Last year, Americans spent nearly 250 billion dollars on cosmetics, lotions, and creams in an attempt to slow down and reverse the aging process of their skin. Unfortunately, many skincare products sold in drugstores and department stores fail to truly reverse signs of aging, and are only able to temporarily tighten and improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

The outer layer of our skin is known as the epidermis, which is supported by our dermis — the inner, spongy layer of skin underneath the epidermis that contains collagen and blood vessels. When the dermis experiences a collapse of collagen and blood vessels due to poor health and nutrition, our epidermis can become dry, thinner, and wrinkled. Most commercial skincare products only treat the epidermis topically and fail to treat the dermis. Therefore, if your dermis continues to stay damaged, your epidermis will also continue to stay affected regardless of the amount of skincare products you use — including those that contain collagen-boosting properties.

The best way to keep your skin healthy, beautiful, and youthful is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and start practicing these five habits.

1. Avoid excess sun exposure

Excess sun exposure can penetrate straight through the epidermis and into the dermis — directly damaging collagen. Look for sunscreen products that contain protection against UVA and UVB rays, and wear sunglasses and clothing that protect your entire body from the sun’s rays. For extra protection against the sun, eat foods that contain antioxidants that can protect your skin from the aging process, such as blackberries, blueberries, green, leafy vegetables and yellow-orange vegetables such as peppers and carrots.

2. Reduce your exposure to toxins

Toxins such as those that come from secondhand smoke and household cleaning solutions can damage your collagen even without coming into direct contact with your skin. Although it may be difficult to avoid toxins completely depending on your environment, start being consciously aware of surrounding toxins. Take steps to avoid encountering secondhand smoke, start buying organic produce and natural household cleaning solutions, and drink filtered water at all times.

3. Stop eating sugary and starchy food products

The glucose molecules found in most sugar and starch products will attach to collagen and cause them to collapse as a result. Stop eating an excessive amount of sugary and starchy food products that are processed and high in carbs to prevent your skin from aging at an accelerated rate and becoming wrinkled. Instead, consume whole, healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes to get radiant and glowing skin.

4. Find ways to manage emotional stress

Long-term emotional stress can cause your body to age at a faster rate because it speeds up the cell-dividing process. If you frequently experience emotional stress in your life, take steps to eliminate those sources, or find new, effective ways to manage your stress. Take up yoga or exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and other activities that can soothe you and help you feel relaxed.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation only

Excessive alcohol consumption and binge-drinking can lead to accelerated aging because alcohol dehydrates our bodies and skin. Alcohol also depletes our body’s levels of vitamin A — which is an essential building block for collagen — and impacts the way our body filters toxins. Instead, enjoy the benefits of alcohol by drinking it in moderation, since minimal alcohol consumption can actually lead to improved heart health. When you do drink, make sure you consume plenty of water afterward to prevent your skin and body from becoming too dehydrated.

Rock Creek Wellness offers a number of aesthetic services and skincare products in Kansas City designed to help you look and feel your best. Reveal the beautiful, youthful skin that is hiding under years of stress and free-radical damage through our pharmaceutical-grade aesthetic services. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and sign up to receive a 10 percent off coupon on our line of skincare products.