The science of looking younger. Anti-ageing tips.
A lifetime of the right skin care, sun prevention, a good diet, exercise and minimising stress goes a long way!
In the quest to look our best, there are many things besides plastic surgery that we can do to make us look younger. Here I present the scientific evidence for simple things you can do to prevent or even reverse ageing. As a busy plastic surgeon, I understand the difficulty in striking a work-life balance. Although plastic surgery procedures can turn back the clock to some extent, you will achieve better results and be able to minimise what you need to do for much longer if you incorporate these simple anti-ageing tips into your life.
Skin care-what can you do?
quality skin is the most important thing in making a person look young. You should be starting this early in your twenties and have a daily routine. This is the single biggest, simplest and also cheapest thing you can do out of everything available to delay ageing.
It will reduce your need for surgical and non-surgical procedures and also enhance their results. Good skin care following any broadband light or laser procedure is critical. Over time it reduces fine lines, reducing your need for injectables.
Keep at least one cosmoceutical grade anti-ageing cream on your beside table to make sure you do it every single night even if tired or busy.
Click here for some suggestions on ingredients that should be in your skin care in one of my previous blog articles.
Stay out of the sun-a tan is a sign of DNA damage!
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Beyond the ten minutes per day required for vitamin D, anything extra will damage your skin in the long term. As you age, the skin has less ability to repair with each sun exposure.
The Australian sun is particularly harsh, with one of the highest levels of UV exposure and the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
Apart from the skin cancer risk, it leads to solar elastosis the destruction of the elastic fibres and collagen which leads to sagging skin, wrinkles and premature ageing. Other effects are increased freckling, mottled discoloured larger pigmented spots (solar lentigines), wrinkles and visible small blood vessels under the skin (telangiectasiaes).
Whilst sun damage can be reversed in the face and chest by aggressive skin care, peels, broadband light or lasers, it’s hard to do this to your whole body.
If you need a tan- spray it on. Wear zinc, a hat and cover up.
Exercise is not only beneficial for health both mental and physical, but has been shown to have major anti ageing benefits in its own right.
Particularly high intensity training has been shown to be the best form of exercise.
Here are some links to the scientific evidence for how high intensity interval training has been scientifically proven to slow the ageing process.
Foods that contain antioxidants and reduce inflammation are known to be important in preventing ageing.
Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, which in turn lead to skin ageing. Free radicals, are unstable molecules which over time cause cumulative damage to our cells. Antioxidants help inhibit free radical production and thus protect cells from damage.
not yet studied in humans there is convincing evidence in mice that restricting calorific intake can lead to a longer life span. Further evidence has been found that perhaps only cutting calorific intake on alternate days or “intermittent fasting” is equally effective and less torturous to follow
Sugar-how it ages you
Sugar is an extremely addictive substance; it has been shown to light up the same areas as cocaine in our brain when we eat it.
Sugar has been shown to be directly ageing to skin through a process know as “glycation”. Sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins and forms harmful “advanced glycation end products” or AGEs. This damages proteins, some of these being collagen and elastin. These proteins are critical in keeping the skin firm and elastic.
New collagen synthesis starts to decrease in our mid thirties or slightly earlier. So what you got away with in your youth, the body is less and less able to repair this damage as we age. AGEs also deactivate the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which leads you more prone to sun damage and susceptible to other factors contributing to the natural ageing process.
Dietary supplements-are they really necessary?
Inthe post-surgery period, it is important you are not deficient in essential vitamins required for wound healing such as Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin E. If you have a normal balanced diet and are not deficient in any of these vitamins, there is no evidence that ingesting extra in the form of pills has any additional benefit.
There are plenty of supplements that claim to have anti-ageing benefits; there is absolutely no evidence for this; there is even some evidence that ingesting too many can be harmful.
Effects of stress
Chronic stress has been shown to shorten telomeres, which are protein complexes that sit on the ends of our chromosomes and make them stable. Each time a cell divides, telomeres shorten to some extent. After a certain number of divisions, the telomeres reach a critically short length, which then leads to them being unable to replicate and malfunctioning. The length of our telomeres is a marker of cellular ageing. And telomeric damage shows through on the cells of our skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
Several studies show that psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres. One study showed the damage from stress on telomeres led to six years worth of extra ageing on women’s skin. The good news is, some studies find that exercise may prevent this damage or telomere shortening.
The need for sleep
Sleep is the time our bodies repair themselves. Sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to premature skin ageing and decrease the skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure.
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