Prevention is the key to minimizing skin ageing. Unfortunately for many people, by the time the first visible signs of photo-ageing appear, usually in their late 20s or early 30s, they have already had a fair amount of sun exposure. This results in damage to the skin and what we term, early signs of photo-ageing. Over the next few decades, the skin will continue to age without any protective, preventative and corrective interventions.
Fortunately, there is much that can be done to reduce or reverse signs of skin ageing.
As a Dermatologist, my advice would be to Prevent and Protect the skin from your teens and through your 20s, At this stage of life, I would advise that you always use a good quality, high factor, broad-spectrum sunscreen suited to your skin type and an antioxidant. These days many sunscreens contain antioxidants.
It is a well-known fact that sunscreens are the best way to protect your skin against UV radiation but recent studies show that antioxidants give additional protection, shielding the skin from not only UV radiation but other environmental aggressors such as Pollution, Visible light and Infrared radiation which causes the formation of free radicals and oxidative stress in the skin.
I would further recommend as part of the protect and prevent phase to keep your skin barrier healthy by using the correct serums and moisturisers, formulated for your skin type and skin concerns. An impaired skin barrier can lead to sensitivity. At this age and stage of your life, there is generally no need to use high percentage active ingredients for anti-ageing but should there be any signs of early ageing in your 20s, you can certainly introduce gentle anti-ageing products.
Healthy lifestyle choices go a long way to helping to prevent skin ageing – don’t smoke, minimize sun exposure and most importantly, avoid sunbeds.
By the time you reach your 30s, you should continue to protect and prevent but this is also the age at which you should start to look at using Corrective products – products with specific active ingredients that target skin ageing. These stimulate collagen and elastin which diminish as we age and include actives such as: Retinol, Peptides, Alpha Hydroxy Acids etc. Signs of skin ageing might be minimal at this stage but it is wise to start using a low percentage Retinol two to three times a week and other anti-ageing ingredients for specific concerns such as pigmentation.
If your skin is photo-damaged, with deeper lines and wrinkles, usually from your 40s, 50s and onwards, you will need to use higher percentage active ingredients as well as other anti-ageing correctives such as growth factors. You should always start off slowly when introducing active ingredients and increase the strength of your active ingredients according to your skin’s tolerance levels. I would recommend that you seek the correct advice from skin experts so that you do not waste your money on products that do not target your specific concerns.
Lastly, as many of you might know by now, I am a passionate advocate of gentle cleansing, using the correct products for your skin type and skin concerns. A proper cleansing routine with the right products is vitally important for optimum skin health. Far too many people I see in my practice complain about having sensitive skins and not being able to use active ingredient products to correct skin ageing. If the skin barrier is restored and functioning correctly, many of these people are able to use corrective anti-ageing products. For some people with truly sensitive, eczematous or rosacea-prone skins, there are other more gentle options.
I see many patients with varying degrees of skin ageing and I find using the guidelines of Protect, Prevent and Correct helps them to simplify their decisions when choosing their anti-ageing products.