Skin Deep

The sun combined with the natural aging process can leave lasting marks on your largest organ. Over time, cellular rejuvenation slows, the epidermis (outer skin layer) thins and roughens, and elasticity decreases — leading to splotches, wrinkles, and sags. Aside from kicking the nicotine habit, what can you do to stay supple?

Avoid sudden, deep sunburns. Studies show a sudden scorch increases your long-term cancer risk, even more than gradual sun exposure over time. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply after swimming, exercising, or being out for 2 hours or more.

Nourish your skin. Certain foods deliver key nutrients that stimulate healing and cell resurfacing. Eat biotin-rich eggs, legumes, avocados, nuts, and soybeans to decrease dryness. Enjoy a cup of green tea to help ward off effects of sun damage. And throw in some pomegranates to kick up collagen production — the natural protein that stimulates regeneration.

Be wary of hyped products. Lotions, potions, and rub-on creams promise to smooth out crow’s feet, raise droopy lids, and soften rough patches. But do they work? Some jars contain specific compounds, such as peptides and hydroxy acids, designed to activate healing and restoration. But others may do nothing more than dry out your skin. Consider that most applications offer temporary appearance changes, but few actually alter the makeup of the skin.

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