Best Anti-Aging Skin Care: What Causes Skin Aging? When And How To Start?
These days, you can find a huge variety of anti-aging products on the market. Their labels promise a youthful, smooth and wrinkle-free skin in a short period of time.
But, what actually happens to your skin as it ages? What these products should exactly help with and what types of products your skin needs the most?
Keep reading to find out.
What Causes Skin Aging?
Though aging is a natural process, certain habits and conditions can significantly accelerate it, causing premature aging signs to appear. Things that have the biggest negative effect on the way your skin ages are:
- extended exposure to the sun
- repeated facial movements (like drinking through a straw or smoking)
- exposure to pollution and free radicals
- unhealthy habits (smoking, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity, lack of sleep)
- inadequate skincare routine
All of these can cause important changes in the skin’s health, texture and appearance. The synthesis of supportive proteins (collagen and elastin) becomes insufficient. Because of this, the skin loses its firmness and elasticity. It sags and wrinkles and fine lines start to appear.
The levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin also progressively drop. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that normally hydrates the skin. Without it, the skin loses its plumpness, suppleness and fresh, youthful appearance.
Sebaceous glands also start to secrete less and less sebum. The skin’s lipid barrier becomes damaged and insufficient, and the skin becomes more exposed to the elements. Plus, dry skin looks and feels rough, greyish, tired and unhealthy.
But one of the biggest changes as we age is that skin’s natural renewal cycle begins to slow down.
What Is Skin Cell Renewal Cycle?
Skin has a natural ability to renew itself, and it is a process that never really ends. In fact, skin can regenerate itself faster than most other organs.
Skin shedding is actually quite simple – the lower layers of epidermis produce new, young, healthy skin cells. These cells are being pushed upward, to replace the old skin cells on the surface. The old cells are getting peeled off the skin to make space for the new, young skin.
This is a never ending cycle, and with a healthy skin, it takes about 28 days for one cycle to complete and for the skin to renew itself. However, as we age, the skin renewal process significantly slows down. In our 40s and 50s it can take 45 – 60 days, while in our 60s it can take 60 – 90 days for the skin to produce new cells.
Because of this, the old, dry skin cells start to accumulate on the surface, causing the skin to feel rough to touch. The complexion becomes dull, tired looking and dark aging spots start to appear. The skin loses its brightness and healthy appearance.
When Should You Start Anti-Aging Skincare?
This is not an easy question, as it depends a lot on individual needs. Many dermatologists agree, though, that you should start with first anti-aging steps even in your 20s. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go and empty the anti-aging raffs.
In your 20s, it is all about prevention. Wear a sunscreen regularly, to reduce the sun damage. And make sure your skin is always optimally hydrated and moisturized.
Then, in your 30s and 40s, add products that will reduce the free radical damage and stimulate the collagen production. You can even find anti-aging skincare products specifically labeled for your age (20+, 30+, 40+…)
How To Start Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine?
If you are just starting and trying to build an anti-aging skincare routine from scratch, here’s what key components you should definitely include:
- Sunscreen – Use it every day, no matter the weather or the season. You should be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen and at least SPF 30. And don’t forget to reapply it every 2 hours.
- Creamy face wash – You have to wash your face regularly, but harsh, drying cleansers can do a lot of damage. Use a gentle face wash, creamy or oil based, after which your skin won’t feel too tight or dry.
- Gentle scrub – A facial scrub can stimulate the skin renewal process and improve the absorption of other products. But, it needs to be a gentle, non-irritating scrub, or it could damage the already fragile skin.
- Hyaluronic acid serum – Hyaluronic acid is one of the best natural humectants that can thoroughly hydrate your skin. Serums based on HA replenish the skin, reinforce the skin’s barrier, make the skin plump and supple and add dewy glow to your face.
- Plant oil moisturizer – Plant oils are full of antioxidants and healthy fats. They moisturize the skin, make it soft and smooth, prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines and protect the skin against the environment.
- Eye cream, hand cream, lip balm… - Your hands, lips, neck, décolletage and the area around your eyes are especially fragile, sensitive and age faster than other parts of your skin. They require different, more nourishing care and that is why it is a good idea to use products specifically formulated for these areas.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Prevent Aging Skin
As we already said, our habits and lifestyle choices have a powerful influence on how (and how fast) our skin ages.
To delay aging signs, try to avoid exposing your skin to free radicals as much as possible. The factors that speed up the production of free radicals are UV rays, pollution, exposure to chemicals, smoking, alcohol, unhealthy food, etc.
Also, try to get 8 hours of sleep every night, avoid too much stress and exercise regularly. Even just 10 minutes a day of exercising, doing yoga, swimming or riding a bike can help you to look and feel younger and more vital.
And, of course, a proper, nutritious, versatile diet can help a lot to support your skin and make it look healthy and youthful. Especially two types of food are important for younger looking skin – antioxidants (to reduce free radical damage) and omega-3 fatty acids (to moisturize and replenish your skin from the inside).
Food rich in antioxidants includes kale, spinach, beetroot, berries, dark chocolate, pecans and artichokes.
You can find omega-3 fatty acids in flax seed, chia seed, soybeans, walnuts and fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring).