How to Look 10+ Years Younger
Created and maintained by Kim Crawford, M.D., F.A.C.P.M., A.B.A.A.R.M.
Your skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside. Beauty is best enhanced from the inside first before we can do something about what’s seen on the outside. Learn about healthy skin habits, other beauty tips, and secrets.
Looking older than you think you should?
Are you looking in the mirror and the reflection you see doesn’t represent the real you? Is that person staring back at you looking a bit more old and tired than you want to look? Don’t worry! Let’s start the process to get you looking younger right now! First, all of the inside-out fixes which really do work.
Healthy skin habits
1) Anti-inflammatory foods
When you feed your body with nutritious and overall healthy superfoods, you not only feel the difference on the inside but you are practically glowing on the outside. Eat anti-inflammatory foods in your diet and take care of untreated oxidative stress, glycation, and inflammation. All of these problems negatively influence collagen and elastin production, and when you become healthier inside, it shows on the outside. For a full review of how to treat these three issues, make sure you read through The Basics of Disease Prevention. Here is a brief overview.
To quell oxidative stress, either you need to eat a good 10-12 servings of organic, non-GMO fruits and veggies daily or you need to “juice.” Another option for oxidative stress is to add a good, pharmaceutical grade multi-vitamin supplement.
Inflammatory eating speeds the aging process in all cells including skin cells. To avoid eating inflammatory foods, there are some basic rules. What you eat or don’t eat is a key factor in reducing inflammation in your body. Processed foods, junk foods, and fast foods trigger inflammation. Something else that many people do not realize is that sugar is known to damage DNA and that DNA damage leads to inflammation. Other inflammatory foods include starches, fruit sugar (fructose) and non-sprouted grains- especially those containing gluten. These ingredients all cause inflammation. That means skin inflammation too.
The effects of glycation at the cellular level may result in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, stiffness, and accelerated aging of the skin. Reduce your weight to normal and add glucose-lowering integratives as needed to control glycation.
2) Stop smoking
Smoking is one of the worst habits you can have if your goal is to look younger and stay healthy. There are characteristics that make smokers look older than they really are: gray skin, gauntness, and wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, and deep lines on the cheeks.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 toxins, many of which are absorbed directly into the skin. Smoking causes the blood vessels in the top layers of the skin to constrict, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood and causing a sickly pallor.
Smoking causes the skin to thin due to poor circulation, making lines and wrinkles more noticeable. It also reduces the production of collagen, which is needed to keep the skin plump and firm.
One study of 25 sets of identical twins (one a lifelong smoker, the other a non-smoker) by British researchers at St. Thomas’s Hospital found that the skin of the smoker was 25 percent thinner than the non-smoker’s. In a few cases, the skin was up to 40 percent thinner. Your appearance is just one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t smoke.
3) Avoid sun exposure and/or wear sunscreen
If you get lots of sun, it’s time to stop! Wear paraben-free #30 SPF for UVA and UVB protection when you are outdoors. Sunscreen is a must if you spend more than 10 minutes outdoors, no matter what the climate. Those UV rays get through even if it’s not visibly sunny. Don’t worry about Vitamin D because everyone needs supplementation, anyway!
Dermatologists and Functional Medicine doctors recommend applying SPF 15 (or greater – usually 30) sunscreen every day, even in the winter. For maximum anti-aging benefits, make sure to apply sunscreen to your ears, neck, décolletage, and hands. Since I live in Florida and have seen tourists turn red as beets, I personally recommend SPF #30; preferably barrier (think zinc oxide) rather than chemical; for health and environmental reasons. Also, do check that your sunscreen is protective for UVA and UVB rays.
4) Stay hydrated
Drinking lots of water is one of the easiest ways to look younger and feel your best.
Water is needed for almost every single body process. It’s required for everything from efficient weight loss, good sleep, perspiration, and the removal of waste products.
For your skin, water helps keep your skin moist, plump and supple. Fine lines and wrinkles appear more pronounced when you are dehydrated. Without adequate hydration, your skin can become dry and appear to lose elasticity. Inadequate hydration can also lead to premature wrinkles and fine lines.
And don’t be fooled by what everyone says you need as your daily water quota — about eight cups a day. You need to hydrate with filtered water: 2 glasses beyond ½ your body weight in ounces of water. And you need to adjust up for higher activity and climate. Your urine should be clear.
5) Learn to relax!
Chronic stress can deplete your body of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are needed for many important functions, including skin cell renewal.
Stress also makes people more likely to develop frown lines and other wrinkles, which all make the skin look older. Prolonged stress means an increased level of adrenaline which will constrict blood flow to the face. This translates into less collagen and elastin production.
6) Ask your doctor
Ask your doctor if you can be weaned from any pharmaceuticals, as many of them interfere with normal skin cell duplication and function; especially when combined with others.
7) Replace dental bridges with implants
Dental issues resulting in the use of bridges can age a face pretty dramatically. If bridges are worn rather than having dental implants implanted right into the gum tissue, upper bridges cause bone loss in the lower maxillary sinus area, and lower bridges cause bone loss in the jaw. This bone loss can result in the look of a sunken- in, and therefore older looking face.
8) Sleep well
Developing healthy sleep patterns is one of the best things you can do to ensure the long-term health of your skin. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to increase the amount of time you spend sleeping. It is more important to increase the quality of your sleep, rather than the quantity. Proper sleeping habits help all of our cells regenerate, thus supporting a youthful appearance.
Exercise should be an essential part of everyone’s life. It is just plain crucial for our health. Our skin loves exercise because it shunts more blood to the skin’s dermis to stimulate skin-firming collagen and elastin. More interesting is the evidence that cold water stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis which means it just might even be good for building collagen. Time to start swimming?
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Webinar with Dr. Kim
This webinar covers the basics on how to look younger. You will find additional answers in the next portion of this self help guide: Solutions.
Download and/or print these PDFs below for in-depth solutions.
The following articles are from Dr. Kim’s Aging Well blog and address some of the concerns in this guide.
Have a question for Dr. Kim? Just ask her.