Starting at age 20 or so, the body's level of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) begins to decline, so that by the time we are age 65, many of us have little or no HGH. The decline of HGH is accompanied by many of the miseries we associate with aging, from saggy skin to a potbelly, to a lack of vitality.
Replenishing the hormones that decline in menopause may help alleviate some of its symptoms. For these women, either combination hormone replacement therapy (HRT, as estrogen with progesterone) or estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) may be appropriate.
Humans express feelings, and as such, these emotions become the fine lines seen with aging. Squinting leads to crow's feet (lines radiating from the corners of the eyes), frowning causes frown lines (furrows between the eyebrows), and laughing leads to laugh lines (arc-shapes around the mouth). Wrinkles are a result of age-related weakening of the skin's collagen and elastin, the fibers that keep the skin firm in youth. To prevent and minimize fine lines and wrinkles, wear sunblock with an SPF 15 or greater, whenever you venture outdoors for more than 15 minutes. Skin moisturizers containing pregnenolone, a hormone, may help to hydrate the skin and improve visible wrinkles. In 2005, Canadian researchers proved that beta glucan, the soluble fiber found in the cell walls of oat kernels and an ingredient in some skincare products, can penetrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
As we age, the skin becomes papery thin, and suffers from a decrease in oil gland activity (which also may cause skin to become dry). Largely a function of hormonal decline, you may benefit from a hormone replacement regimen. Consult an anti-aging physician, who will follow these guiding principles to design your hormone replacement therapy (HRT) regimen:
Use natural, not synthetic, agents
Select bioidentical hormones, which the body is able to use safely and efficiently
Prescribe proper dosing (as stipulated by laboratory testing for deficits), not supraphysiologic dosing
Conduct regular follow-up office visits and lab tests, to monitor progress
As we age, skin becomes drier. Actually, "xerosis," the medical name for dry skin, affects only the very outermost layer of the epidermis – the stratum corneum. Causing the skin to become flaky, itchy, or ‘tight,' discomfort is often the prevailing complaint. Genetics, disease, lifestyle, and the environment can all cause the skin to become dry. Drink 1 8-ounce glass of distilled water, with a pinch of salt (for electrolytes), every 1-2 hours that you are awake. By flushing toxins from the body with liquid that is free of deleterious metals and bacteria, you permit your skin to remain well hydrated.
Rough skin is commonly caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. These dead cells are usually discarded by the body via a natural process called exfoliation, where newer cells push older skin cells to the surface and the uppermost layer of dead cells flake off to reveal the newer cells underneath. However, for some reason exfoliation does not always happen. The resulting build-up of dead skin cells causes the skin surface to appear bumpy and rough in texture. Invest in a body brush or loofah. Body brushing is a good way to stimulate blood circulation, which in turn can help to eliminate toxins, and get rid off dead skin cells. Brush the skin in a circular motion, paying particular attention to the elbows, knees, shoulders, back, and thighs. For the best results, brush every day before bathing or showering.
Up to the age of 14, the skin on the face exfoliates naturally every 14 days. This quick rate of renewal leaves the youngster with a healthy-looking glowing complexion. However, as we get older the rate of natural exfoliation slows down. By the age of 25 and over the skin will exfoliate every 28 days or so. The resulting build up of dead skin cells can leave the skin looking dull. Establish a twice-daily skin routine of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Look for products that contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), because they can help promote the natural process of exfoliation. Those with sensitive skin may wish to opt for products containing poly hydroxy acid (PHA), as it is non-irritating.
Acne, America's #1 skin disease, is caused by a disorder of the sebaceous glands (glands in the skin that produce oil) that blocks pores, thus producing an outbreak of skin lesions we've nicknamed as zits, pimples, and other less-flattering names. Use oil-free skin care products and wear oil-free cosmetics and oil-free sunblock to reduce the risk of clogged pores. Do not pick or squeeze acne eruptions, as doing so may cause the blockage to be bushed further into the skin. If you suffer from acne use a lotion or gel that contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to kill off acne-causing bacteria. If you see no improvement in two months, see a dermatologist.
Veggie Extracts May Improve Skin Health
As the structure of the skin weakens, the level of type-1 collagen, the main structural component in the extracellular matrix, decreases, and the function of dermal fibroblast cells reduces – all of which associate with skin aging. There is keen interest in discovering natural-based approaches that offset these effects. Vegetable peptones are plant-derived peptides from protein-rich vegetables such as wheat and pea. Eulji University (Korea) researchers conducted in vitro experiments that exposed human dermal fibroblast cells to vegetable peptones for 5 hours. Type-1 collagen production was enhanced, and cell proliferation improved, with greater exposure to the vegetable peptones producing a greater effect. The study authors report that: “these findings suggest that increased proliferation of human dermal fibroblasts and enhanced production of type I collagen by vegetable peptones occur primarily by inducing the p90 ribosomal s6 kinase–CCAAT/enhancer binding protein [beta] phosphorylation pathway, which is mediated by activating Raf-ERK signaling.”