Why is it that some of us tend to look better with age, while others don’t? There are two basic reasons. One has to do with your genetics, which is a complex issue but the best way to understand it is to simply look at how your parents and grandparents have shown their signs of aging. The other has to do with how well you have developed some healthy life practices in order to take care of your skin. If done diligently, the aging process can be slowed down and allow you to age gracefully.
HOW DOES SKIN AGE?
When it comes to the aging process, there are three terms us non-dermatologists should know: collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Your body has these in spades when you're young. In fact, skin is about 75% collagen during that time.
Over time the human body loses its ability to create the above efficiently and in adequate amounts. Moisture loss makes skin look dry making fine lines and wrinkles more obvious, loss of elastin contributes to sagging, as does collagen loss. While you can't ultimately stop this process naturally, you can help to slow it down. A good defense and developing some healthy life practices early in life is the best way to maintain youthful looking skin longer. Here are some anti-aging tips to get you started.
BREAK BAD HABITS
Do you hop into bed still wearing makeup? Try out every new skin product that hits the shelves? Smoke or don’t wear sunscreen? These common mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but over time they can take a toll on your skin and leave you looking prematurely aged.
Always remove makeup with a good cleanser before going to bed. During the day, environmental toxins build up on skin underneath your makeup and invade pores, causing complexion problems. Removing makeup allows your skin to breath and saves it in the long run.
Avoid bouncing from product to product. Your skin cycle takes 30 days for new cells to reach the top layer of skin. To see a real difference in texture, tone and clarity, you need to use a product for more than a month, especially if it contains anti-aging ingredients. Skin generally takes about four months to regenerate collagen and elastin so give new products at least six weeks to work. It’s also recommended to start with one new product at a time and integrate a new one every two weeks. This way, if you do have a reaction to a product, you can easily identify which one it is.
Reduce early signs of aging by exfoliating your face once per week to remove dead skin. This will help new glowing skin show on the surface, smooth out lines and make you look younger. Be careful not to over exfoliate your skin as it can cause excessive dryness, irritation, redness, and sensitivity.
Most early signs of aging are due to overexposure to the sun. The sun can zap and reduce elastin so not wearing sunscreen daily even when indoors, can be harming your skin. Wrinkles and brown spots are a result of too much exposure to the sun. This does not mean that you should avoid the sun completely. Start moisturizing your skin with products that contain SPF protection and antioxidant-fortified formulas containing ingredients such as resveratrol, vitamin C, idebenone or coffee berry can offer additional protection.
HANDS AND NECK
Overexposure to sun affects your hands and neck just as much as your complexion. Treat your neck and the backs of your hands as you would your face by generously applying moisturizer and sunscreen.
During the day our skin cells are battling against an onslaught of stressors like UV rays and pollution. The body is not like a machine that can work continuously without getting tired so getting enough sleep is vital. While we sleep stress hormones drop to normal levels at night giving cells time to repair and rejuvenate.
Stress causes your body to release hormones (like cortisol) among other nasty things that can prematurely age your skin. Cortisol triggers inflammation, which breaks down collagen (the protein that keeps skin firm, plump and smooth) resulting in thin skin, fine lines and dryness. Try taking up yoga, stepping away from the source of your stress or force yourself to smile. Yes, it’s true the very act of smiling, even if it’s fake can improve mood and induce relaxation.
The best way to help you look younger is to exercise. When you sweat, your pores open and release all of the toxins that could potentially clog them leading to breakouts and skin aging. After exercise always shower immediately at low temps because this will cleanse the skin of the grime that is released during exercise. If water is too hot it can dry out skin and washes away a lot of the healthy oils that keep skin soft and nourished.
Eating is an essential part of development. If you eat healthy food, drink a lot of water and have a balanced diet with plenty of antioxidants and fewer intakes of calories, it will help slow down visual signs of aging. If you are not sure what your body needs speak to a nutritionist to point you in the right directions.
Smoking is one of the easiest ways to look older than you really are and shorten your life at the same time. Avoid both primary and secondary smoke for younger looking skin.