What Does Anti-Aging Really Mean?
Among the myriad of skin issues there is the age-old question: How can I keep my skin looking young and vibrant as I age? There’s a big push for anti-aging in the beauty industry these days; doesn’t it seem like just about every product on the shelf claims to be anti-aging in some way? Even with all of these so-called ‘miracle’ products, unwanted signs of aging still seem to show up on just about everyone’s skin, and there is no one product that’s been found to be the cure-all for wrinkles and fine lines. So why is it so hard to turn back the clock? We can send a man to the moon but we can’t stop our skin from aging?
The truth is, growing older is inevitable, and your best bet to keeping your youthful glow is to prevent the signs of aging before they start. So, which anti-aging products can do this, and what does anti-aging actually mean? With a little knowledge and a few extra tips, you can become an expert in the health of your own skin. This knowledge will allow you to decide which of the countless options will be the most effective in enhancing your skin’s natural beauty and allowing it to age gracefully and appear fresh and youthful.
Premature Aging – What Causes it?
Aging is a natural part of life. We all do it, and there’s no stopping it! So unless you’ve got secret access to the Fountain of Youth (or a lot of extra cash for plastic surgery), you can count on your skin changing with each passing year. And while you can’t control the passage of time, there are certain elements you can control when it comes to how quickly your skin ages. Here are a few of the most common causes of premature aging of the skin:
When it comes to the noticeable aging of our skin, the sun is the biggest culprit. Sun exposure accounts for up to 90% of the visible evidence of aging, like wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines, uneven texture, sagginess, and pigmentation (sunscreen anyone?). Even getting some sun through a car window can accelerate the aging process. Not only that, but the damage from UV and UVA rays affects all layers of our skin and over time can result in melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
It’s a fact: we are busy! Every day we deal with numerous stressors, from work and family obligations to emotional and physical strain. It turns out that prolonged stress can cause our bodies to over-excrete hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can speed up the aging process significantly. Try out these DIY stress-relieving recipes for your skin.
Drinking & Smoking
It’s ironic that something we do to possibly relieve ourselves of the stress of everyday life can actually do more harm than good, not only internally but also on the surface. Alcohol damages your skin by changing your skin’s texture and coloring, making it appear more dull and tired. The repetitive facial expression made while smoking alone can invite deep lines to form around the mouth (up to 15 years sooner than non-smokers!), and decreased blood flow causes the skin to lose elasticity and moisture, becoming more prone to aging.
A diet that is high in fat, sugar, and processed foods can rob you of your youthful glow. When your meals don’t regularly include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and plenty of water, your skin is missing out on essential vitamins and minerals it needs to stay vibrant and healthy, and instead begins to age prematurely.
Reducing the appearance of aging in skin is just one of antioxidants’ many superpowers. We all know that antioxidants are good for us, but why, and what are they exactly? Simply put, antioxidants are natural or man-made compounds that neutralize the free radicals (aka damaging compounds from the sun, pollution, dirt and bacteria) that wreak havoc on our skin. Thanks to antioxidants, the cellular damage that results in premature signs of aging can be delayed and even neutralized altogether, and that means a smoother, more youthful complexion.
To get the most antioxidants possible, reach for antioxidant-rich foods like salmon, red pepper, and blueberries, and keep an eye out for ingredients like lycopene, green tea, and Vitamins A, C, and E in your skin care products.
A moisture retaining and collagen building substance, hyaluronic acid is essential to maintaining wrinkle-free skin. Although our bodies naturally produce hyaluronic acid—and over half of it is found in our skin—we are less able to produce it as we age, resulting in dry, saggy skin and more noticeable lines and wrinkles. Synthetically adding hyaluronic acid to anti-aging skin care gives your skin the extra boost of moisture it needs. And while it may not necessarily turn back the clock, that extra moisture content can plump out and almost immediately reduce the appearance of existing wrinkles as well as prevent new ones from forming.
When choosing a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, check to see that it’s listed near the top of the ingredients list, to ensure that you’ll get the most out of its skin-firming benefits.
A byproduct of Vitamin-A, retinol is great for preventing and treating all types of aging, from wrinkles to dark circles and bags under the eyes. They work by effectively unclogging pores, boosting collagen production, and increasing cell turnover to even out and balance skin tone. Retinol is available by prescription for a stronger concentration (consult your dermatologist to find out if retinol can be beneficial to your skin) but can also be purchased over-the-counter and found in creams and moisturizers for everyday use.
