In today's world, beauty has become everything anti-aging. If you take a stroll down the skincare aisle at any store, it seems like almost every product claims to erase wrinkles and fine lines, "lift" your face, abolishes dark spots and will make you look like your 16 again. Sadly, most of that is just a marketing technique and doesn't actually do what it says. The chase after younger looking skin is never-ending, and it doesn't help that the media makes it seem like showing signs of age is a sin. How dare we look like humans, right?!
Unfortunately, the media promotes an idea of beauty and youth that is pretty much impossible to attain: perfectly airbrushed skin that is devoid of any wrinkle, blemish or even a single pore. We all have to remember though that in real life, these women don't look like that. They have professional photographers, special lighting, and people who Photoshop the image until it looks like a new person.
When it comes to aging, there are a myriad of procedures, creams, gels, peels and many other things that can help diminish the signs of aging. Some choose to age without any interference, some choose to use the help of botox, fillers and/or laser treatments. Whichever route you decide to take is completely personal, as there is nothing wrong with aging naturally and there is also nothing wrong with choosing to use the help of treatments. It's your face after all! Everyone has their preferences, so no judgement here! Let's just all remember that we all have imperfections and insecurities that we either embrace or actively work on to get rid of!
What are the causes of aging?
Before I dive into products and ingredients to look for to combat aging, here is some information on what makes us age in the first place. There are two types of factors that cause aging, the first being intrinsic, which is the natural process our skin goes through as we get older. Unfortunately, we can't stop this process because it is largely hereditary and controlled by our genes. For example, dry skin tends to show signs of aging quicker than oilier skin types. Thankfully for us, intrinsic aging only makes up about 10% of the aging process, which means the rest of the 90% can be controlled with a healthy lifestyle! Yay! One major element to intrinsic aging is the loss of collagen. As production of collagen naturally slows down as we age, moisture is lost, meaning skin begins to wrinkle and sag.
The second type of aging is extrinsic aging which is caused by outside factors such as pollution, UV rays, stress, smoking, and sleep quality.
~Pollution: At some point, you've probably heard the term "free radical damage". To put it in simple terms, free radicals are atoms that are missing an electron, making them unstable, so they raid the body searching for an electron to make them stable again. This causes damage to cells, protein and DNA. Substances that can contain free radicals include fried food, alcohol, tobacco smoke, and air pollutants. However, sometimes it can be impossible to stay away from some of these things (looking at you, fried food), so what can we do to fight these things to reduce the effect they have on our skin? Products with Vitamin C and antioxidants. More on these in a little bit.
~UVA/UVB rays: I'm looking at you, sun bathers! That great ball of fire is absolutely
your biggest enemy when it comes to keeping wrinkles at bay. The sun's rays penetrate the skin and damage your skin cells, rendering them less productive at doing their job. Over time, the skin is unable to recover from this damage and you will start to notice wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin. The best way to keep the sun from ruining your skin is by wearing SPF every single day. It doesn't matter if it's winter and you haven't physically seen the sun in 6 months (Ohio), the rays can still penetrate through the clouds and cause damage. When you have the opportunity to be in direct sunlight, make sure you wear a hat and SPF. In the mornings during your skincare routine, put a layer of SPF over your moisturizer. If your foundation contains SPF, that is great! But it won't be enough to protect your skin. Do yourself a favor and incorporate an SPF into your everyday routine. You won't regret it!
~Repeated facial expressions: Creases from repetitive face movements, like squinting, smiling and yawning, settle in over time. This ultimately results in lines and wrinkles. Fine lines around the eyes and between the brows are usually the first lines we notice as we age, and this is due to squinting. Continued squinting will accelerate wrinkles around the eyes, so wear your sunglasses and don't forget to get your eyes checked if you can't see!
~Sleeping positions: Believe it or not, if you sleep with your face in the same position every night, you may start to notice some wrinkles from that as you age. These sleep lines eventually turn into wrinkles that start on the surface of the skin and eventually become permanent. To avoid this, try sleeping on your back instead of your side or stomach.
