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Fight Biological Ageing: Lifestyle Tips

tips for reducing biological age

What Can You Do About Biological Ageing?

(Warning: reading this article and doing something about it could decrease your Biological age)

At The Doctors Laser Clinic, we just fight the signs of ageing, not the actual ageing. The fighting of the ageing bit is down to you. Before you think that you cannot do anything about it, consider just for a second that your age and biological age could be different. Here, we are talking about the latter with regards to your skin as well as your body. For this, you have many weapons in your fight. Your weapons are your lifestyle choices. We don’t just mean smoking and drinking. We mean everything. This article looks into what you can do to win the fight.

Your lifestyle choices play a pivotal role in how your body, including your skin, ages. Here are specific steps you can take to support your body and skin’s health:

Sun Protection

What’s the biggest cause of skin ageing, apart from time itself? The Sun. Exposure to UV rays is a major contributor to skin ageing. Protect your skin by applying a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days. Wearing protective clothing and seeking shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest, can also help protect your skin. For more skin-health effectiveness, use a sunscreen and anti-ageing cream combined.

Nutrition

Ultra Processed Foods

Recent research underscores the importance of dietary choices in managing the signs of ageing. A study conducted by the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, found a significant link between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and the accelerated shortening of telomeres, key markers of cellular ageing (Alonso-Pedrero et al., 2020). Telomeres protect chromosomes, and their length is considered an indicator of biological age. The study revealed that individuals consuming higher amounts of ultra-processed foods were up to 82% more likely to have shortened telomeres, suggesting a direct correlation between diet and the acceleration of the ageing process. This research advocates for a reduction in ultra-processed food intake as part of a healthy lifestyle to slow down the signs of ageing.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidants protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which can lead to premature skin ageing. We encourage the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as:

  • Fruits: Berries, oranges, and cherries.
  • Vegetables: Spinach, kale, and bell peppers.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
  • Herbs and Spices (And Green Tea!)

These are not often mentioned, but incorporating herbs and spices into your diet can significantly benefit skin health thanks to their potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Ginger, with its gingerol compound, not only reduces inflammation but also enhances skin glow by improving circulation and protecting against premature ageing. Green tea, rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), offers protection from UV damage, improves skin hydration, and reduces redness.

Rosemary, cloves, oregano, and thyme are also invaluable for maintaining youthful skin. Rosemary’s antioxidants and antimicrobial properties help improve complexion and combat skin infections, while cloves, with their eugenol content, fight free radicals and reduce inflammation, aiding in acne prevention. Oregano, known for its ability to fight bacteria, is especially beneficial for acne-prone skin, and thyme’s thymol content makes it effective in treating skin infections and reducing inflammation.

Integrating these herbs and spices into your daily regimen can harness their natural power to protect your skin from environmental stressors, enhance its appearance, and support its healing process, contributing to a healthier, more youthful complexion.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for maintaining skin elasticity and hydration. They can also help reduce inflammation, which is linked to ageing. Suggest incorporating sources of omega-3s into the diet, such as:

  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
  • Plant-based Sources: Chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
  • Avocados: Rich in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for skin health.

Hydration

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of staying hydrated for maintaining skin health. Dehydrated skin can appear more wrinkled and aged.

Drinking at least 2 litres of water daily is widely recommended. Incorporating hydrating foods into the diet, such as cucumbers, watermelon, and strawberries, will add to your quota, while at the same time, limiting dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeine will help.

Probiotics and Gut Health

The gut-skin connection is another thing worth looking into, as it shows how our internal and external health are linked. The idea that our gut’s microbiota reflects our skin’s microbiota offers insight into our body’s interconnected systems. Studies have shown (referenced here: The Role of Probiotics in Skin Health) that an imbalance in our gut’s microbiota can lead to digestive issues and skin inflammation. This highlights the immune system’s role in protecting against harmful pathogens. More evidence is now pointing towards how a disturbed balance in gut microbiota can cause autoimmune reactions and inflammation, impacting organs like the skin.

Research supports the link between gut microbiota disorders and skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. These findings suggest that the immune system’s interaction with our gut and skin, through microbial interactions, is key to maintaining skin health. Thus, balancing our skin and gut health could be a strategic approach to addressing many skin issues.

Probiotics play a role in the story of gut-skin health. These beneficial bacteria are vitally important in balancing our microbiota, offering a new therapeutic path for inflammatory skin conditions. The gut-skin axis theory explains how the gut microbiota’s immune-modulating effects can benefit the skin. Taking oral probiotics, which are live microbes that help balance intestinal flora, is an innovative clinical approach. Probiotics not only have the potential to protect against skin ageing by regulating immune responses and inflammation but also increase serum levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are important for immune and inflammatory responses.

Oral probiotics are being studied as being potential dermatological treatments, providing benefits to the gut microbiota that help combat skin ageing. Their application in managing conditions like eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis involves regulating both the skin microbiota and the gut-skin connection. Investigating oral probiotics’ effects on skin ageing and their mechanisms demonstrates their therapeutic potential. It emphasises the deep connection between gut and skin health, leading to innovative treatments leveraging our body’s microbial partners.

The health of the gut microbiome is increasingly linked to skin health, the same as general health. Probiotics can help improve gut health, which in turn may benefit the skin. Suggested foods rich in probiotics, including:

  • Yoghurt: Look for varieties with live, active cultures.
  • Kefir: A fermented probiotic milk drink.
  • Fermented Foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.

