We would all like to put off signs of aging as long as possible. And there are actions we can take toward looking and feeling our best as we age.

Recent studies show that even though our bodies decline in certain ways as we get older, disease and deterioration can be minimized. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a positive effect on our aging processes and over-all well being.

A healthy lifestyle includes a balanced diet of fresh, organic foods with plenty of filtered water. Limiting caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, and avoiding smoking will also keep the body healthy and skin looking younger. Of course, adequate exercise, sleep and stress management are all key to a healthy mind and body.

Sun exposure is another component in aging skin. While we know that some sun exposure each day is healthy, it is important to protect yourself from over-exposure which can lead to premature aging of the skin and certain diseases.

Toxins are the biggest contributors in the aging of our bodies. The liver works to filter out toxins from foods, skincare, pollution, sun and stress. But when the toxic load becomes too much for the liver to keep up with, free radicals are produced. These rogue molecules then attack healthy cells, causing loss of collagen, premature aging and disease.

Antioxidants are super-heroes when it comes to fighting free radicals, preventing and reversing damage, and can be found in certain natural ingredients. Essential fatty acid (EFAs) also help to keep skin healthy and looking its best. Found in many plant and seed oils, EFAs reduce inflammation, improve cell function, and protect DNA from damage. EFAs help restore the barrier function of the epidermis, and preserve collagen and elastin. Skin tends to become drier as we age, so moisturization is also important in keeping skin plumped and reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Following are some of the top natural anti-aging ingredients to look for in skincare:

Rose hip oil contains retinol (Vitamin A) and is high in Vitamin C and Omega-3, making it highly effective in diminishing signs of aging, reducing sun damage and softening the skin.

Sea buckthorn oil is very high in vitamin C and also contains vitamins A and E, as well as amino acids and antioxidants.

Green tea, Carrot seed oil and Evening Primrose oil are all rich in antioxidants.

Avocado, Flax, Pumpkin, Cranberry and Grape seed oils are rich in essential fatty acids.

Shea butter is a very emollient moisturizer with natural anti-inflammatory and sun-protective properties. Almond and Jojoba oils are also very hydrating and mimic the skin’s natural oils.

Skin care containing ingredients with antioxidant benefits and essential fatty acids will supply a fresh, youthful complexion. But rather than thinking of anti-aging skin care as a youth serum that will eradicate any trace of aging, strive for healthy skin and body, no matter what your age. A healthy lifestyle, natural anti-aging skin care, and doing your best to minimize toxins entering your body, is your best defense against premature aging.

Stay tuned next week and we'll cover some of the more exotic yet natural anti-aging ingredients with specific benefits for wrinkle reduction or skin lightening!