We don’t know how you feel, but we find that aging is a bit of a female dog (giggles). It’s sneaky, pervasive and it starts showing when you least expect it. Since you don’t really expect it, the shock can be quite brutal. It starts with one tiny wrinkle around your mouth, usually from all that laughter, and in a blink of an eye, you have those sneaky bastards around your eyes, on your forehead, on your neck and so on.
You can never be prepared for this. But it is important to be aware that this is going to happen and try to prevent it as much as possible. After all, we can’t all afford monthly appointments to the botox factory.
Thankfully, with a little bit of discipline and an appropriate skin care routine, you can postpone the aging process. Or you can at least ensure that you will age in a beautiful way. Like Meryl Streep.
This article is part of our “How to prevent...” series. It is dedicated to the ladies that started being aware of the aging process and started either thinking about wrinkles or have already identified them. We will help you find your way through all that internet advice, so that you can build an anti-aging lifestyle and skin care routine adapted to your personality and your lifestyle. We will take you through different ways that you can protect your health and your skin, what to avoid and what to include and we will provide an example of a step by step morning and night skin care routine.
But before we go further, we need to reply to these basic questions:
What are wrinkles and why do wrinkles appear?
Wrinkles are small creases or folds on your skin. If your skin is the canvas, the wrinkles are the strokes of the time painter. They say the story of your life. If you frown a lot, you will have wrinkles between your eyebrows, if you smile, on your cheeks, right next to your mouth and around your eyes.
In order to understand why wrinkles appear, we need to embark in a short anatomy journey. Here we go!
Basically, the skin has 2 big basic layers: the epidermis and the dermis.
The epidermis is the outer, surface layer of your skin.It’s the one that wraps and protects the body from the outer dangerous world. This layer is renewed approximately every 60 days. The cells dry and flake off being replaced by fresh ones from below. The older you grow, the longer it takes for this layer to renew itself.
The dermis is the thick layer of skin right below the epidermis which forms the skin. It is the one that contains the blood vessels, the sweat glands or the hair follicles. It is also the home to collagen and elastic fibres which keep the skin looking firm and smooth. The amount of collagen and elastic fibres start decreasing with time. That’s why our skin starts looking loose and we start getting wrinkles.
Speaking of collagen, this is the protein which gives your skin firmness, elasticity and strength. The collagen production starts decreasing with time. Most of it, happens naturally, just with passage of time. But in many ways, through our lifestyle and habits, we contribute to its decline.
Now that we figured out what’s the deal with wrinkles, we need to find out what is there that we can do to prevent the occurence of wrinkles.
How to prevent skin aging?
The No. 1 anti-aging solution is a healthy lifestyle.
A) What NOT TO DO to prevent skin aging?
It might seem that a cigarette, two, or even a pack a day can’t do much harm. Well, let us break it to you: regular smoking slows down the blood supply to the skin. If a constant blood stream is not ensured, then your skin will start looking dull, dry and will eventually start showing all the junk contained in cigarettes.
Alcohol, on the other hand, dehydrates. Dehydration leads to a dry skin. Dry skin is much more prone to wrinkles.
As much as you’d like to party and as much as you’d enjoy a cigarette once in a while, keep in mind: all these small guilty pleasures will show up on your face some day! Sooner rather than later, actually!
And we bet that on top of going crazy with the occasional cocktails, sprinkled with some smoking, you also like a tan. So do we! It’s the main source of vitamin D. But apart from that, it is also the main cause of aging and wrinkles.
Sunbathing means exposure to UV rays. UV light is particularly bad for the skin as it breaks down the collagen and the elastin fibers that we were talking about during the anatomy journey. When this protective layer is broken, then the skin becomes weak and more prone to lose its flexibility and to occurance of wrinkles.
B) What TO DO to prevent skin aging?
1. Anti-aging food
Beautiful skin starts in fact on the inside. You can spend billions on creams, lotions, spa treatments and what's so. Without a proper diet, there’s no chance we achieve glowing skin. So what we eat, will show on our faces (eventually, also on our butts, but that’s a different topic). A diet full with antioxidants, vitamin C, healthy fats, water and nutrients will be very much appreciated by our biggest organ.
Researchers have discovered that the healthiest and most effective way to combat wrinkles and dull skin is by eating fruits and vegetables. Here’s a list of the most important vitamins to help you glow and in which anti-aging foods you can find them:
- Vitamin C - is the most powerful antioxidant. It stabilizes the collagen structure, it prevents skin’s fragility and it helps in the healing process. Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables, particularly in:
- citrus fruits,
- rose hip,
- Vitamin E - is another type of antioxidant and protects from the damage cause by free radicals. It is available in vegetables, vegetable oils like:
- wheat germ oil,
- sunflower oil,
- B-carotene - these are the vitamin that the skin is rich in. B-carotene is the skin’s natural colorant, the ingredient that keeps us from getting a sunburn. It is basically our natural sunscreen. It can be found specifically in:
- sweet potatoes,
- papayas and
- Retinol is known for counteracting wrinkling and de-pigmentation. However, our body can’t synthesize retinol by itself. That’s why it is important to get it through our diet. Natural retinol can be found in
- egg yolk or
- fatty fish.
