Anti-aging is a term that has been flown around since the advent of the beauty industry’s realm of facial treatments for sunspots and wrinkles started to come onto the market ~ but what does this really mean and can we truly reverse aging with a skincare cream, or at all?

From the research into aging we know that cellular break down is higher and cellular repair is slower. There are many factors that speed aging such as oxidative damage from sun for example but also from many other places. We know that DNA ‘ages’ and telomere length is a factor in the life of a DNA molecule ~ and the we also know that the only known ways to ‘slow’ or prevent aging is to stress less, sleep well and eat less. Yes that’s right eating a low calorific diet is a protective factor when it comes to age. Hard to imagine that but it seems that body is better able to sequester nutrients and lower inflammation when the body is burdened with less food to process, however diet quality is also a factor. So what we know is that as we age we need to eat less and therefore include higher quality foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables which contain more nutrients, water and fibre per gram and less calories. This may be because as we age we have a tendency to put on more weight as fat tissue than muscle and this correlates with a declining thyroid activity ~ all part of the normal aging process.

We also know that high levels of stress hormone lowers collagen repair and this also leads to increased signs of aging e.g. wrinkles and arthritis! Collagen repair takes place while we sleep and uses collagen reserves, vitamin C and zinc to do the work. Couple high stress and bad sleep with oxidative damage from the effects of pro-oxidants like the sun, environmental toxins and lack of essential nutrients and we have the conditions ginseng for the perfect aging storm!

So how do we prevent aging from a biochemical and nutritional perspective? Enhance cellular repair, heal and prevent oxidative damage and lower inflammation. Yes the only true anti-aging skin product is sunscreen! But in terms of repair Vitamin A/Retinol, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and plant stem cells in creams ramp up our mechanisms for repair. All the rest including vitamin C only add nutrients via the surface of the skin ~ these nutrients are better taken internally in order to get to where they need to go. Aging is a big subject and that is why we have a 1 hour talk in order to present to you the fundamentals of aging and the keys to prevent aging as much as possible from a cellular, nutritional and herbal perspective. See our education section for more info. §

Simone Reddington is the founder of the Apothecary, a Medical Herbalist and thinker. She holds a degree in Psychology and is a professional member of the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists.