Ageing is a normal part of the lifecycle of any living thing. When we are very young, we cannot wait to be old enough to have independence and to grow into our maturing bodies. However, at a certain point, generally in our late 20’s and early 30’s, the very thing that we were so excited about in adolescence and early adulthood, can begin to become the cause of anxiety and self-consciousness.
We start to notice subtle changes in our skin, slight crows feet at the corners of our eyes when we smile, fine lines appearing on our foreheads, reduced fullness in our lips and cheeks, and a once youthful glow and translucency replaced with a perceptible dullness and opaqueness in the skin.
It is a privilege to grow older and to be able to witness and embrace the changes in our bodies, however at times these changes do not reflect our inner feelings and perceptions of ourselves.
One of the most common concerns expressed by people as they age, is that they begin to look more tired. This outward occurrence, often times doesn’t match the feelings of vibrancy that these people have, and this misalignment has been linked to increased feelings of depression, anxiety and exhaustion.
Studies have shown that when these same people looked after and treated their skin, resulting in more relaxed, healthier, younger looking skin, their feelings of anxiety, depression and even sadness immediately lifted.
it is no wonder then, that the anti-aging industry is now booming and growing more rapidly than ever before. However, with this growing industry there is more room for companies to take advantage of this need and provide skincare and treatments that don’t fulfil their promises.
So, how do you avoid the pitfalls and empty promises of certain skincare products?
Firstly, it is important to understand the factors associated with aging in order to be able to control them, and to some degree reverse them.
One of the most common contributing factors to aging is inflammation, or the recently coined expression, “inflamageing”! Inflammation can be created in the body in many ways and by a multitude of factors, both internal and external.
One of the harshest, yet most common causes of skin inflammation, and one that affects every single person in the world, is sun exposure. Sun exposure creates inflammatory responses in the skin, and causes damage to skin cells, ironically the sun is also beneficial for our bodies, as it stimulates Vitamin D production and other processes that are beneficial for our health. Controlling how and when you’re exposed to the sun is key in maintaining a healthy balance.
Constant environmental IR and blue light can also stimulate inflammatory responses in the skins cells and affect mitochondrial activity, as well as hormonal processes. Environmental pollution can have significant impacts on the health of our skin and the efficiency of our cells, resulting in sluggish processes and increased allergic and inflammatory reactions.
A healthy, balanced anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle, combined with exercise and low stress levels can also have a positive impact on slowing down the ageing process. Studies have even shown that low impact, brisk walking every day for 45 minutes can extend our life spans by up to 10 years, slowing down the aging processes, increasing brain mass and even decreasing age related illnesses.
The application of low-grade toxic chemicals on our skin, such as preservatives which contain formaldehyde, parabens, sulfates and phthalates can have a chronic and cumulative inflammatory effect on our bodies and our skin, contributing to accelerated aging. Ingredients in skincare should aim to reduce chronic inflammation, while boosting cellular activity and renewal, in order to treat the skin holistically and from a causative standpoint.
A class of super ingredients in skincare that can actually slow down ageing processes are those which contain high levels of antioxidants, these protect against free radical damage and conserve healthy functioning skin cells.
Vitamins that boost cellular activity and proliferation are essential as part of a skincare routine. These restore youthful processes in the skin, increasing vibrancy and radiance, a quality revered in young skin!
Other elements influencing skin aging are the mechanical movements of muscles and their impact and stress on the skin. In particular, reducing micro-contractions in the tiny muscles and nerves close to the skin can have a significant effect on lines and wrinkles.
Thankfully, there is a new class of peptides available that have relaxing effects on these muscles, resulting in smoother, younger looking skin. When choosing a skincare brand, research the ingredients, find out whether the products address some of common causes of skin ageing or just attempt to disguise and cover them up with silicones and other harmful chemicals. Ensure that the products are clean and free from low-grade toxic ingredients which contribute to chronic inflammation, and ask the brand questions in order to ensure that they are transparent with their activities and their formulations.
We are fortunate, as we now have more ingredients and technologies available to us than ever before. This makes it easier for us to look after our skin and address the causes of accelerated aging, helping us to look on the outside, the way we feel on the inside!