Look for products with 0.1 percent retinol in them to get the most bang for your buck.
It’s not just for cooking anymore; coconut oil is becoming quite the star in the skin care world. It can be found in many anti-aging products these days, and for good reason! Coconut oil is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, and can not only be an effective method to lighten up your under-eye area, but it contains antioxidants and nutrients like Vitamin E and lauric acid that have been shown to prevent and even reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Use organic, unrefined coconut oil by itself as a natural, calming moisturizer, or look for it in your favorite products to maintain a naturally healthy glow.
You can get this powerful nutrient from eating foods like almonds, spinach, avocados, and broccoli, and it is often added synthetically to anti-aging beauty products. Well-known for its anti-aging abilities, Vitamin E is fat soluble and contains a significant amount of antioxidants. It protects, heals, smooths and moisturizes, bringing out the best in your skin.
Try our anti-aging serum, which pairs Vitamin E with Vitamin C to nourish and revitalize your skin for a brighter, healthier complexion.
Tips for Youthful Skin
Now that you know which ingredients to look for when shopping around for anti-aging skin care, you can take even more control over the health of your skin by applying a few simple tips to keep lines and wrinkles at bay. Watch these tips from Dominique Sachse:
When your skin is dry, not only does it feel uncomfortable, but even the smallest imperfections are exaggerated, and it may look even older than it actually is. Dry, cracked skin can result from too much sun exposure, over-cleansing or using a cleanser with harsh ingredients, or can be a side effect of certain medications. Then again, you may just have naturally drier skin. Whatever the case may be, finding and regularly using a nourishing moisturizer can give you instant anti-aging benefits, and simply smoothing out a rough, dry complexion can make you look younger instantly!
A moisturizer with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and coconut oil like this one will draw moisture deep within the skin, hydrating from the inside out and creating a long-lasting, smooth surface. Applying foundation and other makeup on dry skin can exaggerate wrinkles, so plumping them out first thing with a good moisturizer should be a regular step in your beauty routine.
Now that we understand what a big role the sun plays in aging our skin, using sunscreen to protect it should be a top priority! Even when we don’t expect it to—like in the winter or later in the day—the sun’s powerful rays can easily break through our skin barrier and cause irreparable damage. If you plan on being outside at all, start your day by applying a good quality sunscreen to any exposed skin, especially your face.
If it’s easier, use a moisturizer that contains an SPF of at least 15 as part of your regimen. And since the area right around the eyes is the most prone to fine lines and wrinkles, it’s a good idea to throw on a pair of sunglasses whenever you go outside for a little added protection.
It’s a step we often skip, but exfoliation is key to maintaining good skin health. Our skin is the body’s largest organ, and it’s constantly cycling through and replenishing its cellular layers to remain healthy and strong. In fact, over the course of a day, we lose about a million dead skin cells to make way for new ones! And although we lose many of them naturally, a barrier of dead cells often remains, clogging our pores, causing blemishes and leaving our complexion looking dull and uneven.
Gentle exfoliation once or twice a week can help to slough of those unwanted cells and open up pores, allowing for your anti-aging and other skin care products to penetrate more deeply into your skin’s surface and work more effectively.
These days, everyone is looking to use more natural products, and for good reason. Many products contain harsh, drying chemicals that may solve one skin issue but at the same time strip the skin of essential moisture and leave it looking and feeling damaged. Luckily, with today’s technological advances, we know that there are natural alternatives to these ingredients that can be just as effective without any harsh side effects. With your knowledge of what natural ingredients to look for, you can shop for anti-aging products with confidence, knowing that you’re getting the best care for your skin.
Kick your Bad Habits to the Curb
No one lives a perfectly healthy lifestyle, but if you ask someone with great skin what their secret is, chances are it includes making healthful choices. If you’ve got a major sweet tooth or are quick to reach for a soda instead of water, your skin may benefit from a healthier diet. Try filling your plates with lean protein and plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Are smoking and drinking part of your routine? Try cutting back—not only will you feel great, your skin will thank you by looking and feeling healthier and younger.
Younger Skin, Younger You
There’s nothing wrong with growing older; it’s a natural, beautiful part of life. But adding extra candles to your birthday cake doesn’t mean your skin has to have extra wrinkles. With a little extra effort and knowledge, finding the right anti-aging products for your skin means that you can look as young and beautiful as you feel.
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