What Causes Skin to Age and How to Prevent It?
Skin goes through a number of changes throughout life and over time it is natural for skin to become rougher, thinner, less elastic and more fragile. These changes are normal and caused by both genetic factors and environmental stressors we face every day.
Fine lines and wrinkles are often the first signs of skin ageing and can occur by the age of 30. This may start with laughter lines and crows feet, followed by forehead wrinkles. Further ageing will make these lines more prominent.
Another sign of ageing that happens later is volume loss caused by fat loss under the skin. This results in a sagging of the skin as well as flattening of the cheeks.
Reduction in elasticity is common above the age of 50 but, as with wrinkles, can occur sooner or later and is caused by a decreased production of collagen and elastin. Skin will also become dry because sebaceous glands produce less oil.
What Causes Ageing?
UV radiation - UV radiation is the primary external cause of skin ageing and damage, with it being the main factor causing skin cancer.
Your skin is exposed to UV rays in the sun. When exposed to these rays the bonds between your DNA can break. From just one day of exposure to the sun, this can happen up to 100,000 times in each skin cell. This can lead to mutations which can cause problems when the cells are replicated and even cancer. Over time this will reduce the elastin and collagen in your skin as well as the cell turnover rate (the speed at which new skin cells replace old ones). This causes rough skin as well as wrinkles and sagging.
Pollution - pollution can prematurely age skin, especially in those that live in cities where toxic engine fumes are everywhere. Tiny particles in car fumes such as Nitrogen Oxides (NOs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been shown to increase age spots and wrinkles. Age spots on the cheeks can increase by as much as 25% with just a small increase in pollution compared to less densely populated areas.
Smoking and nutrition can also affect the skin.
There are many internal factors that influence how skin ages including changes in hormones, the blood supply to the skin and genetics. Lighter skin contains less melanin so it is less protected from UV rays and so is more susceptible to sun damage which can cause signs of ageing.
What ingredients should you look for in anti-ageing skincare?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that can not only reverse the signs of ageing but can also work as a preventative measure which makes it the most effective anti-ageing ingredient available. It works by increasing the speed at which cells on the surface of the skin are replaced by new cells. Retinol also increases the production of collagen which reduces fine lines and wrinkles, as well as stimulating the production of new blood vessels in the skin which improves skin colour.
As with most skincare ingredients, it takes a while for effects to become apparent and best results take between 6 months and a year.
Vitamin C and E
Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants available making it an effective way to reduce the signs of ageing. One of the ways vitamin C works to fight ageing is by promoting the formation of collagen to keep your skin firm and reduce wrinkles. As an antioxidant vitamin C protects against free radicals (particle all around us that cause damage to the skin). This will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin E can reduce hyperpigmentation and, like vitamin C, works as an antioxidant which can reduce wrinkles
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule naturally created by our body and can be found in our skin. Hyaluronic acid works as a humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the surroundings to the skin, boosting the hydration of the skin. This ability is very important when it comes to skin ageing. Ageing skin has a reduced ability to hold on to water which can result in a loss of firmness and decreased plumpness, causing wrinkles.
Within just a few weeks hyaluronic acid can reduce the depth of wrinkles as well as making skin more firm and elastic and reducing roughness.
Sun protection may be the most important part of an anti-ageing skincare routine because it protects the skin from UV rays. These rays cause the most damage to our skin which causes signs of ageing. Sun protection should be used year-round because even when the sky is cloudy UV rays can still reach your skin. Research has shown that even if your skin already has signs of ageing, using sun protection can reduce every sign of ageing.
What products do we recommend?
The First Signs of Ageing:
The Avene Cleansing Foam gently cleanses and removes dirt from the face and eyes. Glutamic acid helps to mattify the skin by rebalancing sebum production. Moisturising agents restore the skin's suppleness. Its gentle, soap-free cleansing base eliminates impurities and excess sebum while tightening the pores.
The La Roche Posay Pure Vitamin C10 contains 10% pure vitamin C which can help boost collagen to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also prevents free radicals from damaging your skin. This serum also contains hyaluronic acid to plump and moisturise your skin. Pure Vitamin C10 has been tested on sensitive skin to ensure it does not cause any irritation.
La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 - £38
The La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 contains hyaluronic acid as well as vitamin B%. It has two forms of hyaluronic acid allowing it to work both on the surface of the skin and deep inside the skin. This will help plump the skin and increase the skin's volume to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Vitamin B5 helps improve the skin's natural repairing process and helps stimulate repair of damaged skin.
For Mature Skin:
Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector - £28
The Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector contains 15% pure Vitamin C which will leave your skin looking brighter as well as reducing lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production. The formula also contains vitamin E, another antioxidant, that can help reduce hyperpigmentation, and hyaluronic acid to plump the skin. this should be used in the morning after washing the skin.
Vichy Liftactiv Collagen Specialist Day Cream - £35
This cream targets specific signs of ageing caused by collagen loss. Vichy claims it is inspired by a new generation of aesthetic procedures and contains biopeptides and vitamin C to lift fine lines and even skin tone. Use in the morning after washing face or after applying a serum.
Vichy Liftactive Serum 10 Supreme - £35
The Liftactive Serum 10 Supreme contains 10% features Rhamnose, a naturally derived plant sugar clinically proven to improve skin rejuvenation at the source; improving collagen production, elastin production and cellular turnover. It also contains both Hyaluronic Acid and fragmented Hyaluronic Acid to penetrate deep into the skin as well as provide moisture to the surface of the skin. Use at night after washing face.
La Roche Posay Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Treatment - £32
Unlike most retinol products on the market which can cause irritation to the skin, the La Roche Posay Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Treatment has been designed to work for sensitive skin and so shouldn't cause irritation. This formula contains 0.3% retinol which will reduce the appearance of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. Use at night after washing face or after applying a serum.