The Secrets to Healthy Aging

Right now, there are 78 Million Baby Boomers approaching Retirement Age. As a generation, Baby Boomers are doers so it is no wonder that they are not going to sit back and get “old” without putting up a fight. Even at the age previous generations retired to live out their years quietly, Baby Boomers are still working, loving, and fighting for what they care about. It’s this spirit that is fueling the demand for anti-aging products in attempt for the outside to match how young Baby Boomers feel inside. In fact, consumers shelled out $6.4 Billion on anti-aging products last year alone.

The question remains, however, even with all of the dollars and resources being invested to turn back the clock, are we fighting a losing battle? To understand what we’re up against, we need to understand the nature of Aging.

What is Aging? Aging is simply what our genes are doing to us and what we do to ourselves. In it’s most obvious, aging can be seen when we look in the mirror. Moles, uneven pigmentation, dullness, sagging skin, wrinkling, loss of elasticity, a thinning epidermis, dry skin conditions, and slower healing are some of the outwardly visible signs, which are the result of both internal and external factors.

Internally, our skin is battling genetic predispositions, hormonal changes, habitual movements such as frowning, and stress, which increases the production of cortisone, a hormone associated with the development of belly fat. Externally, our skin in battling free radicals from pollution and smoking as well as harmful UV damage.

Unfortunately, as Ponce de Leon discovered, there is not mythical Fountain of Youth. However, we can adopt a holistic approach to care for our skin and bodies to slow down the aging process in a healthy manner.

First, knowledge is power and as skincare professionals we need to live and breathe a wellness lifestyle so that we may educate others. Know that there are “Bogus Buzzwords” out there trying to seduce us from our core knowledge. “Cosmeceuticals”, “Medical-Grade”, “Pharmaceutical-grade”, and “Organic Skincare” are a few of the culprits.

I would like to take our industry back to the basics of our first esthetics class to understand where we need to go. Mini-quiz- what is the purpose of the skin?

· Protection: The skin protects internal organs from injury and infection. Keratin, in the outer layers of cells, stops harmful germs from invading the body. Skin’s elasticity withstands physical pressure and reduces injuries.

· Regulation: Sweat secretions evaporate on the skin’s surface, thereby cooling the body and regulating body temperature.

· Secretion: Skin excretes toxins though the sweat glands.

· Sensation: Skin is a sensory organ. Nerve endings in the Epidermis respond to heat, cold, touch, pressure, and pain.

· Storage: The skin stores Vitamin D.

As we age, the Skin as an organ begins to not function at the high level it does in our youth. To me the answer to turning back the clock is simple; we must restore and revitalize the Skin’s function, not strip it away. No, client’s do not need this year’s buzzwords; what they need is 4 simple things that we estheticians are licensed to provide.

First, maturing skin needs Gentle Exfoliation. I specify “gentle” because more aggressive forms of exfoliation such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, glycolic acid, phenol peels, or laser resurfacing may actually accelerate aging and deteriorate skin functioning by creating long-term skin sensitivity, redness or lead to hyper-pigmentation from sun exposure.

Next, Massage relaxes and tones facial muscles, releasing stress from the face, which causes wrinkles, lines, and crow’s feet. To achieve a therapeutic effect, knowledge of the facial muscles is a must.

Third, Hydration of the skin must be improved. The Stratum Corneum needs moisture to be flexible, firm, translucent, and to work as a barrier.

Finally, Protection must be prescribed for the skin. Using products that contain ingredients such as Linoleic Acid, Anti-oxidants, Polyphenols, and Vitamins can increase the Skin’s barrier. And, of course, daily sun protection is essential.

Unlike earlier generations, Baby Boomers with the help of the professional esthetics industry are armed with knowledge to help them age healthily and beautifully.

Lydia’s Skincare Do’s Lydia’s Skincare Don’ts
Take better care of yourself on a daily basis. Don’t go to tanning salons. It will cause skin cancer and premature aging.
Exercise daily using calisthenics and yoga. Breathe deeply. Don’t smoke – it will kill you.
Cleanse and Tone skin twice daily. Avoid the sun from 10am-4pm when sunrays are most damaging.
Always use a moisturizer and nourishing cream. Avoid stressful situation- proper planning prevents anxiety.
Sleep with a silk eye mask to relax the eye. Don’t eat junk food.
Use a Nourishing Cream all over the body. Avoid process foods with high content of nitrates, sugars and sodium.
Wear Sun-protective clothing. Don’t eat fried foods.
Apply sun protection with SPF and anti-oxidants such as green tea, white tea, and red tea. Thermus Thermophilius helps to protect the skin from heat damage. Don’t use soaps; avoid Benzoyl Peroxide, hydrogen and Retinoic Acid Glycolic Acid (reduces the protective barrier of the skin).
Enjoy rejuvenating facials. Don’t pick and scratch the skin. It removes a barrier and may cause skin infections.
Take a nightly bath. Don’t go to bed without soaking for 15 minutes in a seaweed bath. Relax!Take Spirulina seaweed daily. Don’t overdo – remember less is more!

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