It’s become a dirty word, ageing. We fight it tooth and nail with products, injectables and procedures. We curse our crow’s feet and beat up on ourselves for turning a year older. It’s easy to get caught up in fighting ageing but realistically it’s not a war we’ll win. Ageing happens; it’s natural. There is another way to look at the situation though: when we understand why we show signs of age and what things accelerate ageing, we’re able to prevent the ageing process happening prematurely while keeping our skin looking supple and healthy.
What causes ageing?
There are two different reasons why we age. Firstly genetics play a part, this is called intrinsic ageing. Secondly is the environment and our lifestyle, this is called extrinsic ageing.
What we CAN’T control:
We can’t really change intrinsic ageing, it’s mostly genetic, but a healthy body, diet and skin routine will help support the skin’s function, keeping it healthier for longer. Intrinsic ageing usually starts in our mid-twenties where our skin can lose its spring because our collagen production begins to slow and become less flexible. The changes that start to take place are not usually visible at this point.
With the changes in our collagen happening, over time wrinkles begin to appear. As we grow older the fatty layer under the skin lessens and it appears less supple. This means we can bruise more easily and the skin can sag. The top layers of our skin become finer with age because new skin cells are not produced as quickly and readily. Our blood vessels can also become more visible and, because the skin and fatty layer is finer, they are less protected. Our genes will control how soon these parts of the aging process appear.
What we CAN control:
We can control how we age extrinsically. Extrinsic ageing can be a combination of many things, most of which are indeed within our control: sun exposure, pollution, our expressions, alcohol, medications/drugs, lifestyle and smoking. How much exposure we have to these things will govern how we appear to age.
The way we use our faces will create lines. We certainly don’t want to change how much we smile but we can always try to frown less!
Sun exposure is an extrinsic factor that gets to most of us, especially in Australia. It can take years to actually show the damage the sun causes. UV damage affects the skin cells and their ability to produce collagen and it also causes the skin to become uneven in colour (pigmentation). In the layers of our skin, we have cells that produce a substance called melanin it gives us our skin colouring and protects us against sun damage. When we do get exposed to sun, our skin produces more melanin and we go darker in colour but it’s not always even and can happen in patches. Pigmentation often takes years to build up and can be very difficult to remove. It’s important to be sun aware before the damage is visible.
What can I do to keep my skin healthy?
Use a great skin routine: Your skin thrives on being well cleansed with a PH balanced cleanser (that won’t strip the skin’s protective barrier function). Exfoliation not only gets rid of dead skin cells but also increases circulation in the skin. Treating your skin with a fragrance-free balanced serum and moisturiser, containing a balance of plant extracts, hydroxy acids, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E will help to keep the skin supple and producing collagen to its best ability.
Hydration inside and out: Keeping your skin hydrated on the outside (with your skin routine) and on the inside (with water, a balanced diet and supplements) means healthy skin. A healthy body hormones, digestion, and lymphatic system ensures your skin is healthy and functioning well. When the body isn’t in balance, the skin (our largest organ) will work harder to get rid of toxins. This means nasties are eliminated by way of blemishes and the like.
Sun protection: Using good sun protection means less UV damage to the skin. Sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide reflect rays rather than absorb them. These are minerally derived and are often kinder to a sensitive skin.
Stress reduction: Research shows that regular meditation reduces stress and tension that impacts upon our body health and general wellbeing. A healthy and balanced approach to lifestyle is key in curbing the way our body and skin shows age.