If the words Anti-aging trigger a whirlwind of emotions, you are not alone. They are not words I like to use because I am not anti-aging. In fact, I am pro-aging. Aging is a healthy and normal part of life. What I am is anti-skin-aging!
As we age, our skin undoubtedly changes. There are external and internal aggressors that can prematurely age the skin of even the youngest. That is why it’s imperative that we start protecting our skin as early as possible.
Prevention is so much easier than a cure. Although the visible signs of skin-aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and sunspots can be reduced by using certain products, once they appear, the long-term damage to your skin is done and harder to reverse.
So let’s focus on my top 6 tips on how to protect your skin - as early as possible!
6 WAYS TO PREVENT PREMATURE SKIN-AGING
1. Protect skin from the Sun
By far, prolonged periods of sun exposure is the most common cause of premature skin-aging, also known as photoaging. (Not to mention the potential dangers of skin cancer). Whilst we may enjoy the sun, exposure to UV rays have been found to actually mutate the DNA in your skin cells. These mutations in the surface layers of the skin cause pigmentation, roughness and skin cancers. Damage to the deeper layers of your skin damage elastin and collagen, destroying tone and plumpness. Terrifyingly, this UV damage has been found to penetrate to the deepest layers of your skin. This means that a lot of photoaging that you may notice was caused by sun exposure YEARS ago! Photoaging can include the development of wrinkles, pigmentation (age spots, liver spots, freckling), redness, sagging and broken capillaries.
To figure out if your skin is prematurely aged by the sun (as opposed to just aged by the passage of time), compare areas of your body which have not been exposed to UV to an areas which are regularly exposed. The difference is pretty dramatic.
Ensure you always apply ample amounts of good quality sunscreen to protect your skin. I always suggest to all my clients that they apply a separate sunscreen to their moisturiser for the best protection. Read my article Why You Must Use A Separate Face Cream And Sun Screen.
2. Protect the skin from external pollutants
You'd be surprised the negative effects general pollution from vehicles, roads, transport and airborne grime have on our skin. Unfortunately, this is impossible to avoid if you live in a major city. This pollution can irritate the skin barrier and contribute to skin aging issues (through oxidative stress). Cleansing skin twice a day to remove the day’s dirt and grime is imperative. Even if you've had a late night, don't skip your cleanse. It’s probably the most important step in any skincare routine. Post-moisturising, add a serum to protect the skin from daily pollutants. Choose a serum that is anti-oxidant rich and can work in harmony with your moisturiser to hydrate and protect your skin cells from external aggressors.
3. Keep skin well moisturised, especially as you get older
A moisturiser acts like a drink of water for your face keeping it nourished and hydrated. This is especially important as you get older and your skin naturally becomes drier, which makes it more prone to wrinkles. Dehydrated skin makes us look older so ensure you moisturise day and night with a face cream best for your skin type.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is essential for good skin-health. Besides vital functions like flushing toxins from your body, aiding with digestion, and regulating your body temperature, water can also help keep your skin looking healthy and plumped from the inside.
5. If you smoke, Quit!
Just to add to the list of reasons to avoid or quit smoking, add your skin’s appearance! Nicotine causes the blood vessels to narrow in turn reducing oxygen flow and nutrients to skin cells. This turn of events damages the structures necessary for skin elasticity and health. In addition, repetitive lip pursing from holding a cigarette in your mouth contributes to the deep lines around the mouth also known as 'Smokers Lines'.
6. Get good sleep
Sleeping is the time for your body to heal and re-set. Hormone levels are re-balanced, your immune system is re-energized, and tissue repair and collagen production (helps keep your skin firm and glowing) all happen whilst your body is in rest mode. 7-8 hours a night is the optimum amount of sleep you should be getting. It’s also the perfect time for your skincare to work its very hardest and practice skin slugging - the perfect cure for dry and dehydrated skin needing a instant pick me up.