Aging is a constant topic of conversation and of course one of the most common skincare concerns. Free radical damage, sun exposure, stress and environmental pollution all contribute to aging skin. But, there’s also a deep, internal reasoning for aging skin. There’s a science behind aging and it can help us understand how we can live longer and potentially slow down the process. It’s a new year, new you. It’s not just about aging; the key is longevity for a better quality longer lasting life. Our bodies’ most microscopic elements have much to do with the aging process. First and foremost: Telomeres. Telomeres are the end caps that protect our DNA strands. Over time as cells divide, telomeres shorten and eventually cause cells to no longer reproduce. When cells stop reproducing, our skin is especially affected because skin cells start reproducing less. Just as the plastic tips on your shoelaces keep them from fraying, telomeres keep our DNA strands intact. Essentially, shorter telomeres correlate to a shorter life span – and faster aging of the skin, and longer telomeres are linked with longevity. While there’s no scientific evidence that telomeres can be lengthened, we can slow telomere shortening, with certain enzymes, ingredients and behaviors. The second internal process: Glycation. Glycation is a process by which sugar molecules from fructose, bond with proteins in the body and create “advanced glycation end” products or “AGE.” These products create inflammation and are very difficult to get rid of, causing damage to the body, which can lead to disease, aging and a shorter lifespan. This process is a slow one, but if your body has high levels of sugar, you increase the opportunity for a glycation reaction. The process generally stems from overconsumption of sugars, and while this can lead to a number of health problems, it also causes the collagen in your skin to age faster, making it less light and elastic. This may seem confusing, but what does it all mean? The signs of the aging can be slowed with the right skincare products – but we must also tackle it from the inside out. Studies have shown that lifestyle factors including exercise, sleep and diet can protect our DNA, and slow the aging process. Think physical and nutritional - then topical. Preventing the signs of premature aging isn’t a quick fix, but more of adopting a lifestyle to encourage the longevity of a youthful glow. Young skin equates to young cells, which is all dictated by DNA. Research has found that moderate-intensity physical activity helps prevent cell aging. When you exercise, your body creates protective molecules that protect your telomeres from being snipped and shortened. And, as we know, longer telomeres means a longer lifespan and less aging to the cells and to the skin. You don’t need to become a world-class athlete to protect yourself and your cells. Simple activities such as biking and running or even neighborhood walks could be a good hobby and habit to pick up for the longevity of your well-being. However, more exercise in greater variety is even better. While exercise is effective for people of all ages, researchers found that the effects of exercise on the length of telomeres are strongest among people in middle age – generally when we become concerned with aging skin. Middle age can be the perfect time to pick up an exercise routine for those who already haven’t. Your lifestyle choices have much to do with the longevity of your life and more often than not this has much to do with your dietary habits. Too much sugar and processed foods has become the leading cause of premature aging and conditions including high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. We also know that too much sugar can be the cause of damaged collagen, making the skin thinner and less elastic. To combat premature aging from glycation and adopt an anti-aging lifestyle, it’s wise to control your fructose intake – yes, this can even come from fruits, as well as excessive amounts of grains and other inflammatory ingredients like trans fats. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet with anti-oxidant rich whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Finally, our personal favorite. Besides the relaxation of doing your skin care routine and the luxurious smell of your favorite cleanser; certain ingredients in your products have the power to protect your DNA and fight against the glycation process topically, in turn preventing the signs of premature aging in your skin. Key Ingredients: Aminoguanidine slows down telomere shortening and improves the DNA’s ability to repair itself. It also works to inhibit the glycation process, which in turn helps maintain collagen and rejuvenate the skin. Probiotics promote the healthy growth of probiotic bacteria that enhance the synthesis of anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants can help fight against free radical damage, one of the leading causes of aging skin. Probiotics strengthen the skin’s overall immunity to achieve longevity. Found in Harmony Glycopolymer Solution & Glow to Go Glycolic Acid Peel Pads, which gently exfoliate and strengthen the skin. Red Algae contains special free-radical scavengers to protect your skin and support the DNA from issues of stress. Ergothioneine is an antioxidant amino acid that is naturally occurring in the body mostly around those cells that are subject to free radical damage. It can also be applied topically continue supporting your DNA and reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles. Found in Protec Plus Natural SPF 30 – a hydrating, mineral sunscreen to protect against free radical damage from UV exposure. Astaxanthin is one of the most potent and beneficial antioxidants, with DNA-protective capabilities. Found in R&R Peptide-Packed Eye Serum, which gently exfoliate and strengthen the skin. While topical skincare is helpful in preventing aging skin, it’s important to understand what’s going on internally that contributes to the process of aging. Our cells make up who we are; protecting them is the foundation to health and longevity. You can’t prolong aging forever, and there’s no one-stop shop for a fountain of youth. But, adopting a lifestyle that promotes longevity can increase the span of your life and the quality of your complexion. Stay glowing, beauties!