Anti-ageing was never something I thought too much about in my twenties. Naively I always thought it was something that would happen “one day” but little did I know how quickly it creeped up on you. I was really fine with turning 30 last year – my twenties were such a mess that I was relieved to start a new decade a fresh, but it’s definitely marked a new stage for my skin. And while I believe that every line, wrinkle and flaw on our face tells a story, there are certain elements of ageing that can hinder our appearance and perhaps not make us feel as good as we would like. Which is where anti-ageing skincare comes in.
This past year I have been learning a lot about skincare ingredients and all the different combinations which can slow down the ageing process and give my skin a new lease of life. Over the last 12 months I’ve had more skin issues than a teenager and have been upping my skincare regime as well as incorporating some professional help as a result (more of that in a few weeks!). So if you’re looking for a more targeted regime that will actually give you results, read on…
ANTI-AGEING IN YOUR 20’S
Late nights, hangover’s and the decade of the face wipe – ah, to be young! While you may think you’ve got a few years left before worrying about anti-ageing skincare (I know I did!), I’ve got some bad news for you, that’s probably one party you’re late to.
Skincare brand Garnier claims that from the age of 25 onwards, the signs of ageing start to show through sun damage, wrinkles and pigmentation. At this time cell division begins to slow down steadily, water storage in the skin becomes porous and collagen starts to fall gradually. I know, I’m a hoot! Although you don’t need to worry about rich anti-ageing creams just yet, it’s definitely worth introducing some lightweight serums and products rich in vitamin A to strengthen cell division, vitamin C and E to fight free radicals and hyaluronic acid to counteract all that over-indulgence!
ANTI-AGEING IN YOUR 30’S
This is the decade where ageing really kicks in. Your body struggles with any abuse (hello 3 day hangovers!), needs more sleep to function and skin problems start to rear their ugly head – from dryness to hormonal acne. The skin becomes dull as new cells are visible every 28-35 days, whereas they once turned over every 14 days or so, it recovers less easily from inflammation, collagen and elastin breakdown faster and changing hormones mean we lose volume in our face.
And those fine lines? Yep, those are starting to creep in thanks to the years of sunbathing, computer screens and oxidative stress. But the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to reverse some of these effects and slow down the ageing process with the right skincare (as well as lifestyle factors).
HYDRATE WITH HYALURONIC ACID
While we mourn the loss of our glowy summer skin, there are steps you can take to keep your dewy complexion all winter long. As skin aging is associated with loss of moisture, your anti-ageing skincare arsenal should include lots of hyaluronic acid-based products. With central heating, colder climes and dehydration to contend with during the next few months, hyaluronic acid works to keep our skin stable, safeguarded, and renewed. Not only that, one gram of hyaluronic acid has the ability to hold up to six litres of water. I know, mind blown.
PROTECT AGAINST POLLUTION & UV’S
We’ve long known that basking in the sun, however glorious it feels, does our skin no favours. But over the last few years, there has been more research which reveals the damaging effects of pollution on our visage. Just like UVA and UVB, pollution significantly accelerates the ageing process, breaking down elastin and contributing to age spots and wrinkles.
Although most of us slap on the sun cream at the height of summer, don’t pack away that sand-riddled SPF just yet. The sun may be weaker during the winter months, but UVA (the one responsible for ageing) is still very much present and is well equipped to penetrate clouds and glass. So while we may be hibernating on those frosty winter mornings, our skin is still vulnerable to age spots and pigmentation. Snap up a lightweight SPF from the selection below and make sure it’s the last step in your daily skincare regime.
ENCOURAGE CELL TURNOVER
Without sounding dramatic, if there’s one anti-ageing skincare ingredient that will make the biggest difference to your complexion, it’s retinol. This vitamin-A derivative treats everything from fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots to dullness and sagging skin – it actually does it all. By speeding up cell turnover, it increases blood vessel formation and sweeps away the dead cells whilst boosting collagen at the same time leaving skin plump and glowy. Skin looks healthier with a more even tone thanks to its circulation boosting powers and repairing qualities at the deepest level of the skin.
I know what you’re thinking – what’s the catch? But the truth is, there is none! The only side effect is that retinol can be quite drying so make sure you team it with a super hydrating moisturiser. Retinol is available in varying strengths so I would start with a product with 0.03% and build up to a stronger percentage over the coming weeks and months.
GET YOUR ANTIOXIDANTS
Vitamin C isn’t just a must for cold and flu season, it’s also an anti-ageing skincare powerhouse. As one of the few proven anti-ageing skincare ingredients, it’s a tricky ingredient to feel the full effects of as it can be unpleasant on application. But with the right product and brand, it can be a game-changer. By encouraging collagen production, it can improve visible signs of sun damage and scarring, as well as defend skin against free radicals caused by pollution.
TOP TIP: Make sure your vitamin C is in airtight, opaque packaging as light breaks down the acid.
Just like vitamin C, vitamin F is a great antioxidant to add to your anti-ageing skincare collection. Also known as Linoleic Acid, it’s an essential fatty acid rich in Omega-6 which has been proven to help with rosacea, uneven skintone, blemish breakouts and hyperpigmentation – all factors which contribute to the appearance of premature ageing.
TOP TIP: Use as a serum, they tend to have the higher dosage.
EXFOLIATE BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
Like retinol, AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) have made a monumental difference to my skin. As someone who can suffer from rosacea flare-ups, I was nervous about the thought of putting acid on my face (understandably!), but the beauty of AHA’s is that they can be used on all skintones and aren’t nearly as scary as they sound.
Unlike conventional grainy exfoliants, AHA’s unglue the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of the skin causing your skin to natural shed. Although you won’t actually see this, you’ll definitely feel it through a smoother complexion underneath. Not only that, they smooth fine lines, fade scarring and pigmentation and allow other anti-ageing skincare products to penetrate more deeply.
TOP TIP: Don’t over-do AHA’s, they’re powerful and while the results can be addictive, try to keep usage to 1-2 times a week.
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