The skin is the fastest-growing and largest organ in our body—about 20 square feet, accounting for about 10 percent of our body weight. It acts as the most conspicuous mirror of the aging process. As our skin becomes thinner, it is more easily damaged, loses volume and elasticity, and can sag and wrinkle.

The three main constituents that make up the bulk of our skin are collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. Collagen, which makes up about 75 percent, contributes strength and firmness, hyaluronic acid maintains moisture in the skin by trapping water, and stretchy elastic fibers containing elastin make up about 1 to 2 percent of our skin and help it bounce back into shape.

Wrinkles occur where fault lines develop in aging skin, a process comparable to breaking in leather gloves. Over time, the skin folding caused by everyday facial expressions etches the temporary grooves into permanent wrinkles. The key to preventing wrinkles is preventing the underlying structural damage that makes your skin susceptible to them via choices such as tobacco avoidance and regular sun protection.

Indeed, protecting our skin from sun damage is the single most effective way to slow the signs of aging. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chemicals in air pollution that appear to contribute to skin aging, can also be found in foods like meat. The carotenoid nutrients in certain colorful fruits and vegetables can offer a more “glowing” appearance, and the nutrients in greens may improve skin elasticity, collagen status, and facial wrinkles. Drinking extra water can decrease symptoms of skin dryness and roughness; honeybush tea may reduce eye wrinkles; cocoa powder may increase skin thickness and elasticity and decrease wrinkle severity; ground flaxseeds can improve skin smoothness; and soy foods can improve facial skin elasticity and fine wrinkles. Indeed, a whole food, plant-based diet can be considered an anti-wrinkle diet, but a regular, reliable source of vitamin B12 is critical.

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.

Image Credit: Image by Peggychoucair from Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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