the skin and help repair environmental damage. As an herbalist and natural product formulator, I never cease to be amazed by the awesome, transforming power nature provides when plant medicine is incorporated into results-focused skincare formulations.
What Are the Best Skin Firming Herbs?
Turmeric – Turmeric has played a role in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years to treat stomach ailments, improve blood circulation, and heal skin wounds. Really it’s a miracle herb for the body and the skin. Curcumin – one of the most important active compounds found in turmeric – is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral powerhouse. This herb can reverse sun damage that causes loose skin, and it can reduce inflammation in the body which directly relates to aging. Here’s a recipe from the juicing guru, Cherie Calbom, aka The Juice Lady, for a great turmeric juice that I highly recommend you try.
Aloe Vera – Aloe (A.K.A. the plant of immortality) has been used for medicinal purposes for some 6,000 years and used to be given by ancient Egyptians as a burial gift. Today it can be one of nature’s most powerful healing plants as well a wrinkle reducer. Acemannan is a complex polysaccharide found in the inner leaf gel of the aloe plant. Acemannan is the specific component that sets Aloe Vera apart from the 400 other species of aloe plants. Acemannan contains many nutritional qualities and is immensely responsible for all of the health benefits that Aloe Vera offers. Scientific research has shown that acemannan is useful for a host of issues, including those related to the immune and digestive systems. The delicate inner leaf of the aloe plant holds the power for skin healing and firming and is the specific form of aloe vera that is the most potent. I use this amazing ingredient in a beautiful skin fluid we created called Rapid Repair Fluid. This is a skin healing and firming formula you can use for various skin conditions and has been especially helpful in the treatment of aging skin with cancer patients recovering from chemo and radiation therapy.
Porphyra Red Algae – Porphyra is a unique species of seaweed that is rich in protein, minerals, amino acids and organic iodine. Think of it kind of like a “superfood” ingredient for the face… This super-rich plant from the sea helps correct cellular metabolism imbalances caused by environmental stressors that impact the dermal matrix of the skin, causing the skin to sag and become devitalized. It also helps to minimize the effects of destructive inflammatory enzymes that cause collagen damage and the breakdown of the dermal matrix, which can accelerate the aging process. Plant medicine from the sea is a super-smart ingredient to include in your skin firming arsenal. Red Algae Body Serum
Horsetail – Horsetail or Equisetum is a medicinal plant dating back to ancient Greek civilization. At that time, it was used to treat ulcers, wounds and kidney issues. The appearance of this plant is like that of small green bamboo. This herb contains silica, a very important component of the health of our skin, hair, and bones. Silica promotes collagen formation and also helps to improve the texture of the skin. It also contains a host of beneficial bioflavonoids & antioxidants that mitigate & prevent free radical damage- making this plant a power punch against aging.
Comfrey – Comfrey’s claim to fame is its high content of allantoin, a natural compound known for its powerful healing and regenerating properties. Comfrey is a powerful yet gentle treatment for sensitive and fragile skin, helping wounds as well as wrinkles and loose skin. Comfrey’s skin softening properties are unparalleled. Comfrey tincture occupies a place of honor in cosmetics for the face and hands. One of the properties of this tincture is that it renews and regenerates loose and wrinkled skin (especially wrinkles around the eyes). Lipid Booster
There are so many amazing holistic skin treatments, healthy plant ingredients and alternative approaches to treat aging skin and I will be telling you about more of these in months to come! In the meantime, NOTHING beats the power of a targeted, ingredient-focused all-natural skincare regimen on a consistent basis. Know your ingredients and become an informed consumer – knowledge is power! Come with me and explore a whole new world of natural beauty and plant medicine…we will rock your world. Can’t wait to show you more! Follow us on FB and sign up for our newsletter.