Aging undoubtedly affects all of us, but how quickly we age varies for everyone. Genetics and lifestyle choices are part of that. And while aging affects the entire body, we often only notice the visible changes that appear on our skin. Unfortunately, we cannot stop the aging process, but we can influence it by understanding the science behind it.

  • Decrease in collagen & elastin production
    • Every year after about age 30, we lose 1%–3% of our skin’s collagen & elastin, which are the protein fibers that provide the supportive structure in our skin. These fibers are responsible for keeping skin firm and strong, giving us the elastic bounce that is characteristic of youthful skin.
  • Decrease in lipid production
    • As we age, our bodies produce fewer lipids (also known as essential fatty acids), which are necessary for maintaining youthful skin. Lipids create a protective barrier within the skin to keep moisture in and the elements out. As a result of decreased lipid production, skin becomes more susceptible to sun damage and dryness.
  • Declining levels of hyaluronic acid
    • Hyaluronic Acid gives youthful skin its plumpness and provides protective insulation and tissue repair. It also exists within cartilage, allowing for smoother joint movement, thereby reducing damage to surrounding tissues. As with many other important compounds in the body, its production levels decrease with age.
  • Cell turnover rate slows down
    • Normally skin cells regenerate every 28 days, but this turnover rate slows down to about 30–35 days. Old cells remain on the body longer, resulting in a buildup of dead skin cells. When skin develops too much buildup, it becomes rougher, duller, and more prone to irritation or hyperpigmentation.
  • UV damage from sun exposure & tanning beds
    • Excess sun exposure can lead to sunburns and accelerate aging. UVB rays cause sunburns, but UVA rays penetrate deeper and damage skin cells and proteins that maintain healthy structure. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, tanning beds emit higher doses of UVA than what reaches us from the sun!
  • Environmental toxins & Lifestyle choices
    • Everything we breathe, consume, and absorb affects our overall health—including skin health. Air pollution, artificial food products, and chemical-heavy skincare products contribute to oxidative stress within the body. The more toxins we take in, the harder our body has to work to detoxify. And if the body is regularly working overtime to rid itself of unwanted chemicals, it can result in tissue damage inside and out.

Top recommendations for graceful aging:

  • Resurrection by Visual Changes Skin Care ($98)
    • This potent anti-aging serum contains peptides and other active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, algae extracts, and ceramides to dramatically reduce wrinkles and increase skin firmness and hydration.
  • EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum Facial Sunscreen ($34)
    • Not all sunscreens are created equal, so it’s important to choose one that is formulated with skin-loving ingredients. EltaMD’s UV Elements is a moisturizing sunscreen with hyaluronic acid. It protects against UVA and UVB rays using transparent zinc oxide (a mineral that doesn’t look white or chalky on skin). This sunscreen is also tinted and applies like a BB Cream, making it a perfect makeup-free option for humid days in Memphis!
  • Monthly Medical Facial Treatment (starts at $100)
    • Considering that our bodies naturally decrease cell turnover and peptide production, a monthly facial can make all the difference in keeping skin properly exfoliated, hydrated, and protected.
  • A Plant-Based Diet
    • Eating a diet rich in quality vegetables, fruits, and grains can provide essential antioxidants that help protect the body against environmental damage. Whether a vegan or meat-lover, including minimally processed plant foods will add nutritional value and benefit long-term health.
  • Maintain a Regular Exercise Routine
    • Physical activity is one way the body rebuilds and repairs itself. Safe exercise brings oxygen to the blood, encourages detoxification, and regulates metabolism—all of which play a role in how quickly the body ages. There are countless ways to move, so don’t feel obligated to just visit the gym or go for a run. Try different options and methods of movement!

Valerie Monismith, RN is the Founder and Co-Owner of Ashtoria Aesthetics & Wellness in Collierville. She is trained in the US and abroad in both laser and injectable therapies. Valerie is also a Certified Food For Life Instructor through the award-winning Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) program. For more information, call 901.310.3530 or visit