Exploring Ancient Methods of Anti-Aging
The search for everlasting youth and longevity didn't just start. As a matter of fact, the ancient Egyptians, the Chinese and other cultures around the world have long searched for secrets and tips to enhance longevity and create a younger looking appearance. This article will briefly explore some of the methods ancient cultures used to maintain their youth.
Ancient Egyptian Beauty Secrets
Sure, the ancient Egyptians built pyramids and elegant multi-chambered tombs, but they are also known as the first society who developed the study of cosmetology. Ancient Egyptians who could afford it did not use soap when they bathed, but a form of baking soda, known to create soft, clean and well-hydrated skin. Mixing water and natron, a by-product of sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate resulted in a cream that can very well be considered the very first night cream product.

Ancient Egyptians were also very careful to use oils for skin care, a very important practice given the hot, dry climate of their environment. Such oils were liberally spread over the skin and in the hair on an almost daily basis.

Egyptians appear to have worn their hair long and thick, but many people don't know that Egyptian women often shaved their entire bodies to prevent lice infestations. Ancient Egyptians also used henna to mask graying hair. As a matter of fact, it is known today that the Egyptians dabbled with a wide number of ways to stimulate hair growth in men. In fact, many men applied fats from various animals to their scalps, including the fat of crocodiles, goats, and lions in an effort to ward off baldness. Rosemary oil, castor oil, and almond oil were also used to increase hair growth.

Ancient Greek Beauty Secrets
The Egyptians weren't the only ones looking for that elusive fountain of youth. The ancient Greeks looked for the same thing. Grecian women utilized substances and oils that improved healthy skin appearance. One of the most popular ingredients in their skin care products was honey, used to moisturize their skin. Olive oil was used not only to protect the skin, but also to give it a stimulating shine.

Greek women used such oils and products to also create skin care creams and perfumes. With these natural ingredients, they created products that not only smelled good, but also were good for their skin.

Many Greek women, especially those belonging to higher classes, were careful to stay out of the sun, as it was known to age and wrinkle the skin. In addition to using olive oil and honey, Grecian women, and men, often took mineral baths.
Ancient India
Ancient India was no different when it came to searching for that fountain of youth and antiaging techniques and perpetual youthfulness. Actually, ancient Indians closely guarded their methods and only passed them down generation to generation 'orally' for centuries.

Of all the beauty aids used by ancient Indians, sandalwood is the most important. Sandalwood has been used for thousands of years as a base to create medicines and creams. Two basic kinds of sandalwood used in Indian skin care treatments are white sandal, used for makeup and skin care needs, while red sandal was also popular and is used for both medicine and skin care needs. Sandalwood was used to both clean and condition the skin. Today, sandalwood has been proven to moisturize and protect the skin, not only from the harmful rays of sunshine, but as a protection against germs.

Ancient Indians developed a recipe for a skin paste to treat acne by using small portions of sandalwood powder mixed with a portion of turmeric. This paste was applied to the skin before bed and left on all night. For a cooling effect in warmer or humid weather, camphor was added to the paste. This paste reduced pimples without scarring in a short period of time.

Indians were very creative with their skin care products. They may be the first to have created the use of the skin mask to treat acne. Sandalwood powder and rosewater creams were spread on their faces and left it on for about 30 minutes. This paste was also used on their torsos, providing relief from heat rashes.

Ancient Indian beliefs and philosophy taught that living a harmonious lifestyle that blended body massages and yoga routines to enhance health, strength and youthfulness. Other creations using a combination of plants and herbs produced beauty products and healing potions. These ingredients were designed to balance the skin and scalp at the cellular level and prevent dehydration and aging affects of old and dying skin cells.

Today, everyone knows that stress accelerates the aging process. Of all ancient cultures, the Indian culture seems to have realized the connection between inner body health and outward appearance and as a result, created more products and treatments for a variety of health condition issues.

The ancient Indians were fans of mud treatments, something women today spend hundreds of dollars a year to experience. Such skin rejuvenation treatments, combined with massage still helps to invigorate skin cells for a healthy and refreshed and youthful looking appearance.

This ancient culture also created herbal bathing solutions using floral, herbal, and milk products to lubricate the skin without clogging pores. Steam treatments combining the effects of sesame oil and herbs eliminated harmful toxins from the skin. These days, the mixtures that ancient Indians have been giving themselves for thousands of years are called an aromatherapy steam.

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Men and women have been searching since the beginning of time for the secrets of anti aging and longevity. While many of these ancient methods remain shrouded in mystery, a multitude of these antiaging techniques are still used today. The containers may be different, and the packaging doesn't look anything like it did 2000 years ago, but antiaging skin care products continue to be one of the most popular items used by men and women to enhance the appearance of youthfulness well in to the 21st century. Many of those ingredients contained vital antioxidants that have been proven to regenerate cell growth and defy the aging process.

Even though aging is a fact of life, there are many things that we can do in order to avoid illnesses and diseases and even slow down the rate at which we age. By making a few simple changes in our lifestyles and habits, we can make improvements toward happiness, longevity and our quality of life. In this section, we will go over a variety of ways that today's consumers use antioxidants to slow the aging process, reduce the degenerative aging process, not to mention lead a healthier lifestyle both inside and out. We will also discuss how free radicals harm the body, and what effect they have on the aging process.
Free Radicals
One of the main culprits that speed up the degenerative processes like aging comes in the form of free radicals . These are chemically active compounds that work to break down cells. They are the very same chemical compounds that lead to cancer, aging or other diseases that come later in life. Free radicals are found throughout our environment, and with the onset of pollution in our environment, they are more prevalent in today's larger cities.

