(WellnessNova.com) - Conflicting reports about what works and what doesn’t to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles have many left confused. It seems like everyone’s tirelessly searching for that fountain of youth, and investing millions of dollars each year on commercial “eternal youth” products. But do any of them actually work? Fear not, nature’s given us safer and cheaper ways to keep you youthful and healthy.
Here are seven natural anti-aging methods that you can try today without breaking the bank:
1. What You Eat Is Important Too
Most people only think about topical products when wanting to look young again. Studies performed by the National Institute on Aging (part of National Institute of Health) have shown that caring about what you put in your body as much as what you put on your skin can promote healthy aging with lasting effects on both the quality and years of life.
An ongoing study published by The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, involving a regimen lowering the calorie intake of an average American diet by 20 to 40 percent while still including all needed nutrients, shows some promising results. Researchers found calorie restriction lessened risk factors for age-related diseases and increased indicators associated with a longer life span.
2. Sweat It Out
We all know working out keeps you looking and feeling younger. In fact, exercise is one of the best means available for delaying and preventing aging.
It’s important to get evaluated by a professional so they can recommend an individualized plan that includes types, frequency, and duration of exercises you can do based on your level of fitness.
Resistance exercises, or those that incorporate the use of light weights or exercise bands, can preserve bone density and enhance muscle mass (both of which naturally deteriorate as you age).
Also, flexibility training, balance exercises, stretching, and yoga help keep your body agile and help you avoid injury.
Exercising not only helps you lose weight, but keeps you looking young too!
3. Exfoliate Your Age Away
As for your skin, exfoliation is a key first step in an anti-aging skin care regimen. Exfoliation is a natural process that removes the oldest dead skin cells on your skin’s top layer. Approximately every 30 days our skin cells go through a continuous cycle that gradually brings older skin cells to your skin’s surface to be shed and replaced by newer skin cells.
When you age this process begins to slow and skin cells can begin to accumulate unevenly, causing a dry, rough, or dull appearance. A weekly exfoliating treatment can encourage skin cells to continue to regenerate. There are many different commercial exfoliating treatments on the market, ranging from five dollars to thousands of dollars. But you don’t need any of these expensive, chemically laden, microbead-containing treatments when there are many equally-effective and inexpensive natural alternatives available.
When choosing a natural exfoliation treatment look for products with natural derivatives of the alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid (found in milk, fruit, vegetables, and other plants), which are safe for all skin types.
You can also easily prepare your own natural exfoliator at home combining things like plain yogurt, lemon juice, and ground oats!
4. Retinol Keeps Wrinkles at Bay
Prescription-strength creams and serums containing retinoic acid can be highly irritating to the skin. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is much gentler than retinoic acid and is biochemically equivalent to retinoic acid, but may take a little longer to show results.
Abundant evidence shows that lotions, creams, or serums containing retinol helps to reduce wrinkles and ease skin discoloration caused by sun damage. It works by enhancing collagen production, smoothening your skin, and evening out pigmentation.
Be patient, and look for products with ingredients that contain naturally derived vitamin A. Carrot seed oil and avocado oil are both rich in vitamin A and are considered two of the best natural ingredients available to rejuvenate and regenerate skin tissue.
But ask your doctor before using these if you’re pregnant since vitamin A has been shown to increase the likelihood of certain birth defects.
While most dermatologists agree that sunscreen and moisturizer are the two most effective anti-aging products you can buy, you can skip those high-priced, fancy moisturizers in glass jars with tiny golden applicators. Why? The purpose of any moisturizer is to seal in moisture, which plumps the skin and keeps it supple and smoother in appearance. It doesn’t make a difference if the moisturizer you choose costs $20 or $2,000 — they use the same basic ingredients that are responsible for moisturizing your skin!
In fact, the “secret ingredient” found in many anti-aging products is just a moisturizer in disguise.
Vitamin E cream is a great natural moisturizer. You can apply it on top of your retinol at night.
6. Avoid Sun Exposure
Not only can unprotected sun exposure increases your risk for skin cancer, its UV rays cause many of the physical signs of aging. Protecting your skin with sunscreen is a must if you’re trying to stay looking young and healthy. In fact, Australian researchers found proof that regular sunscreen use actually does delay skin aging in healthy, middle-aged men and women.
It’s important to choose a natural sunscreen, like carrot seed oil, to avoid toxic chemicals. Artificial commercial sunscreens are known to cause cancer. Make sure it’s at least SPF 15 and offers both UVA and UVB protection. Remember to apply it every morning.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Insufficient sleep can cause or aggravate many diseases, but now Cleveland, Ohio’s Case Medical Center revealed from its clinical trial that it’s even correlated with reduced skin health. The study found those who didn’t sleep well exhibited more signs of fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and reduced elasticity.
Most experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, which can be especially difficult in older adults who often have a harder time going to sleep or staying asleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping or staying asleep, stick to a regular bedtime, avoid afternoon naps, and don’t drink liquids two hours prior to going to bed. Taking time to wind down before bed also helps. If you still can’t sleep, your doctor or a specialist may be able to help.
Aging may be unavoidable. But these inexpensive, healthy, and natural things can lengthen and bring back your youthful years.