Mention the potential benefits of probiotics for reducing inflammation and possibly improving skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vital component for collagen production, which helps keep the skin firm and youthful. Encourage readers to include more vitamin C-rich foods in their diet, such as:

  • Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits.
  • Strawberries: Also rich in antioxidants.
  • Bell Peppers: Especially red bell peppers, which are high in vitamin C.

Low-Glycemic Index Foods

Foods with a high glycemic index can spike blood sugar levels, leading to inflammation and potentially accelerating skin ageing. Another reason to banish sugar. We recommend choosing low-glycemic index foods, such as:

  • Whole Grains: Quinoa, barley, and oats.
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans.
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: Leafy greens, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Stress

In addition to dietary considerations, managing stress plays a crucial role in combating biological ageing. Chronic stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. A study highlighted by Healthline found that stress can significantly increase one’s biological age, though this effect can be reversed with proper recovery. Chronic stress triggers inflammation and DNA damage, accelerating ageing at a cellular level. However, adopting strategies to effectively manage stress, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and engaging in activities that bring joy, can slow down the ageing process.

Exercise for Skin Health

Exercise is a worthy addition to the list. You might not correlate skin health with exercise, but it can make a difference. How?

  • Moderate Aerobic Activity: Activities like brisk walking, cycling, and swimming are excellent for boosting circulation and oxygenation of the skin. When performed for at least 150 minutes weekly, these exercises can help flush out toxins from the body, reducing the likelihood of acne, rashes, and other skin problems.
  • Vigorous Activity: More intense exercises, such as running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or competitive sports, for 75 minutes each week, can increase the heart rate significantly. This improves cardiovascular health and dramatically enhances blood flow, promoting a healthy glow and skin vitality.

Additional Benefits of Exercise on Skin

  • Stress Reduction: Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. By reducing stress, exercise can lower the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can break down collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. Lower stress levels also mean less risk of stress-induced acne and other skin conditions.
  • Improved Sleep: Regular physical activity can help improve the quality of sleep. Better sleep contributes to the skin’s ability to repair itself overnight, reducing signs of ageing and enhancing skin health.
  • Detoxification: Sweating during exercise helps clear pores of accumulated dirt and oils, naturally detoxifying the skin. This can lead to clearer, healthier-looking skin over time.
  • Hormonal Balance: Exercise can help balance hormones that affect your skin. For example, it can reduce insulin levels, which, when elevated, can lead to excess sebum production and contribute to acne.

Sleep and Skin Health

Quality sleep is essential for skin health. This is why:

  • Cell Regeneration: Sleep promotes cell turnover and collagen production, essential components for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. The majority of cell repair and regeneration occurs during the deep sleep phases, highlighting the importance of uninterrupted, quality sleep.
  • Stress Reduction: Sleep helps regulate cortisol levels, the stress hormone that can negatively affect skin health by breaking down collagen and elastin. High cortisol levels can also exacerbate conditions like acne and psoriasis. Adequate sleep helps keep cortisol in check, supporting skin health.
  • Hydration Balance: Sleep helps regulate the body’s hydration levels. Proper sleep balances skin’s moisture levels, improving texture and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps prevent puffy eyes and dark under-eye circles.

Indoor Pollution and Skin Health

Indoor pollution is an often overlooked factor that can significantly impact skin health. Common indoor pollutants include smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints and cleaning products, dust mites, mould, and even gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These pollutants can irritate the skin, leading to inflammation, premature ageing, and exacerbation of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

Skin Barrier Disruption: Indoor pollutants can compromise the skin’s barrier function, making it more susceptible to irritants and allergens. This disruption can lead to increased dryness, irritation, and sensitivity.

Oxidative Stress: Many indoor pollutants generate free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and damage skin cells. This stress accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of firmness.

Inflammation: Exposure to indoor pollutants can trigger inflammatory responses in the skin. Chronic inflammation can hinder the skin’s ability to regenerate, contributing to the appearance of ageing.

There are many things you can do to reduce indoor pollution. In short, reducing chemicals and anything that increases burnt material in your home. Candles, log fires, and cooking are examples of this. And ventilate.

Smoking and drinking

For those of you who smoke and drink, you have not been let off the hook. The negative effects of smoking are so blatantly obvious by now a paragraph in an article will not cut it, really. This subject needs its own article. Just stop for your skin’s sake, if nothing else. And alcohol, well, just read these two effects:

  • Oxidative Stress: Consuming alcohol increases the production of free radicals that can hurt the skin’s structural components, such as collagen and elastin. This oxidative stress accelerates the skin ageing process, leading to sagging skin and deeper wrinkles.
  • Nutrient Absorption: Alcohol can affect the liver’s ability to release essential vitamins and antioxidants, which are crucial for maintaining healthy skin. It can particularly impact the availability of vitamins A, C, and E, which are vital for skin repair, protection, and regeneration.

The fight is over to you.

According to conventionally held wisdom, these lifestyle adjustments will contribute to lower biological age and reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can be a powerful weapon in your fight against biological ageing. We invite you to do your own research and speak to your own doctor before making drastic changes. Please take our advice with a pinch of salt (or not!)

References

 

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