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Aging Naturally

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GETTING OLD
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We're all old enough and wise enough to know that the visions we see of the models and celebs gracing the covers of magazines are not exactly, shall we say, au naturel. But, it seems that the media execs in charge of both print and movie screens just can't stop thinking (wait, thinking?) that we only want to see women (wait, women?) airbrushed and photoshopped into an unrealistic and unobtainable (and, let's be honest, if we saw it in person, actually pretty weird) ideal. These, of course, are the same magazines filled with pages of ads for miracle creams, Botox and a whole host of injectables that will help you, "turn back the clock." Ads that even the FDA has been policing recently, pulling L'Oreal's ads saying they are illegally claiming to alter our very genetic makeup! (If you'll pardon the pun.)

But rather than stop time, wouldn't it be great if we could TRULY love the skin we're in? (I hate to advertise for another manufacturer here, but hey, it's a great sentiment but, do any of us actually embody it?)There is a way to age gracefully and naturally, and most of us actually do it every day. Some famous people also have the nerve to actually do it on TV! Just take a look at the incredibly beautiful women I admire like Robin Wright, Holly Hunter, Frances MacDormand, Kyra Sedgewick and Meryl Streep, for instance -- women who seem to understand, and show it off, that beauty doesn't have an age, and in fact, those who don't look untouched by time, and who haven't felt compelled to go under the knife and actually look far better with each passing year. When it comes to beauty, age truly is just a concept -- and if you can embrace that, and the idea of taking fabulous of yourself, focusing on a healthy lifestyle and taking charge of your well-being.

There are some key ingredients that support healthful aging and one of the we are hearing about more than ever is collagen. Collagen of course, is the protein that helps give our skin its youthful tone, elasticity and firmness. However, as we age, we lose collagen, and that's why our skin becomes less supple, firm and more vulnerable to damage. However, while there are collagen repair creams, treatments, facials, (and a million more "anti-aging" products out there) when you slather them on top of skin, our cells can't necessarily effectively absorb much of the collagen without something like hyaluronic acid used in conjunction. In addition to collagen supplements -- which have been proven to directly affect and improve skin tone -- there are also a number of foods that may help to improve collagen production in the body. Foods rich in lysine and proline convert into collagen when eaten. Foods high in lysine include meat, fish, egg whites, legumes, peanuts, and soybeans. Proline is found in gelatin-based foods and dairy products. But, you need to eat vitamin C-rich foods along with your proline foods so everything is synthesized and processed correctly by the body, and you actually gain all the benefits. (Remember when food pairing was all the rage? There was a medical reason for it. Certain foods are actually needed for the body to get the benefits out of other foods.) So, in this case, make sure your diet includes lot of fresh citrus fruits, dark, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collards and spinach, all of which help promote collagen production.

Now, when used in conjunction with hyaluronic acid, found throughout our connective tissues naturally, we've got the perfect partnership to support great skin into our "grown-up years." Hyauronic acid's function is to retain water and to hydrate, moisturizing the skin from the inside AND the outside, drawing moisture from the air like a humectant (pretty cool, right?). When researchers wanted to figure out why Japanese villagers living in Yuzuri Hara routinely lived into their 90s, they looked to their diet.

Turns out the villagers eat a primarily plant-based diet that included root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and turnips. Since the root vegetables are full of the magnesium necessary to stimulate HA production, it's likely that their diet plays a major role in their health and longevity. In addition to tubers, other magnesium-rich foods include kale, asparagus and brussel sprouts.

Just as what you put in your body should be wholesome and pure (you didn't see any processed foods on the list of foods above, did you?), the same goes for what you put on your skin. It's important that a product be 100 percent pure and use the right kind of ingredients formulated in clinically-proven formulas that actually penetrate the skin! Look for these ingredients in your skincare products to prevent premature aging and treat imbalances of all kinds:

Vitamin C -- water-soluble, protects the lipid structures of cells, preventing the oxidation of vitamin A, an effective tyrosinase inhibitor, prevents hyperpigmentation by slowing down the production of melanin. Vitamin C is not produced by the body, so the skin is vulnerable to deficiency (and it is needed for topical treatments). Look for liposomal or polypeptide technology (ingredients encapsulated inside a water cell), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Glucoside, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, all safe, stable, effective forms of this vitamin for topical use.

Plant-Based Retinol (derived from Moth Bean and encompassed in a polypeptide liposome cell for stability, bioavailability and safety) -- fights the effects of premature aging, as well as acne in the same biological way as the synthetic version does; retinol jump-starts collagen, purifies pores, exfoliates top layer of dead skin and toxins and prevents wrinkles and fine line production. It doesn't have to be irritating to be effective!

Vitamin E -- Two of the major functions of vitamin E in the skin are protection from ultraviolet (UV) light damage and maintaining a protective layer between the skin and the environment. Make sure you look for Tocopherol -- natural-- not acetate, unnatural.

Beta Carotene -- A precursor to vitamin A -- carrot oil is a great ingredient in anti-aging skincare -- selenium, superoxide dismutase and alpha lipoic acid, all proven soldiers as well in the prevention of early signs of aging, oxidation and free radical damage.

Resveratrol -- Grapeseed extract does everything from brightening the skin to smoothing lines and wrinkles to preventing premature aging and stimulating collagen production (and more). When you think of the benefits of this ingredient, all you have to remember is that it's similar to the benefits of a glass of wine a day, but for your skin.

We've also discovered that some people just age slower than others. What do you think is so unique about them? Well, they tend to think more positively than others, and have a better outlook on life in general. This, of course, means that our thoughts have a very definite impact on our health and beauty. I happen to think, more than any single ingredient will ever have (and I formulate skincare products)!

And of course, we are all beautiful because of our individuality. Don't try to be like anyone else, just be the healthiest, strongest version of yourself that you can be. Look at Lauren Hutton's famous gap-tooth smile. Without it, she would have just been another pretty face, instead of the top model she became. With age comes lines yes, and a depth of beauty we never had before, and don't forget, also wisdom enough to know better, at least that's what we hope for, right?

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