Growing older is a fact of life; with every passing day, each of us grows a little bit older, and sometimes wiser too, something that is completely out of our control. But is that such a bad thing? With age comes knowledge, experience and perspective that we don’t have in our younger years, and so in my opinion, getting older is not quite the end-of-the-world crisis situation that some people make it out to be.
Having said that, how you age, and how you take care of your skin as you age, is something that you do have control over, and maintaining healthy skin should be a priority for everyone.
Here’s our list of things that can damage your skin and cause premature ageing – some of them you can avoid, some of them you can’t, and some of them, you might not want to…
Now this is the one you’ve probably heard a hundred times before, but it is still as true now as it ever was; spending time in the sun!
Exposure to UV is one of the biggest culprits for causing your skin to age (around 90% of the signs of ageing are caused by spending too much time out in the sun without sunscreen). The reason for this is that UV damages the elastin in the skin, causing it to sag, stretch and lose its ability to snap back after stretching, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. UVA rays reach deep into the dermis, damaging collagen fibres by forming abnormal amounts of elastin and increasing metalloproteinase production. Collagen begins to malfunction and decompose; incorrectly rebuilding the skin and forming wrinkles along the way, a process which is repeated every time the skin is exposed to UVA rays.
Exposure to sunlight can also result in excess pigmentation and ‘sun-spots’ when your skin overproduces melanin, the pigment colour in your skin that you naturally produce to protect you from the sun. There are two types of pigmentation: hypopigmentation, where patches of skin become lighter in colour compared to surrounding skin due to a depletion of melanin or melanocyte levels, and hyperpigmentation, where patches of the skin become darker, which occurs when an excess of melanin forms deposits in the skin.
Both hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation are quite common and usually harmless, but studies have shown that having excess pigmentation, or uneven skin tone, can make you look up to 12 years older.
The answer is easy – and we’re not going to tell you to just stay indoors, or only go out at night! Wearing a sunscreen with a high UVa rating and SPF every day, as well as reapplying where necessary, is all you need to keep your skin protected. It’s a simple habit to get into, and once it’s a part of your daily routine, you probably won’t even think about it any more – and believe us, your skin will thank you for it.
Sunwards: Providing SPF 30 and outstanding UVa protection without irritation, Sunwards is the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin.
2. Free Radicals:
This is another cause of ageing that has been in the public spotlight a lot lately, but what exactly are free radicals, and why do they damage our skin?
Free radicals were once-healthy oxygen molecules that have now become overactive and unstable. There is a theory called the Free-Radical Theory of Ageing (FRTA) that states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time – ever cut an apple in half and see how it turns brown? That’s the equivalent of what is happening to your skin. They are produced in various ways; from bodily functions and sun exposure as well as from high levels of toxic fumes and pollution in big cities, meaning we are all exposed to them every day. Smoking also causes free radicals meaning smokers will, therefore, develop more wrinkles than non-smokers – one puff of cigarette smoke emits 40,000 free radicals!
So what can you do about it? For a start, stopping smoking can be one of the best things you can do for your skin. If you don’t smoke though, the key to combatting free radicals is with antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, which you can either incorporate into your diet or use vitamin-rich products to treat your skin and keep it looking its best.
SkinVital®: our anti-ageing super serum contains 20% Vitamin C – 33% more than the leading competitor – to combat free radical ageing and damage
3. Collagen Production:
Collagen makes up around 75-80% of the skin’s dermis and is what makes your complexion firm, plump, and youthful, limiting the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy, slack, and crepe-like skin. If everything works as it should, our cellular collagen-making machines called fibroblasts continue to create new collagen, while your body also produces enzymes that break down the old or damaged collagen and carry it away, keeping your skin looking young and beautiful.
Unfortunately, production of this youth-preserving protein decreases as we age – roughly you start to produce 1% less collagen every year from when you’re in your 20’s, which is precisely why we say that there’s nothing wrong with starting to use anti-ageing products early on! Signs of ageing occur when the fibroblast cells that step in to repair damaged collagen fibres cannot complete their work, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.
This is another case where you cannot turn back time; your body will continue to do its best to keep producing collagen but after a while, it can only do so much. That’s why we recommend investing in a product that will not only give your skin a collagen boost but also give your skin the tools it needs to create more collagen for itself, keeping you looking youthful.
Terproline® Contour – Offering your skin the building blocks to produce new collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, to improve skin structure, appearance and tone.
4. Facial Muscle Contractions:
Some specific fine line and wrinkles, such as crows’ feet, frown lines, and furrows in your brow are caused by small, repeated muscle contractions from your facial expressions.
You may have seen in our previous article (LINK) that some so-called ‘experts’ have recommended certain facial exercises, that are meant to keep the muscles in your face strong and firm. This sounds great in theory, but the problem is that when it comes to ageing, it’s your skin that’s the giveaway, rather than what’s underneath it, and repeatedly forcing your face into weird contortions is more likely to cause excess fine lines and wrinkles, from your skin losing it ability to snap back into place after stretching.
But, aside from biding these bizarre exercises goodbye, what can you do about this kind of wrinkle formation? It’s not as though you can just stop smiling, frowning, moving your eyebrows or showing any kind of emotion at all for the rest of your life – and even if you could, would you want to? A high-quality anti-wrinkle cream should be all you need to keep these fine lines and wrinkles to a minimum, but the ones to look out for are creams whose active ingredients work within the skin, rather than just on the skin’s surface, to ensure long-lasting, effective results.
Fillast® Duo Pack: specifically designed to fill wrinkles from within, increasing the skin’s hyaluronic acid levels, and increasing the skin’s capacity to bind water.
5. Diet and Nutrition:
A lot of people forget that the skin is the largest organ in the body, and therefore can be hugely affected by your diet and nutrition. You may have read our previous article about how your diet can affect things like acne and rosacea but the same can also be said for ageing your skin as well. As we’ve said earlier, Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants and can help combat sun damage and free radicals, but Vitamin A helps to maintain and repair skin tissue, and Vitamin B helps to form the basis for new skin, so keeping up a vitamin-rich diet – as well keeping up a skin routine with products specifically designed to combat the signs of ageing – can work wonders for your skin.
Synchrovit A: containing encapsulated forms of Vitamins A and E to stimulate cell renewal and promote tone and turgidity, leaving the skin looking younger and brighter
Yo-yo dieting can also have an effect on your skin; losing and gaining back large amounts of weight forces your skin to stretch and then retract, and, as skin elasticity starts to decrease with time, your skin will start to look slack and saggy. There are many other reasons why fad-dieting is not good for you, never mind for your ageing skin, but maintaining a balanced diet for your skin, as well as a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine, should also keep you at a healthy weight.
Hydration is also a vital part of keeping your skin healthy and youthful because, as we get older, our skin becomes thinner and drier. Drinking plenty of water, and investing in a rich, hydrating cream will encourage your skin to maintain high moisture levels, keeping it plump and youthful.
When it comes to your skin ageing, there are some things you can control and some things you can’t. In our experience, the best defence is a good offence, and it’s far easier to prevent the signs of ageing from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to turn back time.
SkinMed® provide medically licensed products that are clinically proven to deliver outstanding results – to find out more about how you can keep your skin healthy and beautiful, why not give us a call on 0333 247 2474, to speak to one of our dedicated team?