- Vitamin D - also known as the sunshine vitamin because it is assimilated through sun exposure, it has potent skin anti-aging effects, especially for women. It is also the most important vitamin for the bone formation. Unlike most vitamins, its sources are quite scarce. The main source is sunshine. Then, it can be obtained through an adequate diet or through supplements. We would advise you to eat the following foods to ensure a healthy intake of vitamin D:
- cod liver oil,
- egg yolks,
- tuna fish, and
- beef liver.
- Coenzyme Q10 - is also a well-known powerful antioxidant compound, found in the first layer of the skin. Primary sources of Coenzyme Q10 include:
- oily fish (such as salmon and tuna),
- organ meats (such as liver) and
- whole grains.
2. Anti-aging exercise
If appropriately applied, exercise seems to be the best way to delay aging and prevent its consequences. A good anti-aging exercise routine focuses on body composition, muscular strength and flexibility. Exercise ensures an adequate blood flow, so much needed for your skin, tonifies muscles and most importantly, if you ask us - increases self esteem and self-confidence. The recent scientific research proves that regular exercise can improve both your state of mind and your physical fitness. Therefore if you want to prevent anti-aging, we recommend to include the following exercises to your routine:
- Walking and power walking
- Arm and legs flexations
3. Hydration, hydration, hydration
It is already scientifically proven that the more water you drink, the healthier your skin looks. In fact, no matter how you eat and what you eat, no matter how much you exercise, if you don’t drink water, you can say goodbye to that dreamy complexion. Water washes out the toxins and improves the levels of moisture in your skin. The cleanse triggered by water helps your skin stay clean and reduces the risk of acne and other imperfections.
The necessary quantity of water is still a subject for discussion in the scientific world. You usually hear about this magical 2 litres of water per day. But it all depends on your size, needs and usual diet. There is not a single person that has the exact same lifestyle as another. Therefore, the water intake should also differ.
In any case, the most important thing to keep in mind is that water is not necessary only for healthy skin. It is necessary to cleanse your body and to ensure a proper balance. Therefore, what we recommend, from our own experience is the following:
- Increase your water intake if you consume caffeine and/or alcohol. These two dehydrate.
- If you eat salty, drink more water
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty! If you’re thirsty, it means that you’re already dehydrated. “I’m never thirsty” is not an excuse to not drink water. Neither is “I’m going to the toilet too often”. There are reasons why you need to go to the toilet. Help your body do the right thing. And drink that water!
- Always carry a bottle of water with you. This way, you make sure you drink an appropriate quantity of water per day.
- Drink a glass of water first thing after you wake up. This way you basically wake up your system and you start the cleansing process after your body was taking a break during the night. For more efficient cleansing we recommend warming it slightly and adding a few drops of lemon juice.
4. Anti-aging skin care routine
First of all, if you’re asking yourself when you should start using an anti-aging skin care routine and lifestyle, the answer, no matter your age, is yesterday. We live in very polluted environment. Cars, dust, debris, bacteria, we encounter every single day, no matter where we go. Furthermore, the sun has become stronger and stronger during the last decade. All these have a negative effect over our skin. They damage, burn, pollute our skin and, without the adequate care, in an irreversible way.
In the sections above we established that beauty comes from the inside and we explored ways to nourish this inner beauty. Now it is time to see how to protect ourselves from nature’s revenge for all the ordeals we have been putting it through and how to nourish our external beauty. Therefore, in the below section we will explore some of the steps that we follow for our own anti-aging skin care routine.
How to build an anti-aging skin care routine?
If we had to pick one product and one product only for protecting our skin generally, but particularly anti-aging, that would be sunscreen.
No matter if sunny or cloudy, summer or winter, sunscreen should never be excluded from your routine. It helps prevent the occurrence of fine lines and wrinkles and most importantly, it prevents the formation of certain skin cancers.
How does it do that? By preventing the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from reaching the skin.
- What is ultraviolet radiation?
Ultraviolet radiation is part of the light from the sun that reaches the earth. You can’t see it, but without sunscreen, you can definitely feel it. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation: the ultraviolet A (UVA) and the ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA is the long ray that can cause lasting damage to the skin, skin aging and skin cancer. It is the one that penetrates deeper into the skin and causes wrinkles and sagging. UVB is the short ray that causes sunburn. We can prevent the damage caused by the UV rays by applying sunscreen daily, with an appropriate sun protection factor (SPF).
- What is SPF?
