While the ageing process is inevitable, there are things we can do to help our skin and ourselves as we age. This blog explains the causes of ageing skin and natural anti-ageing agents that can improve our skin and lives.
Ageing - What's Happening Beneath the Skin
As people age, their skin undergoes significant changes. The cells divide more slowly, and the inner layer of skin (called the dermis) starts to thin. Fat cells beneath the dermis begin to diminish. In addition, the ability of the skin to repair itself decreases with age.
The network of elastin and collagen fibers that supports the top layers of skin becomes loose and falls apart. The skin then loses its elasticity. The glands that make sweat and oil shrink, reducing the protective water-lipid emulsions and the ability to keep moisture in the skin. As these changes happen, the skin becomes dry and scaly.
What we can't see from within becomes more noticeable from the outside. Frown lines, crow's feet, and wrinkles start to develop because of permanent, small muscle contractions. Habitual facial expressions form distinct lines. At the same time, gravity makes the problem worse by causing jowls and drooping eyelids.
This gradual breakdown is part of the natural ageing process. However, there are external factors that can exacerbate the appearance of your skin and can cause premature ageing.
External Factors that Worsen Ageing Skin
Three of the worst skin-damaging culprits include sun exposure, free radicals, and cigarettes. These not only worsen the effects of ageing skin, but can impact your overall wellbeing.
How Sun Damage Causes Wrinkles
Sunlight damages collagen fibers (the major structural protein in the skin) and causes the accumulation of abnormal elastin (the protein that causes tissue to stretch). In response to this sun-induced elastin accumulation, large amounts of enzymes called metalloproteinases are produced. The normal function of these metalloproteinases is generally positive, remodeling the sun-injured tissue by manufacturing and reforming collagen. However, this is an imperfect process since sunlight-induced metalloproteinases also degrade collagen. The result is an uneven formation of disorganized collagen fibers called solar scars. The repetition of this imperfect skin-rebuilding process causes wrinkles.
How Cigarettes Worsen the Ageing Process
Cigarette smoking generates free radicals, which have been linked to the acceleration of wrinkles and aging skin disorders, as well as an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Studies also suggest that smoking produces higher levels of collagen-degrading metalloproteinases. Smoking also drastically lowers the amount of vitamin C in your body, which is needed to make structural collagen.
Free Radicals Cause Skin to Age Prematurely
Free radicals are another major contributor to prematurely ageing skin, and these come from toxins in our foods, air pollution, traffic pollution, and other nasty toxins. The best way to combat free radicals is to eat a diet rich in antioxidants. Using natural skin care products with powerful antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E is also an excellent way to protect your skin.
Natural Anti-wrinkle Agents
What ingredients should we look for to protect our skin from wrinkles and premature ageing? Look for these natural ingredients in any anti-ageing skincare products.
- Vitamin A - Vitamin A promotes epithelialization, meaning skin cells are regenerated rapidly, and new skin cells replace damaged old skin cells.
- Pullulan - Pullulan (SkinTight AP) stimulates collagen synthesis and tightens skin.
- Coenzyme Q10 - Coenzyme Q10 is involved in energy production, meaning your whole body functions optimally. It also stimulates collagen synthesis and is a powerful antioxidant.
- Ceramide-3 - Ceramide-3 (Lacto-Ceramide) replenishes skin ceramides.
- Metalloproteinase Inhibitor (Collagen Protector) - Metalloproteinase Inhibitor (Collagen Protector). As the name suggests, it protects collagen and prevents it from degradation.
- Hyaluronic Acid - Hyaluronic acid deeply moisturizes skin, helping your skin lock in crucial water to keep it looking firm and plump.
- Hydroxyproline Acid, Palmitic Acid (SkinLift DPHP), and Tripeptide-5 - These beauties stimulate collagen synthesis, helping skin stay firm and smooth.
- Argireline and Pentapeptide-3 (Vialox) - Argireline and pentapeptide-3 relax skin muscle nerves, meaning fewer wrinkles are created by repeated facial expressions!
- Soy Peptides & Yeast Enzymes - Soy peptides and yeast enzymes improve skin microcirculation, and increased circulation to the skin means more nutrients get carried to the area (such as antioxidants to fight free radicals!).
Practice a Natural Anti-Ageing Lifestyle
In addition to these key, all-natural ingredients that should be part of natural skincare products, eating anti-ageing foods, including a diet rich in colourful vegetables, will provide you with antioxidants. Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil (cold-pressed extra virgin), eggs, salmon, raw nuts, and seeds keep skin plump and youthful. Eating a 'clean' diet (free from highly refined carbohydrates and sugars) benefits your skin because these ingredients damage it and cause inflammation.
Remember to practice an anti-aging lifestyle and a natural skin care routineby looking after your skin and staying balanced! Drink plenty of water, exercise daily, laugh, smile, practice mindfulness, and eat well—the keys to natural anti-aging!