Caring for the skin you're in: herbs, plants and vitamins can help our skin age gracefully.

AuthorCraig, Ilana

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Gracefully aged skin is like a badge of honor for a well-lived, healthy life, Although there, are thousands of products that claim to provide youth in a bottle, there is no miracle cream Yet men and women spend over twenty billion dollars per year on anti-aging products. While these products can help us achieve a more balanced skin tone. hydrated face and glowing appearance, they're only one piece of the puzzle. As we age. our faces; become a memoir of our habits: they reveal the discipline in which we live and the attention we pay to our selves.

Skin, is the body's largest organ and the only organ that shows our aging process re the world. Our face, one the more delicate areas of skin, is the storyteller. Premature fine lines, dry skin, discoloration, uneven tone and dehydration are the telltale signs of unbalanced skin. But finding balance is simpler than the billion-dollar anti-aging industry would have you believe.

You've heard of free radicals, right? Every time I hear the phrase "free radicals" I think of my mother back in 1969 marching on Washington with a "No War" poster in hand. But free radicals are far from peaceful protesters; they're extremely unstable atoms with an unpaired electron. The fact that they have an unpaired electron forces them to hunt out and steal electrons from other atoms, which perpetuates a damaging cycle. They make our skin susceptible to environmental stressors such as pollution, smoke, ultraviolet rays and pesticides--all of which age our largest organ.

And then I think of my mother again in 2009: her 58-year-old face with naturally colored cheeks and even skin tone. I see her eyes, which are healthy and wrinkle free. Somehow, she is fighting the free radicals.

I recently asked her about her skin care regimen, expecting her routine to have drastically changed from the natural soap, olive oil and sunscreen she used when I was a child. But she had no magic cream to report. So, what is it that makes her skin so flawless at 58?

Antioxidants. She get hers though a natural, mostly vegetarian diet. Her dessert is always a fruit salad, rich with citrus fruits and ripe berries. Green tea is her beverage of choice (her tea cabinet could supply most tea houses for several weeks!), and she supplements her diet with coenzyme Q10 capsules for her cardiovascular system. (Coenzyme Q10 is the hot new trend in skin care formulations ... surprise!)

These small, yet powerful lifestyle choices feed her...

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