How you age is not just a matter of your genes. Your skin is pretty much a reflection of your lifestyle, which, in turn, is all about how you eat, drink and live. If you are moaning and groaning over why your skin is suddenly looking dull, lifeless, tired or just old, check if you haven’t committed one or more of the seven deadly skin sins.
Are you getting enough water? Dehydration could be the reason why you look older than you are, and wrinkled. Lack of this wonderfully-replenishing lifesaver dries out your skin — your body’s largest organ — and dry skin is more susceptible to wrinkling than hydrated skin. You need about 8-12 glasses or about 2-3 litres of water a day. It will help you slow down, or even reverse, the aging process.
2. Foods high in sugar and fat
You see the effects of oxidation all around you – the rotting of fruit is the best example. When oxygen in the air comes in contact with the fruit, it slowly turns brown and eventually rots. Oxidation, while occurring naturally outside the body, is harmful if it occurs inside your body. Inside, the process of oxidation releases ‘free radicals’ that slowly damage organs, including the skin, aging it. Certain things we eat and drink, like fried or sugary foods, are oxidants. Antioxidant foods (green teas, fresh fruits and vegetables) reverse the oxidation process.
Caffeine, found in teas, coffees, cola drinks etc., cause oxidative stress and are also dehydrating. They leave you more thirsty than when you started.
Like caffeine, alcohol is the ultimate aging double whammy – it is high in sugar, which causes oxidative stress, and dehydration. Alcohol strips your skin of nourishment.
Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant, and is also known as a free radical scavenger. Smoking depletes your body’s quota of Vitamin C, and adds even more free radicals, fast-tracking the aging process. Add leafy greens and citrus fruits in your diet. Quit smoking.
6. No vegetable juice
Vegetable juices are fantastic antioxidants that brim with nourishing and healing properties. In a mixie, not a juicer, blend the juice of three raw vegetables. Add about half the pulp back to the glass, some water and season to taste. Drink up daily to look younger.
7. Sleep deprivation
Sleep is when your skin repairs itself. If you are not clocking enough sleep hours, you may be aging ahead of your time. There’s a reason it’s call ‘beauty sleep’. Now, the good news. All of the above are self-induced, lifestyle choices, old habits that can be broken. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the power to look young, fresh and healthy is more in your hands than you think.
(By Pooja Makhija, Consulting Nutritionist & Clinical Dietician)