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The Top 10 List for Aging Gracefully…and BEAUTYfully Part 2

In part one of our series, we considered factors affecting Aging Gracefully and BEAUTYfully® in the simplest foundational terms…Skincare Essentials. In part two, we are going to the other end of the spectrum, to look at the bigger wellness picture to discover the Mind-body impact on our skin and overall health.

Being healthy doesn’t happen by doing one singular thing, likewise, healthy skin isn’t a result of doing just one thing, sorry to say, there is no magic wand. In both cases, many variables culminate to create a healthy or HOLISTIC result. Our bodies are a delicate balance and one aspect has impact on the next, the old song about the “head bone connected to the neck bone” can be taken figuratively to help explain the holistic nature of all the variables that work to keep us healthy or not. The trick is to adopt as many healthy lifestyle habits as we can to enhance our state of wellbeing.

4.  Yin…Sleep

A 2013 sleep study conducted by the University Hospitals Medical Center, determined that the quantity of sleep had a direct effect on the skin and the appearance of aging, specifically  poor sleepers had more signs of skin aging. In addition, those individuals had reduced recovery from several environmental factors that caused stress. These factors include the disruption of the skin barrier. In Deepak Chopra’s recent book he indicates that a minimum of 8 hours of deep and REM sleep are required to give the brain time to release the chemicals created in the brain during the day to help release stress and for general brain health, including helping to reduce the risk of dementia. Studies in Circadian Body Rhythms suggest that our deepest sleep occurs around 2AM. Additionally studies show that using devices such as are cell phone and tablets just before bed impact our ability to fall asleep and sleep deeply…it’s a lot easier to dog ear the best pages of an old school read anyway.

symbol for yin & yangThe way you sleep can impact the skin’s appearance. For instance, dark circles can appear on your skin if you are a stomach sleeper, as well as puffiness caused by decreased circulation due to constriction of the tiny capillaries around the eyes. Sleeping on your back is recommended, keeping your head raised just above your body.  Stomach sleepers get a double whammy when sleeping on fabrics, such as flannel during winter months, which cause increased TEWL (transepidermal water loss), leading to more dehydration of the skin due to loss of moisture.

Adequate sleep has another major benefit, that is when our body goes into healing and regeneration mode. Tissue repair, hormone release and relaxation are critical to our health. In our skin specifically, during sleep, there is an increase in cell turnover, protein assembly resulting in repair and an increase in Fibroblast activity; you may recall these are our BFF cells since they produce collagen and elastin to help strengthen our skin! It is at night, during this regenerative period that the most active/corrective skincare ingredients are used in a homecare protocol to provide the skin the necessary nutrition to work on our behalf…maybe that is why it is called BEAUTY sleep. 😉

5.  Yang – Exercise

So many fun activities to choose from! Hiking Spur Cross, a bicycle ride through town, walking your dog through a dry wash, Zumba with Patty, TRX with Julia, Yoga…well the options on that are numerous…AND a recent study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal determined that dancing is the most efficient physical activity to slow down the process of aging in the brain…so get over your fear of the white man’s overbite and get up there and dance!

Whether you are setting a goal and running alone to train for a race, playing pickleball to add a social aspect to your exercise program, or weight training to build muscle strength the net net for the skin is the same. When we feel good, we feel healthy and vibrant which gives us a natural healthy glow and a greater sense of calm due to reduction of stress and increase of endorphins. But if we dive a little deeper we find that when we increase our circulation through exercise, oxygen and other nutrients in the blood are carried to the cells throughout the body, our skin included, carrying away cellular waste such as free radicals.

6.  “Mind-body Interventions” and Massage

BW illistration flower blossom with person centerScience is finally confirming what wellness practitioners have known for decades. A recent study published in Frontiers in Immunology reported that Mind-body Interventions such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and similar wellness practices, have positive effects on our psychological health. Further, massage and other modalities such as reflexology, improve the blood circulation and can put us into a state of deep relaxation, helping to release the physical symptoms of tension.

Placing the body into a more relaxed state, through regular massage and Mind-body Interventions, can enhance more relaxed and restful sleep patterns, which in turn ensures the body’s systems have time to rest and work on repairing and rebuilding tissues while sleeping; which among numerous health benefits, leaves skin looking healthier and more refreshed, as previously discussed.

Using various methods to bring relaxation to both body and mind is important because when the body is in a state of stress, the “Fight or Flight” response triggers the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, causing muscles to tense and blood pressure to increase. If this state continues, insomnia, feelings of anger and anxiety can persist, while the body’s immune system capacity begins to decrease, causing one to become prone to a lesser state of health in both body and mind. High levels of adrenaline can lead to hormone imbalance which can directly impact the skin in the form of inflammation or acne.

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