Understanding Skin Aging: What Really Causes It?

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My Anti-Aging Secrets for Younger, Stronger Skin.

We work SO hard for perfect skin. Clear of acne, free of blemishes and large pores, not too dry and not too oily, without any wrinkles or fine lines…

In fact, we tend to determine how old a person is based on external factors like the state of their skin. But did you know that your skin has an age separate from the years you’ve been living? There are several ways to slow down the aging of our skin. For example, quality, non-toxic skin products are a wonderful tool. However, those signs of age on our face are often reflections of internal health. 

My clients who have made even small changes to their diet have reported clearer and more hydrated skin, a feeling of radiance, and fewer wrinkles amongst other benefits! Keep reading for key nutrients to start including in your own diet, plus a few of my favorite lifestyle practices for truly radiant skin.


Why Does Skin Age So Fast?

One important thing to note is that researchers recently discovered that 60% of skin aging is determined by genetics. Still, your skin ages faster than the rest of your body because of DNA damage and exposure to external elements, such as the environment. 

At a cellular level, skin ages largely for these three reasons:

  • Intrinsic aging– which encompasses the DNA damage and ROS buildup that results in replicative senescence, or lack of healthy cellular regeneration, which in turn,  negatively affects skin cell proliferation. In other words, where the epigenome (the record of chemical changes to your DNA) is disrupted, your cells don’t divide properly. The result is senescent cells, or “zombie cells”, and they become more and more abundant over time. If you kill off these cells, or mute their gene expression, you get rejuvenation of the body. Learn more about senescent cells in this conversation with spermidineLIFE® Science Advisory Board Member, Dr. David Sinclair!
  • Exogenous insults to the skin – which include ultraviolet light, cigarette smoke, air pollution, diet, lack of sleep, topical applications, a high sugar diet, alcohol consumption, and repetitive muscle movements like squinting or frowning. 
  • An overgrowth of bad microbiota or lack of diversity in the microbiome – impacts the strength and functionality of the skin barrier, therefore accelerating skin deterioration and aging. A 2021 study published in Nature found that the Streptococcus species actually improved skin structure and the ability to be a barrier against harsh exogenous factors, thereby contributing to anti-aging of the skin. People who have this strain have more elasticity as well. At a cellular level, in aged skin cells, Streptococcus reduced gene expression when a culture of this strain was applied to the skin, it actually resulted in a more hydrated and elastic appearance.


MUTE and REVERSE Skin Aging at a Cellular Level 

One thing that “turns off” and even rejuvenates the health of senescent cells in your skin is spermidine. Spermidine is a naturally occurring organic compound, called a polyamine, that is found in the living tissues of our bodies and can be supplemented through dietary sources and extracts. Not only does this compound quiet your aging cells, it can recover the healthy information in your cell’s genes to show their youth again! A 2021 study found that spermidine reduces the gene expression of old, aging skin cells resulting in a stronger facial skin structure and lipid barrier.  

The epigenetic changes that spermidine sparks are highly influential on skin aging. As I often say, the body’s systems all affect one another. Even energetically and spiritually! These micro level aging factors like telomere shortening, collagen depletion, and oxidative stress ultimately affect the outward appearance of our skin cells. 

There are several other ways to encourage your body to repair at a cellular level, including autophagy. Autophagy is the process by which your cells remove damaged proteins, mitochondria and pathogens. To support your body’s autophagy process, try incorporating a fasting window or getting into a state of hypoxia via exercise or cold therapy. Learn more about these methods in the blog Autophagy for Longevity.


How to add spermidine to your supplement cabinet:

Unfortunately, the production of this anti-aging compound slows as we age, which is why I have begun to supplement with spermidine. When selecting supplements, you always want to make the most informed choice. Look for products that are backed by top tier researchers and as well as rigorously tested. I personally use spermidineLIFE® supplements, as their products are developed based on over 10 years of research in cooperation with internationally renowned cell scientists. The research-backed benefits of spermidine include regeneration of skin cells for stronger, glowing, healthy skin! 


More Skin-Healing Habits 

Here are a few other dietary and lifestyle practices that I have found to be beneficial for radiant, luscious skin from the inside out:

  1. Hydration – If you could do one thing for your skin, it should be to stay hydrated. I recommend that people drink their body weight in ounces of water each day, especially if you are looking to achieve luscious skin. I choose alkalized natural mountain spring water, when possible, but please don’t forgo proper hydration in exchange for seeking out the perfect H2O. You can add some excitement to your hydration with flavors and textures, such as those found in sparkling water, water infused with fruits, herbal teas and hydrating foods such as cucumber, watermelon and celery, although nothing is an actual substitute for plain, still water. It’s also important to moderate dehydrating beverages such as those that contain caffeine and alcohol. Drinking water will help your skin appear hydrated and healthy.
  2. Omega-3s – These fatty acids can help decrease the signs of aging, and increase skin hydration and smoothness. I love adding plant-based omega-3 containing flaxseed oil to my smoothies or even eating it in a daily spoonful. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease inflammation, which can be a root cause of many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. 
  3. Meditation and stress release – Stress can majorly impact your skin health. Stress increases the circulation of certain hormones throughout your body, which can trigger inflammatory skin conditions. Incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation, breathwork, and restorative yoga into your daily routine can help you manage stress and avoid stress-related skin health issues.  
  4. Sleep – Beauty sleep is a real phenomenon. Each night while you sleep, every cell in your body repairs and replenishes. Studies have shown that even a little bit of sleep deprivation can affect skin hydration, radiance and elasticity. Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and take measures to ensure that your sleep is restful. A few practices that can help you achieve a good night’s sleep include: limit caffeine, alcohol and sugar later in the day, allow yourself time to wind down with your favorite stress-relieving activity, turn off your screens at least an hour before bed, and keep your bedroom free from light and distractions.
  5. Gut health – What is happening in your gut has a tremendous impact on your skin health. A healthy gut microbiome leads to healthy, balanced skin through what scientists call the gut-skin axis. To maintain gut health (and therefore skin health) I recommend that people stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, eat a diet that is rich in fiber (vegetables, fruits, legumes), and take a high quality probiotic and prebiotic supplement. 
  6. Anti-inflammatory foods – Inflammation is at the root of many skin conditions, and anti-inflammatory foods help keep inflammation at bay. Anti-inflammatory foods include vegetables and fruits, nuts and olive oil. You’ll also want to limit foods that cause inflammation such as processed foods, foods that are high in sugar, and alcohol. Reduce inflammation by including foods that naturally contain spermidine too! For example, spermidine is found in wheat germ, green peppers, shiitake mushroom and amaranth grain.
  7. Exercise – Physical activity is really important for skin health for a number of reasons. Exercise boosts blood flow to the face and has been shown to not only clear skin, but to also reverse the signs of aging. Many people report a healthy glow for hours after finishing their workout.


In conclusion … 

From the day you are born your internal clock starts ticking. This includes everything from menstrual cycles, to circadian rhythm, to the cellular level- the epigenetic clock Dr. David Sinclair and I have spoken about on our Instagram LIVEs. When it comes to your skin’s clock, the result of mindful nourishment and incorporating these lifestyle practices into your regimen can be truly transformational. Even in a short period of time, you can make big changes in how youthful your skin looks and feels!

Learn more about the latest science in looking younger by watching this conversation

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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