While we would all love to stop the clock and avoid yet another wrinkle, there are limits to body and science and as we age it’s only natural to experience drier, thinner skin and other signs of ageing like the loss of elasticity. Here are some simple steps to stop those years from showing on your skin.
As we get older, we lose the healthy fat and collagen that is in our skin and this can cause our skin to sag and wrinkles to start to form. One visual example is to slowly glint the air out of a balloon and watch as the whole balloon begins to sag. That’s exactly what happens to your skin as you age, it starts to sag and fine lines become more apparent.
Our lifestyle choices such as late nights and drinking alcohol, as well as environmental factors can also play a part in accelerating the ageing process. Expensive anti-ageing skin products can definitely help but they are, well, expensive, and can only do so much to slow down the signs of ageing.
Although there is no way to absolutely stop your skin from ageing, there are some easy and affordable habits that you can adopt to prevent that next wrinkle from showing, if only for another day. Here are our top 5:
01 Supplementing Collagen
If premature signs of ageing are caused by the loss of collagen then logically, supplementing your skin with collagen to prevent premature signs of ageing makes perfect sense! For centuries, women in China have regarded collagen as the miracle antidote for ageing where many routinely consume collagen-rich foods such as pig’s feet, shark’s fin and even donkey skin *cringe* in hopes of smoothing withered skin and preserving ageing joints.
Collagen makes up about 75% of the dry weight of our skin and provides the volume that keeps our skin looking plump and fine lines and wrinkles at bay. Consuming collagen supplements or using skincare products with collagen can help to support the skin's cellular renewal process and promote healthy, glowing skin and a firm complexion.
"Collagen is what keeps our skin from sagging, giving us that plump, youthful look," says Dr Ohara Aivaz, a Board-Certified Cosmetic & Medical Dermatologist who has her own skincare business. "Ultraviolet light from the sun breaks down collagen, so it's important to wear sunscreen daily."
Collagen is an essential protein that plays an important role in the proper functioning of our body and also promotes hair, skin and even nail health. But our body’s ability to produce collagen deplete with age, which is why supplementing your body with collagen is a good idea. Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian start their day with a hot collagen beverage in the morning and use retinol cream to help boost collagen production.
Here’s a quick tip, always wear sunscreen. Sun exposure is unavoidable but UV rays can cause collagen in your skin to break down and is one of the leading causes of premature wrinkling. It can also accelerate melanin production that is the root cause of pigmentation, you know, those dreaded age spots.
02 Take Care Of Your Gut
The gut and skin enjoy a constant dialogue via what has become known as the gut-skin axis. Yes, that’s a thing. They are interlinked and if you experience issues with your gut like inflammation or digestive problems, the skin is usually the first place that gets affected. Choosing to eat healthy doesn’t cost you more and can have a huge impact on your skin health.
More and more studies in recent years have linked a healthy gut to healthy youthful skin. Researchers have found a strong correlation between gut health and skin issues such as eczema, acne and rosacea. Hence, the skin is often a great barometer for what's going on inside your gut. So avoid sugary and highly processed foods as they tend to mess with your gut.
If you feel that your gut has been out of whack off late and it has been showing on your skin, consuming probiotics or prebiotics is one of the best ways to restore balance to your digestive system. A well balanced digestive system goes a long way in promoting overall health and well being and this shows on your skin too.
If taking probiotic or prebiotic supplements is burning a hole in your pocket you can still get a healthy does in your diet by opting for more fermented foods such as yoghurt, kombucha, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and sourdough bread. These foods naturally contain probiotics or have probiotics added to them and incorporating these foods into your diet will put you right on track!
03 Apply Skincare Products Immediately After Cleansing
A good skincare routine doesn’t begin with the products you use but good skincare habits that you adopt regularly. Afterall, prevention is better than cure and all the expensive products in the world will not reverse the damage caused by poor skincare habits. One important skincare rule to note is always apply your skincare products immediately after cleansing.
No matter how gentle or pH balanced your cleanser is, cleansing can strip or damage your skin’s protective barrier as part of the cleansing process. This is why it is important to slap on your products within a minute of cleansing as leaving your skin bare any longer will cause it to dehydrate as the drier air attracts moisture from the skin.
Applying your skincare products immediately after cleansing helps to moisten your skin, replenish nutrients and prevent further moisture loss. Another good habit is to never wash your face with hot water as it also causes your skin to dehydrate. Preventing moisture loss after cleansing is much more effective in maintaining good skin than trying to moisturise after it's been dehydrated.
04 Facial Massage Routine
A skincare practice that dates back many, many years and has roots in France, China, Sweden, and Mexico, with each culture playing an important role in shaping what we know as facial massages today. A quick swipe through the Instagram feed of any esthetician or facialist will show professional hands moving rapidly, tapping, rolling, flicking, and rolling again, often with massage instruments like jade rollers and gua sha tools that further enhance the experience.
Facial massages can lessen the tension and increase blood circulation, which helps to keep the skin healthy. Facial massaging also targets the lymph nodes underneath the ears and on the neck and drains the toxins built up underneath the skin that can cause dull skin and other skin issues. By relaxing the muscles, it can also prevent those sub-concious furrows that eventually lead to frown lines.
The increased circulation brought about by facial massages also help bring oxygen and other important nutrients to the skin. It also stimulates collagen production which we have discussed previously and it is also a great way to relax your mind, feel pampered and loved. So if you’re not already, consider incorporating this self-love exercise into your daily skincare routine.
05 Eat Food Rich In Antioxidants
When looking at skincare products or discussing skin problems and premature ageing, one term that often pops up is “antioxidant”. Antioxidants are mostly found in botanical ingredients and are natural or man-made molecules that have the ability to neutralise free radicals that can cause cell damage in the skin and body.
The damage caused by free radicals in our surroundings such as environmental pollutants and UV exposure, can accelerate signs of ageing. So unless you live in a controlled bubble, you can’t avoid exposure to free radicals and that is why antioxidants are crucial in fighting signs of ageing by neutralising damaging free radicals, moderating the inflammatory response and preventing collagen loss.
Many people take supplements in order to get their daily dose of antioxidants but you can get a healthy dose of antioxidants naturally (and affordably) by eating right. Vegetables, especially those with deeper hues, and fruits should be an essential part of your daily diet to naturally get your daily dose of antioxidants.
About the writer
Rachel spent five ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey. Rachel writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her Maine Coon.