Can You Slow Down The Visible Signs Of Aging?
Aging skin is a given thing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to help slow things down a little.
The rate at which your skin ages is determined by two important factors: your genes and your lifestyle. These are otherwise known as intrinsic and extrinsic aging.
Without getting too bogged down by science, intrinsic aging is the one that’s determined by your genetic makeup and is going to happen whatever you do and however much you look after your skin. Things like collagen and elastin naturally break down as you age, while your skin’s levels of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, fatty acids and sebum also decrease. And all this contributes to the formation of lines, wrinkles and the like. It’s like getting gray hairs. C’est la vie!
On the flipside, extrinsic aging is totally in your hands and includes all the other stuff you throw at your skin which increases the speed and intensity at which the signs of visible aging appear. The sun is the most obvious offender, but anything that causes oxidative stress on your skin (pollution, stress, a poor diet etc.) will play its part in throwing off your skin’s natural defense mechanism, thus allowing damaging free radicals to run amok and age you up at a super-speedy rate.
So, in answer to the question: ‘can you slow down the visible signs of aging?’ Yes… but there's a 'no' caveat. Yes, of course you can protect your skin from environmental assault and make better lifestyle choices. But no, you can’t change your genes. So let’s see how best to tackle the things you CAN control, shall we?
5 Ways To Reduce Premature Aging
1. Keep The Sun Off Your Skin
Bored of hearing how the sun is the enemy when it comes to your skin? Tough. Because it’s true and the more it gets drummed into you, the more vigilant we hope you’ll be at protecting your skin from the sun’s evil UV rays.
The stats are simple. Scary, but simple. The sun is responsible for somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of all extrinsic aging. This means that you can moisturize, treat, and preen your skin ‘till the cows come home. But if you don’t protect it with sunscreen every day, you might as well throw the rest of your skincare regime in the trash.
Don’t do that. Instead, sneak some broad-spectrum protection into the final stage of your morning routine. Try our awesome SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C. It's way less wasteful than throwing away all your precious skincare products.
2. Protect Your Skin’s Barrier Function
Your skin’s barrier is the uppermost layer that sits at the top of your epidermis and is known in the beauty biz as the stratum corneum. This brick wall-like section is made up of around 20 layers of cells and arguably works harder than the rest of your skin put together. Bold words, we know. But valid words because the function of this important layer is to act like a security guard, protecting your skin (and your entire body) from the outside world by preventing moisture from getting out and external irritants, allergens and other nasties from getting in. A strong barrier function is vital for keeping your skin strong, moisturized and healthy, whereas if it becomes weak, thin and compromised this is when issues like dryness, dehydration, irritation and the inevitable signs of aging start to creep up on you.
Of course, it goes without saying that your barrier function naturally weakens with age, losing ceramides, cholesterol and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. But the more you look after it, the stronger it will remain and the better your skin will be. How do you do this? Simple, with gentle skincare products (harsh ingredients are killers on your barrier function), plenty of sunscreen (yes, that again!), quality sleep and lots of hydration. Our favorite serum for nourishing your barrier function is Niacinamide (B3) Facial Serum which helps boost ceramide production and fights like a dog to destroy free radicals before they get a chance to do their worst.
3. Do. Not. Smoke
Smoking is obviously terrible for your health. Plus it gives you smokers’ lines around your lips. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, after UV damage, smoking is one of the worst offenders for accelerating the visible signs of skin aging.
Tobacco contains a ton of harmful substances that screw up your skin, ruining its texture, tone, elasticity, firmness, smoothness and even altering the color of your complexion. In fact, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, it’s common for the skin of a 40-year-old heavy smoker to look similar to that of a 70-year-old nonsmoker. Eesh!
The facts are simple: smoking increases free radical formation in your skin, breaks down collagen, accelerates inflammation, decreases blood flow and starves your skin of essential oxygen and nutrients. Just don’t.
4. Use Proven, Age-Fighting Skincare Ingredients
Revving up your skincare routine with hard-working, active ingredients is a great way to bite premature aging on its butt. Granted, there are so many out there, claiming to rid your skin of wrinkles in weeks, it’s hard to keep up. But don’t be fooled that they’re all going to be miracle-workers. Instead, stick with those that have the research to back them up. Ingredients like retinol; vitamin C; peptides and exfoliating acids like glycolic, lactic and salicylic have all been studied for years and been proven to offer real benefits for your skin. Also, NKOTB bakuchiol is fast making a big name for itself by giving retinol a run for its money in the anti-aging skincare stakes. Look out for these if you’re serious about getting ahead of the aging game.
One word of warning, however. You know that barrier function we spoke of earlier? Well, overload this with too many skincare actives and it will repay you with inflammation, dryness, irritation and potential breakouts. This means you must tread carefully. Avoid piling on too many potent serums and treatments all at once and choose curated products that combine a few actives that are known to work together. All of our serums have been carefully formulated not to cause sensitivities, but it’s still wise to patch test first and avoid using more than one at the same time.
5. Moisturize Like Clockwork
Serums are great. Obviously. But you need to seal all that goodness in with moisturizer, otherwise all those active ingredients are likely to escape from the surface of your skin. Which kinda defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
Moisturizer not only traps in moisture and ingredients like antioxidants and humectants (think hyaluronic acid and aloe vera), but it also leaves a smoothing topcoat on the surface of your skin, reducing the appearance (and premature formation) of fine lines and wrinkles.
The truth is you must never forget to apply moisturizer after every cleanse – no matter how oily your skin. We have lots to choose from, depending on your concerns and needs, but our current favorite is Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream which is the ideal addition to any healthy aging skincare regime.