We might not be able to stop time or reverse the clock, but we do have some control over the appearance of our skin as we age. Fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and dryness are all common issues associated with getting older. But don’t worry, there are things we can do to slow down this process.
First, let’s look at what’s actually happening to our skin with age. We first begin to get wrinkles as young as 25 years old, believe it or not. It starts with the breakdown of the structural fibers, collagen and elastin, which is brought on by sun damage and other environmental stressors. When this happens, our skin loses its strength, firmness, and flexibility. What we see in the mirror are lines, wrinkles, and sagging.
Aging skin also comes with moisture loss. Skin cell membranes become more susceptible to damage as their structure deteriorates. At the same time, our cells produce less of the oils that make up these membranes. With this barrier compromised, moisture escapes from the cells more easily and your skin is left dull, deflated and dehydrated.
All is not lost, however, and we can manage these problems with a few tweaks to our lifestyle. The following is a list of actions you can take to counteract the effects of aging on your skin.
Drinking enough water every day is essential to being healthy in general. While experts say drinking water is not a magic pill that will save your skin from the aging process, they agree that your skin will look its best when you’re not dehydrated. Find out exactly how much water you should drink using this handy calculator.
No one will argue that a good night’s sleep is necessary for our bodies and brains to function optimally. But sleep is also crucial to the health of our skin. Without enough “beauty sleep,” our skin cells will miss out on the time they need to repair damage and regenerate. This is because there’s better blood flow to our skin while we sleep, and we also produce collagen during the regeneration process.
Wash Your Face Twice A Day
Dermatologists generally recommend washing your face in the morning and again at night. We should wash our face in the morning because bacteria builds up overnight. After the day is over, washing off any makeup, oil or dirt is key. There are a few things to consider, however, like what kind of cleanser you use to wash your face. Aging skin tends to be dry. For dry aging skin, a gentle cream cleanser works best. (Check out our own here.) If you happen to have oily skin, you’ll want to choose a cleanser to keep your skin oil in balance. (Like this one.)
Use a High-Quality Moisturizer
Just like choosing the right cleanser, make sure to choose a moisturizer that matches your skin type. Since mature skin is typically drier, look for creams rich in oils like avocado, borage seed, evening primrose, rosehips, sea buckthorn, shea butter, and wheat germ. Essential fatty acids in borage and evening primrose oil are excellent for the strength of skin cell membranes. (Our Regenerating Cream works well.)
Stay Out of the Sun
UV rays are the biggest source of damage to our skin. While we can’t completely avoid the sun, we should try to minimize our exposure. Wearing hats with a wide brim is a great way to protect your face when you’re outside. Sunglasses will help too. Or simply stay in the shade whenever possible. Sunscreen is always advised when you can’t avoid exposure. Look for a broad-spectrum, SPF 30+, mineral-based, toxin-free lotion for the best protection.
Don’t Use Hot Water
Hot water might feel comforting and relaxing on your skin but using it to wash your face will strip the natural oils away. To protect aging skin, use lukewarm water to keep oils in and prevent further damage to skin cell membranes. A splash of cold water will temporarily boost blood flow and make your skin look firmer.
When it comes to aging, most experts agree that exercise helps us stay young in countless ways. It’s not completely clear how exercise affects our skin but increasing circulation in our body helps deliver nutrients to all our cells. More nutrients means maintaining healthy cells for longer. Exercise also helps reduce stress, and stress can trigger physiological processes that affect barrier function and inflammation in the skin.
Eat More Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in skin health. Omega-6 is especially important for cell membrane integrity. These fats are polyunsaturated fatty acids that we must obtain through our diet or by taking supplements. Omega-6s are found mostly in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Borage seed oil and evening primrose are rich sources of the essential fatty acids that are best for skin.
Get More Collagen From Your Diet
Since we know we lose collagen as we age, making sure we’re eating foods that supply it can help us maintain healthy levels. Foods like fish, chicken and eggs are great sources of collagen. You can also eat plant-based foods that will help boost your own collagen-making ability. Studies show that collagen supplements can also be a good source.
Use a Humidifier
Another way to combat dryness that comes with age is to use a humidifier in your bedroom at night. Adding a little moisture to the air while you sleep can help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Your skin will soak up the humidity and plump right up. This is especially useful if you live in a dry climate, and during winter when indoor air is drier.
Hopefully this list gives you some helpful ideas on how to manage common skin issues as you get older. It takes a little more work to hold onto your youthful appearance as the years go by, but when the compliments start rolling in, it’ll all be worth it. No one will ever guess your age again.