Five tips you’ve never heard before
You know about fine lines, flabby thighs, and other telltale reminders that time is marching on. But lesser-known signs of aging can make you look older than your years, even if your skin’s smooth and your body’s toned. Read on for five little-known signs of aging, and how to combat them.
Using a super-moisturizing hand cream will protect nails throughout the day.
1 - Skimpy brows.
Years of enthusiastic tweezing, threading, and waxing can leave once-full eyebrows thin and ragged; additionally, lightening or even graying of the eyebrow hairs makes brows look that much sparser. Additionally, brow hair tends to thin with age. Very sparse outer edges of the brows can also be caused by hormonal shifts and a decrease in thyroid function, also common with age. The result: eyes look tired, old, and droopy. Youthful solutions: start by waxing and tweezing prudently to avoid over-plucking hairs. Use a pencil, brush, or liner to fill in brows, matching color as closely as possible to your natural hair color or going slightly darker. Or try supplements: iron and zinc strengthen hair follicles and can prevent brows from getting thinner. If you suspect thyroid problems, check with a health care professional, and try a thyroid support complex.
2 - Ridges on nails.
As you age, you might notice lengthwise bumps or ridges in the nails. Think of them as nail wrinkles: they’re a natural result of aging, caused by diminished circulation to the extremities and the long-term effects of UV radiation from the sun. But the ridges you see are actually the stronger, healthier part of the nail; the concave portions are the damaged, thinner part of the nail, caused by diminished function of the nail matrix. Lengthwise ridges evenly spaced across the nail are generally harmless. Horizontal ridges, however, may signal an underlying medical condition; check with your health care provider. Youthful solutions: resist the temptation to file or buff ridges, or you’ll be removing the strongest part of the nail. Instead, keep cuticles moisturized with a good cuticle cream that’s rich in shea butter or other emollient oil. Using a super-moisturizing hand cream will also protect nails through the day. And nail supplements made with biotin, collagen, or MSM will strengthen nails and help prevent ridges and breaking.
3 - Brittle hair.
Thick, glossy hair is a hallmark of youth and health. But as we age, the natural oils on the scalp diminish and hair becomes less elastic and shiny. Additionally, the texture of the hair itself becomes coarser and more wiry with age as the cuticle—the outer portion of the hair shaft—begins to thin, making it more easily damaged and brittle. Other age-related changes to hair: the cells stop producing pigment, leading to gray or white hair. And a reduction in the size of the hair follicle leads to hair thinning and loss. Youthful solutions: use a gentle, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, with plant oils and hair-nourishing ingredients such as biotin, horsetail, or nettles. Also, try a weekly intensive hair conditioner that’s rich in neem or argan oil. Supplements with biotin, silica, collagen, keratin, and amla (Indian gooseberry) can also ensure more lustrous locks.
4 - Old-people smell.
You’ve heard of it, and it’s really a thing: that characteristic “old-people smell” is caused by breakdown of the skin’s antioxidant defenses and a tendency for surface oils, especially omega-7 fats, to become oxidized more rapidly. These fats react with oxygen, forming a chemical compound called nonenal—responsible for the greasy, sweet-ish odor. It can start in people as young as 40, and is exacerbated byhormonal changes, especially during menopause. Higher levels of testosterone are also associated with nonenal; one study found middle-aged men smelled worse than any other group. Unlike sweat, the oxidized fats are not water soluble, so normal washing with soap and water won’t help. Youthful solutions: clean up your diet; alcohol, meat, and fat can increase oxidation of fats on the skin, exacerbating nonenal odors. Use lotions and moisturizers enriched with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E to strengthen skin and combat oxidation. Look for soaps, sprays, and washes that contain green tea or persimmon; some studies suggest the antioxidants in both can combat nonenal.
5 - Dull eyes.
Bright eyes with clear, luminous whites signal youth. But as we age, changes to the sclera (the white of the eyes) after years of exposure to UV sunlight, pollution, and contaminants can lead to subtle yellowing and dullness in the whites of the eyes. A decrease in the number of mucous cells that line the eyelids can lead to diminished tear production and dryer eyes, resulting in irritation and redness. And overall brightness is impacted by drooping eyelids and bags under the eyes, which can cast shadows and leave eyes looking dull. Youthful solutions: lining the inner rim of the lower eyelid with a flesh-toned or white pencil can make your peepers look whiter and brighter. Homeopathic eye drops help remove redness and moisturize dry eyes. Eye creams with caffeine can diminish eye puffiness and reduce dark circles. And eye supplements high in lutein, astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, rutin, and anthocyanins will keep eyes glowing and bright from the inside out.
Hollywood Youth Secret?
Could human growth hormone (HGH) be the ultimate anti-aging secret? HGH is naturally produced by the pituitary gland, but production declines with age. It regulates sugar and fat metabolism, and is involved in maintaining skin and muscle tone. Could increasing HGH levels in the body “trick” cells into acting younger? In 1990, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that injections of HGH resulted in fat loss and muscle gain. Ever since, several Hollywood elite are rumored to have frequented clinics that offer HGH injections. Among the reported benefits of HGH are better-looking skin, greater energy, a healthier sex drive, and stronger immunity.
Follow-up studies have not been able to replicate the results of the 1990 study. However, a 2012 double-blind study conducted using a supplement that stimulates the body’s natural production of HGH (SeroVital-hgh) showed significant improvements in metabolism and endurance in both men and women. This special combination of amino acids increased natural HGH production by more than six times the levels ecorded at the beginning of the study. And anecdotal reports corroborate this research—no injections required.
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