We are all going to age whether we like it or not but for many people this is not an issue until they look in the mirror one day and don’t like what they see! This can happen at any age from your 30s onwards but for most people it is realistically more in their 40s or 50s.
Many years ago, we wrote an article on the use of the term ‘anti-ageing’ – we tried hard to avoid using it but it seems to be a word that captivates people when they buy products to help reverse signs of skin ageing.
We personally like to call it Graceful Ageing – skin that is healthy and vibrant but that is commensurate with your age. Most challenges in skin ageing have to do with the sun. This is called photo-ageing which makes the skin dry, dehydrated with fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, uneven skin tone and a rough texture.
Skin rejuvenation treatments have a place in reversing skin ageing but it is all about balance and using good products that make a real difference to the skin long term. It is about not over-doing facial treatments that leave the face youthful while the rest of the exposed body parts remain photo-damaged. There is nothing attractive about an overfilled face, marble-smooth skin and a duck beak pout when the neck, décolletage and arms are sagging, wrinkled and covered in pigmented spots!
One of the best ways to achieve Graceful Ageing is to use a few very important ingredients in your daily skincare routine – ingredients that have stood the test of time. Use them regularly and consistently and over time they will help your skin age gracefully. Enzo Laszlo, a famous Hungarian Dermatologist once said: Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle.
An antioxidant containing Vitamin C and especially L-Ascorbic Acid is vital for a skin that is ageing. It not only protects the skin against free radicals and oxidative stress that cause premature skin ageing but it stimulates collagen synthesis. One of the greatest benefits is that also gives the skin a radiant glow. Recent studies have shown that pollution can also cause premature ageing and pigmentation and that is why it is important to wear an antioxidant under your moisturiser every day. When Vitamin C is combined with Vitamin E they work synergistically in their antioxidant action. Although more expensive as a product, the addition of Ferulic acid in this formulation improves stability and studies show that it also increases UV protection giving the skin up to 8x more protection against UV radiation.
The most common over-the-counter form of Vitamin A is Retinol which is still considered the Gold Standard anti-ageing ingredient by Dermatologists worldwide. A key function of Retinol is that it increases the cellular turnover by increasing exfoliation, removing dry dead skin cells and bringing new healthy skin cells to the surface of the skin. This is a natural process when we are younger but as we age it slows down, resulting in a dry, dull skin tone.
It is a multi-functional ingredient (no wonder Derms love it!) – it helps to reduce fine lines, soften deeper wrinkles, even out a mottled skin tone and smooth rough texture. It shrinks oversized pores, it lightens superficial pigmentation and it improves oily, acne-prone skin with its keratolytic action. A real wonder ingredient!
Another benefit is that it often ‘lights’ up pre-cancerous lesions on the skin which can then be removed by your Dermatologist before they become cancerous.
Tretinoin is also very effective for photo-ageing but it is by prescription-only and it can be harsh causing irritation on the skin. Retinols are more popular as they are usually encapsulated for slower release into the skin, causing less irritation. It is always important to start with a lower concentration of Retinol and step up the percentage according to your own skin’s tolerance.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of sunscreens – there are some people who still do not believe that this is a vital product and it is not always easy to understand why when clinical trials show that the sun causes skin ageing, pigmentation and skin cancer.
We always recommend buying the best sunscreen you can afford – those that come with clinical trials to confirm their efficacy. Usually these are developed by well-known skincare brands and medical skincare companies who have the money to spend on research and development and to do clinical trials. See your sunscreen as an investment – it is the backbone of any skincare regimen and without it, you will be fighting a losing battle when it comes to skin ageing.
Your sunscreen should be a high factor and broad spectrum which means it covers UVA & UVB. New and innovative sunscreens also include antioxidants which provide protection against Infrared Radiation, Visible Light and Ground Ozone (Pollution). Some sunscreens also have a DNA repair function to help reverse signs of ageing and damage to the cells caused by the sun, thereby reducing the risk of skin cancer.