Ageing is a natural process that every single one of us will inevitably experience.

The root cause of ageing is oxidative stress- where reactive oxygen species known as free radicals accumulate in the body and damage DNA, proteins and lipids in our cells. Over time, these damaged cells die, impacting the function of our tissues and causing the body to age.

Our exposure to free radicals comes from the environment (UV exposure, toxins) as well as those made by our own body. A higher toxic load and lack of antioxidants in the diet increase levels of oxidative stress and speed up the ageing process. There are certain modifiable factors related to our diet and lifestyle that can impact the rate at which our skin ages. This journal entry details 5 natural ways to slow down skin ageing.

1. Increase antioxidants in your diet

Antioxidants are able to neutralise free radicals that cause our skin to age. Eating an abundance of colourful vegetables and fruit provides a range of antioxidant phytonutrients including anthocyanins from blueberries and carotenoids in carrots.  Including foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruit, cruciferous vegetables, capsicum and strawberries not only provides potent antioxidant benefits but vitamin C is also a building block for collagen synthesis by the skin.

2. Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure

Exposure to UV radiation through sunlight induces oxidative stress that causes collagen and elastin in the skin to break down. This reduces skin firmness and elasticity, speeding up the ageing process. Wearing a sunhat and using a natural mineral-based sunscreen like the P40 sunscreen on your face when you’re spending time outdoors protects your skin from the sun’s damaging radiation.

3. Expose yourself to the cold 

Exposing your body to cold extremes through cryotherapy, ice baths (contrast therapy), cold showers and ocean swims can inhibit the enzymes and hormones that break down collagen and may even stimulate an increase in collagen production. The other anti-ageing benefits of cold exposure include better circulation (bringing nutrient and oxygen rich blood to the skin’s surface), a boost in antioxidant production by the body and lower inflammation. Have you booked in your contrast therapy?

4. Include fatty fish in your diet

Low mercury fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines are loaded with essential fatty acids and nutrients that protect against ageing. The omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in oily fish are incorporated into the cell membranes in the epidermal (top) layer of the skin, preventing moisture loss from the skin for plumper, more hydrated looking skin. These oils help to regulate the skin’s own oil production and lower inflammation to reduce visible signs of skin ageing. There is also evidence that increasing your intake of EPA and DHA provides some protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of sun damage. Salmon is also high in astaxanthin, an antioxidant that improves skin elasticity and moisture levels and reduces fine wrinkles.

5. Lather up in a natural skincare

Applying a layer of natural oils (such as jojoba oil) or moisturisers to your skin provides ceramides that help to create a protective barrier, sealing moisture into your skin. This prevents dryness that’s associated with wrinkles and may protect against the skin damaging effects or environmental toxins and UV radiation.

You can also apply certain nutrients topically to your skin underneath your moisturiser,  including vitamin C, which boosts the skin’s production of collagen and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Rosehip oil is naturally high in vitamin C and so is kakadu plum, featured in the Terra Tonics clean collagen serum. This product also contains Bakuchiol, a natural plant-based alternative to vitamin A (retinol) that increases skin collagen production and reduces hyperpigmentation without the side effects of synthetic retinol.


Written by Shaz Andrew, Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist