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How to Prevent Aging Before It Happens
Written by Dr. Cynthia Kwong   

At some point, the mirror betrays you. It shakes your sense of youth with the first noticeable signs of aging – little wrinkles around the eyes, sun spots and some sagging skin. There used to be only a few options for turning back the clock without going under the knife. But today, an emerging trend in anti-aging combines facial procedures with natural approaches to soften the signs of aging.

Your Anti-Aging Plan

In your twenties and thirties, the face still has an ample amount of natural fullness since the underlying structures have yet to be affected by any significant aging process. Despite the fullness, you will notice the very first lines and wrinkles around the eyes, as well as slight bags and dark circles under the eyes. The key is doing smaller procedures for enhancement and prevention, while focusing attention on the practice of proper diet and lifestyle habits to maintain a youthful look. This approach helps sidestep more extensive procedures later on.

Maintaining Youthful Eyes

The delicate eye area can be one of the first places to reveal signs of aging such as lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags and dark circles. The following treatments and natural approaches will help stave off the appearance of aging in this area.

Eye Condition Cause Cosmetic Treatment Natural Approach

Under-eye bags

  1. Inherited prominent fat pads
  2. Fluid retention
  1. Hyaluronic acid filler can be used to fill in the surrounding area so that the entire under-eye area is smooth and full.
  1. Address underlying causes of fluid retention such as high salt intake, allergies, sinus congestion, cold and flu. Consider neti-pots to irrigate the nasal cavity and relieve fluid buildup.
  2. Avoid lying on your side or stomach, which encourage fluids to collect under your eyes. Instead, lie on your back and elevate your head with an extra pillow.
  3. Avoid caffeine and excess alcohol. They cause dehydration, weakening the skin around the eyes.
  4. Cold compress or massage with cold jade stone around the eye area can help relieve puffiness, or can be used on the sinus areas to relieve congestion.
Under-eye discolouration
  1. Thinning of skin, exposing tiny blood vessels that lie just below skin
  2. Volume loss around the eye area
  3. Inherited pigment issue among people of Asian, and African descent
  1. Hyaluronic acid filler can be used to fill in under-eye hollows and reduce the look of dark circles.
  2. Pigment-specific lasers such as Q-switched Nd-YAG laser can destroy pigment cells and fade dark circles.
  3. Skin-lightening creams containing hydroquinone can reduce discolouration.
  1. Use natural skin lighteners such as creams with kojic acid, licorice, and vitamin C.
Lines and wrinkles
  1. Repetitive facial movements like squinting
  2. UV damage
  3. Smoking
  4. Inadequate sleep
  1. The progression of the first lines and wrinkles can be delayed with injectables and non-ablative laser resurfacing treatments.
  1. Avoid squinting, wear sunscreen, stop smoking, ensure 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Try cosmetic acupuncture, which involves insertion of needles into specific points on the face to promote blood circulation and flow of “qi,” resulting in improved collagen and elastin production.

Avoiding Age Spots

Dark brown pigmentations known as age spots become noticeable on the face, arms and hands. Years of prolonged sun exposure without adequate protection will result in these unsightly spots. Monitor your age spots for asymmetry, border, colour, diameter and evolving size, shape or symptoms. If you notice any changes, inform your doctor immediately to rule out skin cancer.

Cosmetic Treatment Natural Approach
  1. Hydroquinone supplemented with prescription-strength retinoid cream to slough away surface pigment.
  2. Pigment-specific laser treatments work best to lighten age spots. In particular, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is ideal for treating pigmented lesions such as age spots.
  3. Chemical peels or microdermabrasion treatments help lighten dark spots and smooth rough patches.
  1. Natural skin lighteners include kojic acid, licorice, and vitamin C.
  2. Use cleansers with physical exfoliants like beads, organic sugar or salt crystals, ground apricot shells or louffa to fade superficial pigmentation.

Superseding Skin Laxity

The collagen framework that supports the skin begins to decline in production in your mid-twenties. At that point, the facial skin that was once taut begins to look saggy. Skin laxity increases in severity as time goes by.

Cosmetic Treatment Natural Approach
  1. Laser resurfacing
  2. Chemical peels and AHA-containing skincare products
  3. Prescription-strength retinoid creams
  1. Avoid bar soaps as they are too alkaline and strip natural oils from the skin. Choose a cream cleanser instead.
  2. Select moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid – a natural humectant that moisturizes and plumps skin – and fruit enzymes to trigger cell turnover.
  3. Take nutritional supplements including vitamins C, E, A, K, and B complex; the minerals selenium, copper, zinc; and EFAs from fish or krill oil.
  4. Use herbs for collagen support, including bilberry, calendula, aloe, hawthorn, horsetail and gotu kola.
  5. Avoid prolonged exposure to high temperature environments such as saunas and steam rooms, since high temperatures accelerate the rate of collagen loss.
Dr. Cynthia Kwong -

Dr. Cynthia Kwong, ND, MSc, is Director of Nourish Spa. Dr. Kwong completed a Doctorate in naturopathic medicine and a Master of Science in nutrition at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. During her academic studies, Dr. Kwong completed a clinical and nutrition research internship at Yale University’s Integrative Medical Centre and Griffin Hospital’s Prevention Research Centre. www.nourishspa.ca




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