These radicals go through a chemical process called oxidation , in which they damage or alter our DNA, creating physical changes that deteriorate our mind and body. Oxidation is one of the main processes responsible for the most significant symptoms of aging and degeneration.

How does the oxidation process occur? Throughout life, the body is constantly regenerating cells. Our bodies even produce free radicals of its own. However, when the body produces too many of these free radicals, cancers or life-threatening diseases are formed as a result of cellular DNA mutations.

The good news is that a healthy body also produces antioxidants, which work in neutralizing the free radicals that can harm our health and physical wellbeing.

Antioxidants work throughout the body to protect DNA, organs and tissues from damage. As our body ages, the production of these valuable antioxidants decrease, setting the stage for many of those diseases found in older people.

Free radicals are also found in daily exposure to the environment. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun, industrial pollution and crowded environmental living conditions all play a role in subjecting our bodies to damaging aging processes. These same conditions have deteriorated the Earth's ozone layer, which is responsible for protecting us from harmful UV rays and sun exposure that increases cancer risk.

Protection from the sun is not enough to prevent free radicals from damaging the body, since day-to-day living with pollution forces us to breathe in many harmful radicals that damage our cells at the molecular level. Even though cigarette smoke is dangerous and many individuals succumb to both first-hand and secondhand smoking, breathing in the pollution caused by transportation or industrial plants creates as much damage to the health of people around the world.

Because pollution is at a much higher level today, the need for antioxidants is much greater than it ever has been. Combined with the poor diets and nutritional levels of the majority of the population, more damage will be done within our bodies if preventative measures are not taken to cleanse ourselves of them. Free radicals found in the environment are taken into the body through breathing or absorption in the skin, and will continue to damage healthy skin and tissue.
Reducing Free Radicals
One of the simplest ways to reduce the excess of free radicals from the body is to avoid or minimize the exposure to locations or products that contain them. Pollutants, carcinogens , and toxins are all known to increase the risk of certain cancers in the human body. By avoiding constant exposure, a person is able to prevent additional free radicals from attacking valuable cells.

Different foods are rich in antioxidants, and work hard to reduce or neutralize the impact external free radicals has on the body. Aside from the usefulness in protection that antioxidants provide for the body, the need for them as well as essential fatty acids increases, as the body grows older.

Fruits, along with their skin and seeds, contain valuable antioxidants that reduce the amount of free radicals in the body, as well as help to slow down the aging process. Leafy green vegetables also provide antioxidants that not only help slow down the process of aging, but also reduce many risks of age related diseases caused by a lifetime of exposure to free radicals.
Antioxidants and Useful Supplements
Leading a healthy lifestyle complete with exercise and proper nutrition not only reduces the risk of free radicals from damaging the body in a natural manner, but also takes away the need of taking antioxidant supplements. On the other hand, supplements should be taken if the body is not receiving enough antioxidants from the diet.

Supplements may be a good idea to increase the protection from free radicals and oxidation, but taking too many of them can be just as harmful for the body. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to protect the organs from "supplement overload", and as a whole, will provide optimal benefits through the combining action and absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

Supplements have been known to interact negatively with many over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as cause negative interactions with particular foods, so always know what you're taking and how it behaves with other foods in your diet plan. Ask your doctor or a dietician to help explain these issues.

Some antioxidant supplements include grape seed extract, garlic pills, and fish oils, which are mostly found around other vitamins and minerals. Green tea extract is one of the best antioxidants because it contains polyphenols and flavonols . With its concentrated 10-40 mg of polyphenols, one supplement provides the body with the same amount of antioxidants that many servings of fruits and vegetables would.

Lipoic acid is also a powerful antioxidant responsible for counteracting radicals found in the mitochondria , where all energy for cells is generated. The free radicals formed there play a major role in the aging processes of the body, so the use of lipoic acid is a good defense for such damage. Other antioxidants come in the form of vitamins or minerals like:

Vitamin A

Vitamin B-12

Beta Carotene

Folic Acid

Vitamin E
Antioxidants in Cosmetic Products
Men and women are always looking for ways to increase their appearance and longevity, whether it is through antioxidant-rich foods or cosmetic products that have found their way onto consumer's shelves. While the body uses enzymes, vitamins and minerals to get rid of free radicals, the skin is also susceptible to radicals that cause aging. Antiaging antioxidant products are now very popular in improving skin tone and reducing wrinkles, just as it would be used to improve internal cells and reduction of free radicals.

Consumers must be wary of empty promises and outlandish claims made by those in the cosmetic industry. Often times, products are not tested or regulated by any authorities and even the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration, does not put any regulations on skin care products. While there are many that do not work, there are some skin care products out there that help reduce the appearance of age and all that comes with it, by way of antioxidants.

Three products, when used together, can make up a healthy antiaging skin care regimen: Skin supplements, day cream and wrinkle or line reducers. (A skin supplement works well for those who do not get all of the proper nutrition they need to maintain healthy looking skin. They also work to improve the immune system, protect the skin from free radical causing environmental pollutants and keep skin looking fresh and young). Antioxidant antiaging creams are one of the best creams that reduce effects of aging, and works to keep skin cells fresh and wrinkle-free.

Aging is a part of life, but it does not have to take over the body in such negative ways. While living in today's hectic societies, we are exposed to numerous health hazards such as pollution, industrial emissions, harmful sun exposure and stress. Still, the use of antioxidants is a natural way to offset some of that damage.

Free radicals can be harmful to our bodies both internally and externally, but antioxidants are there to protect us when we need it the most. Be sure to live an active lifestyle to reduce the chance of contracting age-related illnesses and diseases, and eat healthy and balanced meals with adequate vitamins and minerals that also contain antioxidants that could potentially save your life. Use basic nutrition knowledge to your advantage and your body will thank you for it.