The sun protection factor is the measure used in order to identify a sunscreen’s power to protect from the UV rays. There are three main types of sunscreens on the market based on the SPF measurement: SPF 15, SPF 30 and SPF 50. These protect you only from the UVB rays. SPF 15 protects you 93%, SPF 30 - 97% and SPF 50 - 98%. If you work outside or you know that you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoor, in order to ensure protection from both types of UV rays, then you have to go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend to use at least SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen, daily.
- How much sunscreen should I use?
To ensure adequate protection, you should apply around 1 oz (approx. 30 ml) for your entire body. As a sunscreen is not effective more than two hours, you should reapply. The reddening sign is not a sign of good tanning, but of sunburn. So don’t let it get to that. It is recommended that for a long day at the beach, you should use around 8 oz of sunscreen (approx. 237 ml). It should be applied immediately after swimming. For long lasting protection, aim for the water-resistant sunscreen (usually effective approx. 40 min after bathing).
As a general rule, sunscreen should be applied at the end of your skincare routine, before applying makeup.
2. Steps for building an anti-aging skin care routine
Any responsible lady, no matter the age, should build a skin care routine. Be it for oily, dry or aging skin, a routine is what will guarantee you a healthy skin. Why routine? Because your skin need predictability. It can’t be exposed to all sorts of experiments all the time.
It is important to apply this routine morning and evening. In the morning, because you need to wipe off the extra oils produced over the night and in the evening, because you need to clean the day off.
For the morning, we prefer micellar water. It gently cleanses the skin without creating any sort of imbalance.In order to already give a boost to your skin cells activity, we recommend going for a cleanser enriched with coenzyme Q10 and apricot kernel oil, as they have anti-aging and smoothening properties.
The toner is a skin balancing water-based solution. For anti-aging properties, we recommend using an aloe vera and/or vitamin C toner. Aloe vera soothes and moisturizes. Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants, which target free radicals and protect the skin in the fight against aging.
After proper cleansing and toning, your face needs moisturizing. We recommend using a product rich in anti-aging ingredients. Apricot kernel oil, hyaluronic acid and oat silk are just a few example of ingredients you should look for. Check out our article on How to use moisturizer for more relevant info.
As we already mentioned above, sunscreen is an absolute must for your skin care routine. A minimum 30 SPF broad spectrum sunscreen cream should be applied after moisturizer and before make-up.
With the risk of repeating ourselves a bit too much, cleansing morning and evening are steps that should not be skipped. We know you had a long day and you’re just too tired to add also this thing to your list. But it is during the night that your skin finally gets a break and can restore. If you leave all the make-up, the dust and the keyboard bacteria on your face, that’s what your skin is going to devour during the night. So clean it properly.
As cleansers are usually oil based, it is important to balance the skin and remove the excess of oils.
This is not recommended for daily routine, as it might generate some imbalances. But every 10 days, especially if you use make-up daily, you should gently exfoliate the skin. This way you unclog the pores and remove the dead cells. For anti-aging effect, we recommend using a product rich in antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients: such as grape seed oil, apple extract, apricot kernel oil.
As you know, we’re very careful with the environment. Therefore, we don’t appreciate microplastics. They pollute our water and create imbalances in the aquatic habitats. That’s why, if you care about the environment just as much as we do, search for scrubs based on pumice stones, walnut stones or apricot stones.
The evening you exfoliate, we advise you also use a mask. Masks are full of powerful ingredients that are absorbed by your skin and provide and extra boost. For anti-aging properties, we recommend aiming for a mask based on dead sea mud, coconut oil and hyaluronic acid.
For your evening routine, we consider serums as fundamental to your skin care routine. Serums are based on concentrated powerful ingredients that can attack your problems in an effective way over the night. For anti-aging results, go for a serum rich in aloe vera, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid.
Because the serum is water based, it is important to lock all that moisture in. That’s where the moisturizer comes in handy. You can either go for a night moisturizer or just use the same moisturizer as the morning one. The serum is potent enough and all you need to do is lock it in. For better results, we recommend allocating a couple of minutes, not more than 3, to massage the moisturizer in. Focus on the most prone to wrinkle areas: forehead, around your mouth and neck. Use gentle movements, don’t press the skin too hard.
- Eye cream
The skin around the eyes is the most sensitive, most vascularized and one of the first areas to get wrinkled. That’s why we recommend including an eye cream or serum to your evening routine. You can use a dedicated eye cream or you can use the same serum as for the rest of the face. Tap gently using your ring finger. It is the finger in which you have the least power.
We hope we managed to help you get an idea on how to prevent aging. It is important to keep in mind that a healthy skin can only be the result of a healthy lifestyle. Generally, avoiding excesses of any nature and ensuring a balanced diet, an active life, together with an adequate skin care routine can help you stay young and healthy for longer.
We hope this will help you protect your skin and will give you the confidence you need in order to glow!
With love for you and for the planet,
Looca Beauty Team