~Smoking: This one is probably the easiest one to control. Smoking causes chemical changes in the body that accelerates the aging process. Long-time smokers tend to develop an unhealthy, yellow complexion and usually have more wrinkles than their non-smoking friends.
~Lifestyle: Constant stress, a poor diet and lack of exercise has been shown to lead to premature aging. We all know the things we need to do to be healthier: like finding ways ways to destress, incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet, and exercising. Also, go get some fresh air, but don't forget your SPF!
It's kind of a bummer that there is no magic elixir that will take back all the years of damage that our skin has suffered, but if you start young (hey, 20 year olds!) you can significantly slow down the aging process with the combination of healthy lifestyle choices and the use of the right products:
Antioxidants: By definition, an antioxidant is a molecule that prevents the oxidation of other molecules. They block the damage caused by those free radicals we talked about earlier! Here are some antioxidants to look for in skincare products: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, resveratrol, grape seed, green tea, and coffeeberry.
Sunscreen: Like I said earlier, the sun is the #1 cause of aging. This means to combat those rays, wear it every single day. Look for one that is at least 30 SPF and is non-comodogenic (won't clog your pores). Layer it between your moisturizer and your makeup.
Retinol: This magical ingredient pretty much does everything, and dermatologists swear by it. Here are some of the benefits:
-Smooths your current fine lines and wrinkles, but also minimizes the new ones
-Exfoliates on a cellular level, revealing brighter, smoother skin
-Regulates oily skin and keeps pores from clogging
-Slows down the aging process
-Over time, it evens out your complexion by fading sun spots, acne scars, dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
I recommend a retinol to almost every client. When shopping for an over the counter retinol, look for one that contains a minimum concentration of 0.1%. You should start using this in your late twenties and then keep it a regular part of your regimen. In your nighttime routine, layer your retinol after your moisturizer until your skin becomes accustomed to it. After a few weeks, start layering it before your moisturizer, but let it completely dry before applying. Tip: be patient and consistent! It takes several weeks to see results from using a retinol. I will do a deeper dive into retinoids in a future blog post.
These are the main ingredients to look for when searching for products to prevent and treat aging skin. There is one more ingredient I want to bring up that is pretty controversial: collagen. Collagen is a trendy ingredient right now. Celebs drink it in their tea every morning, there are collagen supplements, and even creams that claim to put collagen into your skin and make you look 10 years younger! If it's too good to be true, it probably is. The good news is, you can save some money and avoid this collagen drinking fad. There's little evidence to show that they can deliver the benefits they promote, like more youthful and smooth skin and healthier hair, joints and bones. However, you can slow the rate your body will naturally lose collagen by not smoking and staying out of the sun. Trying to replenish what has already been lost by using a supplement or product isn't going to help (bummer, I know). The collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the outer layer of the skin. A collagen-rich cream will give you a glow because it's a great moisturizer, but it's not going to diminish wrinkles. Like I've said before, we don't complicate skincare. We look for what has been proven to work and we keep it simple!
How your Esthetician can help prevent premature aging:
At Oasis, we offer a facial called Sculpt which tightens and tones lax skin, using a ZIIP device. This device uses "nanocurrents and micro currents to communicate with your skin cells, increasing their effectiveness, prompting them to heal and encouraging them to make an abundance of collagen and elastin". After time, this service gives your skin a healthy, lifted glow that gets better over time. Bonus: it decreases onset acne, increases circulation and repairs tissue. In this facial, we also incorporate a face lift massage which stimulates collagen production and prevents it from breaking down. The Sculpt facial is basically a workout for your face (does not involve sweating or being out of breath).
P.S. We also offer an LED mask with light therapy (red light) designed to target your cells to make them produce more collagen.
Now that you know the basics of anti-aging, go drink some water and apply some SPF ;) and #buyyourskinadrink