5 Ways how to keep your skin looking young

Friday 09 May, 2014 

  • Young blood could make old bodies live longer says new research

  • Is there really a secret to eternal youth?

  •  Share these 5 tips for healthier skin 

The secret of eternal youth is drinking the blood of youngsters then! Or so the reports in the news would have us believe this week.

Now for a chap who grew up hiding behind the sofa at the sight of Peter Cushing and Vincent Price doing battle in Transylvanian castles this is slightly disturbing stuff.

I mean are we all supposed to become pasty-faced nocturnal vampires, or will I be able to put a note out for the ‘bloodman' for two pints of O negative and a pot of AB concentrate for the morning?

In case you missed this particular gem of a story it concerns some research from Harvard University which showed that older mice got stronger, exercised longer and performed better mentally after they were injected with blood from young mice.

Which is a really interesting concept, not least the bit about improved mental ability.

What if this research was a pointer to show that some element of formed blood in the young could actually offset the impact of ageing on the mind – could this be a cure for dementia and Alzheimers? 

This was the good bit, as part of the research the team identified a protein called GDF11 (I think it needs a catchier name myself) which is abundant in the blood of the young mice and had deteriorated in the older ones. This is the stuff the next stage of research will be focussing on.

Helpfully one of the scientists involved cautioned people from ‘trying this at home’ perhaps fearing a rise in marauding old folk pursuing the youth gangs around our inner cities.

It’s a thought though!

What is the key to staying young?

Every time I see the ‘youthful’ Cliff Richard, George Clooney or for many years the ageless Elizabeth Taylor, I feel cheated.

The folks undoubtedly lead (or led in Ms Taylor's case) a much more hedonistic life than I ever will yet I look like someone whose skin was made for a man many times bigger, the hair on my head for one much smaller and my joints for a rusty tin-man.

How do these folk keep in such good trim?

I guess the hours in beauty salons and the benefits of trained photographers helps, but their skin looks vibrant and clear, their eyes bright and their nostrils free from clumps of hair!

Are they already drinking the blood of younger aides?

For the likes of you and me I think we need a few general tips on keeping ourselves in good nick, unless we are about to discover the sacred river Alph (Kubla Khan's immortal spring from Coleridge's poem... see I do culture as well!).

So, here are a few things to think about to keep your skin telling lies about your age:

1) Let’s start with one of my favourite things – lemons. Lemons (and limes as well) are good sources of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect the skin against ageing. Like vitamin A, vitamin C contained in citrus fruit is essential for the production of collagen in the skin.

Lemon pith is also rich in bioflavonoids - a biologically active compound found in the rinds of citrus fruits.

These help strengthen the tiny blood capillaries in the skin and prevent unattractive broken veins.

Vitamin C is also available to those with a sweeter tooth too, from summer fruit like strawberries, raspberries and even in things like avocados.

2) Good sources of vitamin A are those foods which are rich in betacarotene (such as carrots and tomatoes) which is converted into the essential vitamin in the body.

Betacarotene is also a good anti-ageing compound in its own right as well because it activates antioxidants which are our body's defences against free radicals – highly reactive molecules that may lead to premature ageing and disease by damaging skin cells.

3) Start using Argan Oil to cook with and to apply to the skin as a moisturiser. I have long been a convert to using this extremely effective natural source of vitamin E, in fact double that of even extra virgin olive oil.

The other thing I really like about this oil is the fact that at a time when there are concerns about the quality and authenticity of olive oil on the supermarket shelves, Argan Oil is guaranteed to be pure and is produced by women’s collectives in Morocco and distributed by ethical organisations rather than commercial companies. If you want to see a short video about this click here

4) Maybe Coleridge’s poem about Kubla Khan's fountain of eternal youth wasn’t so far off the truth as you might think, as one of the best ways to keep your skin in healthy condition is to drink plenty of water.

I’m not suggesting we all follow the trend of carrying bottled water around with us wherever we go, but whilst we are at home it's a good idea to have a glass of ‘Adam’s Ale’ on hand to sip as we busy ourselves.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all perspire during the day and this is water being lost from our bodies and especially our vital organs. As we begin to dehydrate blood (and therefore water within it) is pumped from our skin to the rest of the body meaning that our outer layers are deprived of valuable nutrients and suffers.

5) Lastly, we all need to get out and do a bit more gardening, swimming or just a walk to the shops.

Despite the fact that this might make us sweat a bit more, it will also pump the blood around the body at a faster rate and actually moves more of it to the skin surface where it nourishes the cells and keeps us looking younger... just remember to have a glug of water when you get back indoors though to replenish yourself.

A few things to get you thinking about the biggest organ in the body – our skin is more than just the covering of the body; it really is a vital part of our immune, excretory and nutrition system and we have to look after it.

That’s why you should all look out for Sunday's letter which has even more tips about keeping your skin healthy...

...and you looking younger without having to resort to biting the necks of virgins!

Yours, as always



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