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What is Aging?
Aging is a natural process that occurs over time. After a certain point, your body starts to decline. A slower metabolism coupled with muscle and bone weakness are just a few signs of aging. Similarly, your skin can also lose strength and elasticity.
Granted, in an ideal world, aging skin should be celebrated as a testament to a life well lived. After all, those laugh lines on your face are a reminder of all the joys you’ve experienced. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take excellent care of your skin so you can age as gracefully as possible. Think of rocking those more mature years with subtle crows feet instead of deep ravines!
While aging is a natural process that cannot be halted, there are some things that may speed up the effects of aging of the skin and some that may help delay the onset of visible signs of aging.
How Does Skin Age?
As you age, your skin begins to decrease the production of collagen by about 1% every year starting in your mid 20s. Collagen is a building block of the skin, a protein much like glue, that’s designed to hold the skin together and provide strength and structure. With the loss of this fundamental component, dermal tissues start to lose their strength, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.
Hyaluronic acid is another natural compound of the skin that declines with age, binding with and retaining less water, which means your skin can become dehydrated. Dehydrated skin looks dull and dry, with none of the youthful glow you once enjoyed. Dry skin is also weak and can be easily damaged, resulting in bruising and sometimes bleeding under the skin, as well as other issues.
Since there is a decrease in collagen and hyaluronic acid, your skin’s cell turnover gradually decreases as well. This makes it difficult to heal any damage to the skin, be it wrinkles or blemishes. That’s why it’s important to encourage healthy cell turnover in your skincare routine.
Going deeper, in your 20’s your skin’s lipid barrier also begins to decrease. Lipids are part of what locks moisture in almost like a seal. When they decrease, the water loss means your skin’s structure can suffer, resulting in skin that’s loose and sagging. You may also notice a loss of volume that gives your cheeks and temples a hollow look and that makes wrinkles more visible.
Effects of Aging On the Skin
How the signs of aging show up on your skin is influenced by many factors like genetics, lifestyle, environment, and even underlying health conditions. However, there are a handful of signs that almost everyone experiences sooner or later.
The first and most commonly visible sign of aging is wrinkles. Wrinkles around the eyes are often called laugh lines or crow’s feet. Wrinkles around the mouth are also often laugh lines. Wrinkles typically start as fine lines and then become permanent wrinkles over time. Another common wrinkle spot is the forehead, either vertical lines between the brow or horizontal lines above the brow.
Due to the loss of collagen and elastin, your skin can start to lose shape and become loose and saggy with time. This is most commonly visible in the delicate neck and facial skin, although all skin may be prone to sagging. Sagging skin is what often gives the appearance of hollowed cheeks.
With aging, as your skin gradually loses the ability to create or hold a high hyaluronic content, along with reduced sebum production, it results in dry and/or rough skin.
Given these characteristics, mature skin may be thin and dull, may have spots due to UV exposure, and may sport wrinkles and fine lines.
Best Skincare Ingredients for Anti-Aging Benefits and Mature Skin
Now that you know what the skin begins to lack as you age, you can identify the best skincare ingredients that help counter these issues.
Considered a potent antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect skin from oxidative stress by fighting off damage caused by free radicals. It is a strong ingredient and may cause a mild burning sensation at the start of use. For best results, start with a concentration of 8% vitamin C serum and gradually go up as your skin builds tolerance. Note that vitamin C can make your skin vulnerable to UV exposure and damage, so don’t skip your sunscreen while using it.
Retinol (Vitamin A)
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. It is most commonly used topically and increases skin renewal, clears hyperpigmentation and dark spots, helps increase collagen production, and brightens the skin. It also minimizes sun damage, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Retinol should safely be used after consultation with a dermatologist, especially during pregnancy.
Antioxidants are substances that protect from oxidation, mostly caused by free radicals. This environmental and biological oxidative stress can cause wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Commonly used antioxidants are green tea, alpha lipoic acid, acai oil, Q10, caffeine, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, and niacinamide.
Considered a powerful antioxidant developed from vitamin B3, it’s also called Niacin. Niacin may help balance the skin and sebum production, improve water retention, and help with skin elasticity.
These are a group of acids with similar characteristics like removing dead skin cells through chemical exfoliation, increasing cell turnover, and stimulating the growth of new skin cells. Common hydroxy acids are glycolic acid, lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, and citric acid.
Each hyaluronic acid molecule holds 1,000 times its weight in water, and works great for drenching the skin with hydration. Its topical application may help not just replenish hyaluronic acid content in the skin, but may also help boost production.
These aren’t the strongest of the bunch, but there are a few essential oils that may prove helpful in keeping mature skin looking young.
Best Skincare Routine for Mature Skin
Every skincare routine is different. You can use the below recommendations of skincare products as a baseline and customize your mature skincare routine so it works perfectly for you.
Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Choose a gentle cleanser or cleansing balm that doesn’t strip away natural oils. For added benefit, opt for a hydrating cleanser that cleans and hydrates the skin at the same time.
Exfoliation is a key step in skincare. It clears away dead skin cells that accumulate in your pores, which may allow your products to better absorb and be more effective. However, harsh scrubs can cause micro-tears in the skin. Try to choose a gentle option or opt for a chemical exfoliant like AHA or BHA, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid. Also don’t go overboard. Once or twice a week should be fine.
Toners are designed to help balance PH levels in your skin. Toners are available in a variety of options, from hydrating toners to brightening toners. Be sure to look for one that suits your skin type. A soothing toner may be ideal for mature skin, since it can help fight inflammation.
Serums are a concentrated form of specially selected ingredients. Serum molecules are small in size, making them easier to absorb into the skin. Vitamin C, retinol, and hyaluronic acid are very effective in serum form. You can also try oil-based serums that include rose oil, rosehip seed oil, raspberry seed oil, or jojoba oil for added pampering.
After serums and oils, you need a moisturizer to lock all the goodness inside. Opt for a moisturizer designed for mature skin, with anti-aging ingredients such as Vitamin E and Hyaluronic Acid.
Anti-Aging Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, making it vulnerable to damage. It’s also where wrinkles and fine lines often first appear. Look for an anti-aging eye-cream that is rich in antioxidants such as caffeine and retinol to combat dark circles.
Broad Spectrum SPF / Sunscreen
Finally, no skincare routine worth its salt is complete without sunscreen. For best results, look for one with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 30.
As a bonus option, you can apply a mask twice a week. Your mask can be homemade or store-bought. Either way, they are an excellent way of enriching the skin quickly and are a great self care ritual. Opt for masks with anti-aging properties suitable for your skin type.
Skincare for mature skin will be unique to your particular needs and skin type. The important thing is to develop a skincare routine you will maintain consistently to see the best results. Sometimes simpler is better!