Beauty from the Inside Out: Intrinsic Aging- What it is and What we can Do About It

Happy Monday y’all! I hope your week is off to an amazing start!

Today I wanted to share a topic that I am extremely passionate about- Aging! How it affects us, our skin, our appearance, our energy levels, and how we can age as well as possible!

Intrinsic Aging

Intrinsic Aging is a term used to describe cutaneous (skin) aging due to internal factors such as genetics, internal physiological factors (such as disease, allergies, medications) and is also often described as aging due to chronological age.

There are a lot of opinions and theories on intrinsic aging, some of which stating that there’s nothing you can do about it. I disagree!

Aging Gracefully

Some of these may seem like very simple concepts, but they have a HUGE impact on how you age from the inside out:

  1. Don’t smoke– Smoking, while not only introducing thousands of chemicals and pollutants into the body, also deprives the skin of vital oxygen. When the skin lacks oxygen it can look gray, yellow, sallow or very pale. A lack of oxygen and microcirculation to the skin can also worsen skin conditions such as rosacea.
  2. Put healthy gut flora on your radar– “Gut flora- what is that?!” you ask? We all have a microbiome both inside our bodies and on the surface of the skin. I have discussed this in a previous post in which I saw a physician who treated me for a gut flora imbalance. Your gut flora is the composition of bacteria in our gut. Healthy bacteria helps us to metabolize, digest and synthesize nutrients from our food. The gut flora can be out of balance due to hormones, antibiotic use and even due to the foods we eat (such as foods high in sugar). For more information on balancing your skin’s microbiome, I urge you to read “The Beauty of Dirty Skin” by my dear friend Dr. Whitney Bowe.
  3. Eat your fruits and veggies– Plants are rich in micronutrients and antioxidants. Plants also produce chemicals that naturally protect them from environmental damage such as extremes in temperature. Fruits and veggies whose skins are exposed to the sun also provide fiber. Fruits and veggies also contain a high water content, bringing much needed hydration to the body, which brings us to number four-
  4. Drink sufficient H2O! Did you know that you only absorb half of the water from coffee and soda? (Aside from the fact that caffeine really isn’t good for the skin! It causes vasodilation, which constricts blood vessels and restricts oxygen flow to the skin!) Make sure you are drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water per day!
  5. Try to limit the number of prescription medications you take *Disclaimer* I am not a physician and this post is not a substitute for the advice of your doctor. However, it is a known fact that although some prescription medications can be life saving, all medications are not without their side effects. On a global level, the more you give your body to “deal with”, the greater the strain on your immune system and organs. Over time, this strain can have a cumulative effect, leading to auto immune disease and fatigue to name a few. If lifestyle changes can have the same effect on your condition as the medication (such as weight loss and less sodium intake on blood pressure, for example), I would strongly advise you to work with your physician on making those changes with an appropriate (and medically guided) titration off of those prescriptions.
  6. Consider being tested for allergies to food Though not yet medically proven and still being studied, I shared in this post that being analyzed for allergic responses to foods completely changed my health and my life. The immune theory is that, like with prescription medications, if your body is constantly reacting internally to the foods you eat, registering them as allergens and thereby triggering an immune response, it is going to put a strain on all of your internal processes and cells. A healthy immune system is not completely WITHOUT challenge, but minimizing them on an internal level can have great regenerative effects. They make in-home food sensitivity tests now, although I would advise you find a physician, homeopath or naturopath who specializes in treating food sensitivities and allergies.
  7. Talk to your physician about supplements. Supplementing EPA DHA (Omega 3 fatty acids) from cold water fish is known to reduce inflammation in the body. Your best bet is still to receive nutrients from the actual food itself (wild salmon is a wonderful oily fish to include in your diet weekly!), but a diet with a high ratio of Omega 6 (which comes from vegetable oil) to Omega 3 has been proven to elevate different markers of aging within the body such as homocysteine levels. Talk with your physician about Omega 3’s, Vitamin D and a multi vitamin.
  8. Consider seeing a specialist in hormone replacement therapy. Dr. James Forsythe, a pioneer in the anti-aging movement in medicine, prescribes off-label injectable Human Growth Hormone to his patients. His book, Anti-Aging Cures, offers a groundbreaking look at the way we can choose to age with the help of modern medicine. I highly suggest giving it a read, and if it sounds like it would be something you are interested in doing, seeking physicians in your area who specialize in this.

While I am a huge believer in good skincare and treatments on the surface (as well as neuromodulators such as Botox for prevention), aging well truly does begin inside.

Stay tuned for Friday’s post on Extrinsic Aging, and tips to help reduce its effects!

Thanks for stopping by! XO, Ashli

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