We might not have access to the Fountain of Youth, but what we do have are innumerable products and treatments containing the same promise. WTM takes a closer look at skin-aging and ways that can actually slow it down.
“You are never too old to become younger!” – Mae West
In the past few decades alone, the market for anti-aging products and services has grown into a giant global industry, the value of which is expected to reach USD191.7 billion by the end of 2019. This figure includes money spent on anti-aging cosmetics, plastic surgery and dermatology, and aspects of traditional medicine, such as anti-aging disease management.
The number of botulinum toxin (BOTOX) treatments has risen up to 700 per cent in the USA alone since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
With increasingly stressful lives which see us battling deadlines, performance ratings, fast food, chronic pollution and sleep deprivation, the aging process seems to be starting earlier and at an accelerated pace. Add to this constant presence on social media and the need to look beautiful, young and celebrity-style glamorous has never been greater.
Yes, market shelves are filled with products that claim to be elixirs of youth, but take a moment to understand what makes some of us look younger, despite our age. Genetics has a major role to play but beyond that a lot lies in your own hands, in terms of how much care you take of yourself to stall fine lines and wrinkles. Yes, the operative word is ‘stall’ because aging is inevitable – It. Will. Happen!
As we grow older the production of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for maintaining skin’s integrity and tone, decreases. Loss of elasticity, decrease or change in colour, fine wrinkling, thinning of layers and increased itchiness are all signs that your skin is aging and taking the rest of your body down (sagginess) with it.
But managing this process with a good skin care regime and healthy lifestyle can work wonders, keeping you looking radiant for years. Here are some essentials you need to remember (and practise) to slow down signs of aging.
1) Wear Sunscreen: Rain or shine, this is one part of your skin-care regime that you absolutely cannot ignore. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection every day, half an hour before you step outside. This is your first line of defence against any sun damage or skin cancer.
2) Quit Smoking: In addition to several other much serious conditions, such as heart disease and lung cancer, the first and most visible adverse effect of smoking is on your skin. When subjected to the toxic concoction of carbon monoxide, cyanide, tar, formaldehyde and other chemicals, our brain diverts vitamins away from your skin to be used elsewhere. Nicotine also reduces blood flow and hence less oxygen gets to the lower living layer of skin, or dermis, leaving your skin dry, flaky and less resilient to external stress.
3) Stay Hydrated: Drinking water gives you a radiant, healthy, younger-looking complexion. Our skin is made up of cells and skin cells, like any other cell in the body, are made up of water. Without water, they will certainly not function properly or at their best. So drink lots of it, cut back on coffee and soda and moisturise regularly.
4) Proper Rest: The expression ‘beauty sleep’ actually has some science behind it. The deepest stages of sleep are when your body produces the most growth hormone, which aids in cell and tissue repair. Sleeping well can make you look younger, decrease fine lines and dark circles and, in some cases, has even helped against conditions like eczema, acne or rosacea.
5) Use a Retinoid: Out of all of the ‘anti-aging’ ingredients available on the market today, retinoids are the only ones scientifically shown to work on a molecular level. Their regular use improves skin texture and reduces dark spots as the compound speeds up skin cell turnover. Most importantly, they not only help to decrease the amount of collagen breakdown from sun exposure by preventing the rise of an enzyme called collagenase, but they also help to stimulate the production of new collagen
6) Eat Right: We are what we eat, and the first organ that reflects any change in diet is the skin. The more balanced your diet, the younger you’ll look. And if you’re not taking a multivitamin, start now. To keep skin happy, eat more oily fish (such as salmon), dark green vegetables (like broccoli and spinach), almonds, and walnuts. Drink lots of antioxidant green tea and stay away from refined sugar and alcohol.
There are also many clinics that specialise in treatments that can rejuvenate your skin with facials and masks and wraps. In addition to the above, regular exercise and keeping your mind relaxed and stress free will go a long way to keeping you looking younger and feeling great.