While we can’t stop the clock and prevent the skin ageing process, there are certainly ways to slow down the signs of ageing. As I’m approaching my mid-forties and more fine lines, wrinkles and age spots are appearing, I’m increasingly interested in exploring ways to kick Father Time into touch.
The good news is it’s totally possible. Wecan control the length of time our skin stays looking naturally healthy by taking a long hard stare at our lifestyle and day-to-day choices. We have a great deal of power over the external factors that can seem somewhat out of our hands at times.
Skin ageing is influenced by several factors, not just our chronological age. That’s why the appearance of skin age can often differ considerably from your actual age.
Skin ageing falls into two main categories:
Intrinsic ageing:the chronological natural process that takes place in our bodies regardless of outside factors, and influenced by the degenerative effects of free radicals, hormonal shifts, oxidative stress, inflammation and genetic mutations.
Extrinsic ageing: the result of lifestyle and external environmental factors like overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, smoking, pollution, excessive alcohol, lack of sleep and chronic stress.
Chronic inflammation and the production of free radicals play a key role in both intrinsic and extrinsic ageing processes. This most often occurs as a result of oxidative stress, where the body does not possess enough antioxidants to fix the damage caused by free radicals.Oxidative stress has been identified as a key player in the ageing process and can cause damage to our cells, lipids, proteins and DNA and can cause inflammation.
For us to slow down the signs of ageing we need to arm ourselves with daily best practices and invest in preventing, repairing and protecting our skin long term.
Here are three simple steps you can follow every day to hold back time.
1.Your Number One Weapon: Apply Daily Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 90 percent of visible changes to the skin is caused by cumulative sun damage. It causes most of the tell-tale signs of ageing by permanently damaging the upper layers of skin through breakdown of collagen, elastin, pigmented spots and cellular damage to DNA. And that’s before we even consider the more devastating potential risks of sun damage like melanoma. You can do everything else right, but fail to slap on that sunscreen and you’re fighting a losing battle against a permanently damaged complexion.Every day, whatever the weather, make sure you apply broad spectrum sunscreen. It’s never too early – or indeed too late – to start this simple daily practice.
2.Kick Sugar To Look Sweeter
We are what we eat, especially when it comes to our skin. Cutting down on sugar, including alcohol units, will reap anti-ageing rewards. Sugar can cause a range of skin problems due to a process called ‘glycation’, which is when sugar molecules attach to collagen and elastin proteins in the skin, leading to loss in skin’s elasticity.Glycation can be responsible for inflammation and skin experts believe it is also a key factor in speeding up the ageing process. If you want calm, clear, and more youthful looking skin, cutting down your sugar intake is a good place to start.
3. Arm Yourself With Natural Bodyguards
Antioxidants play a vital role in the slowing down ageing.Also called ‘free radical scavengers’, antioxidants are molecules that work like bodyguards in the body; binding to free radicals and preventing them from binding to our healthy cells. Antioxidants are able to combat oxidative damage, reduce inflammation and help to protect DNA from premature ageing. While it’s next to impossible to avoid our exposure to skin-damaging free radicals, we can invest in a diet and skincare routine that is rich in antioxidants.
Aside from other lifestyle factors like getting enough sleep, avoiding chronic stress, eating a healthy diet full of fresh produce and keeping yourself hydrated, your skincare routine can play a very vital role in holding back the hands of time. I like to include a Vitamin C serum in the morning and a Vitamin A serum at night for around-the-clock protection against free radicals.
Some of the top antioxidants to look out for in your skincare products:
Vitamin A (Retinol) stimulates collagen production and accelerate cell renewal and repair
Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) fights inflammation, redness, brown spots or pigmentation
Vitamin C helps counteract UV free radical stress and pollution, brightens complexion
Vitamin E(often listed as Tocopherol)helps accelerate the skin’s healing process
Resveratrol protects skin from UVB damage
CoEnzymeQ10 – helps stimulate collagen production to improve elasticity and texture
Glutathione -aids in cell repair
Green Tea Polyphenols -anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing properties