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7 Steps to Wrinkle-Proof Your Face

Posted on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:26PM

Did you know that the average woman will have lost 40 percent of her skin's collagen by the time she's 60 years old? Well before menopausal age, women need to start their wrinkle-prevention therapy according to Dr. Henry Hess, in his new book The Perfect Menopause: 7 Steps to the Best Time of Your Life.

Menopause is a source of fear for the average woman: Her sex drive comes to a screeching halt, she puts on 10 pounds, and suddenly, her face looks decades older, but Dr. Hess offers 7 steps to wrinkle-proof your face.

1. GET A SKIN PRESCRIPTION. Talk to a dermatologist who specializes in menopausal women. She might prescribe retinoic acid, such as Renova or Avage. There are also prescription medications which contain collagen and hyaluronic acid. Such prescription medications for your skin may be very appropriate, and the effort you put into this will pay great dividends down the road.

2. DRINK UP! Most of us are in a constant state of dehydration. The older we get, the consequences of dehydration are more severe. In a woman's menopause and post menopause years, the skin is thinner and fluids are lost through the skin more quickly. Drink water and other appropriate fluids constantly, and keep in mind that some fluids such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks are actually dehydrating. If you drink them, compensate by drinking more water throughout the day. Hydration can come in lotion form, too: morning and night, apply lotions that contain antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, green tea, and coenzyme Q10. All protect your skin from free radicals. In the winter months, don't forget a humidifier: dry heat from the furnace dehydrates your skin and entire body.

3. GO THE SUPPLEMENTAL ROUTE. A variety of supplements can provide excellent antioxidants to help with the prevention and treatment of photo-damaged skin. Start taking these supplements every day to keep your skin vibrant: A multivitamin, vitamin E, Fish oils, Coenzyme Q10, B complex and Alpha lipoic acid. Begin these substances one at a time, and add one per week, every week. Remember, any vitamin has the potential to cause upset stomach. Beginning them one at a time will help isolate the problem should one occur.

4. WORK UP A SWEAT. Exercise is necessary for every aspect of your health. While increasing your muscle tone and decreasing excess body fat, exercise increases blood flow to all organs of your body. This will bathe all of your organs in increased levels of oxygen and nutrients which are essential for your skin health.

5. SLEEP IT OFF. Lack of sleep can affect how you feel overall. If you don't sleep well, you may experience more depressed moods, increased anxiety and decreased energy. Don't let it show on your face. Studies have shown that proper rest and sleep are also necessary for the maintenance of a healthy skin. When you sleep, you give your cells the chance to regenerate.

6. BE A SHADE HOG. Sun exposure can cause melanoma of the skin and photodamage, which is a significant factor in early drying, wrinkling and thinning of the skin. Most people don't realize that when they work in the garden or go to the market just a few blocks away, there is sun exposure. If you are postmenopausal, the effects of photodamage from the sun are more severe. Protect your skin with a 30 SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen which protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every 90 minutes.

7. UP YOUR ESTROGEN. Are you wondering if you should go on estrogen? Are you opposed to taking estrogen? Get all of the facts before you dismiss it. For aging skin, low-dose estrogen benefits you. Estrogen therapies are the most successful of all therapies for the management of aging skin. If you are currently on estrogen and decide to stop, ask your dermatologist about an estrogen skin cream with 0.3% estriol in aqua glycolic acid to address the changes in your skin. Apply small amounts daily to your face, neck, and back of your hands.

About Dr. Henry Hess:  With 25 years of experience as a chemist and ob-gyn, Dr. Hess has seen women completely overhaul skin through 7 strategies, from vitamin E to estrogen cream. He is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and lectures in the New York area on issues concerning women's health.

Source:  Excerpted and adapted from The Perfect Menopause: 7 Steps to the Best Time of Your Life (Amazon $13.57)

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