As we age, our skin, just like other parts of our bodies, inevitably changes. The signs of aging start to become obvious in our 40s and 50s, and by the time we hit 60, they are impossible to miss. Just like our joints, our skin has a rough time of it as our body stops producing the level of collagen that it made during our youth. Skin and cartilage become less elastic and resilient.
For some, aging means wrinkling or sagging skin, including bags around the eyes. For many, it also includes discoloration, age spots (thanks to damage from the sun and stress, among other things), and a few deep creases. While there is no way to avoid signs of aging completely, there are a few steps you can take to slow down the aging process and keep your skin looking younger and healthier.
Eat a diet rich in antioxidants.
All that sun exposure that you’ve been getting since your childhood is now catching up with you. The antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and flavonoids, that you get from fruits and vegetables can help repair the free radical damage caused by things like ultraviolet rays, alcohol consumption, stress, or infection. It is important, however, to keep your body in balance by getting these nutrients through food sources rather than supplements. Your immune system does need a low level of free-radicals in order to operate successfully, and supplements can easily overwhelm your system with too many antioxidants, which is dangerous and unhealthy for your body in its own way.
The healthy fats you should be eating are omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3s can help improve your skin’s moisture and elasticity, keeping it looking younger, as well as reducing inflammation and protecting against sun damage. Plus, Omega-3s are great for the health of your brain as well. So, while you’re protecting your skin, you’re also keeping your mind in good shape.
Use sunscreen every day.
Sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. If you are in the sun for extended periods of time, wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, ears, and neck. Wear protective clothing, including sunglasses, and apply sunscreen regularly. In order to keep your skin well hydrated, try to avoid sunscreens with ingredients like alcohol.
Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.
Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to counteract skin aging in your 40s and beyond. It helps flush toxins out of your system, which can reduce puffiness and bags under your eyes. Not only that but drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin hydrated, which makes it healthier. Getting enough sleep is also important because so much of your body’s repair happens while you are sleeping. When you are well rested, your body will be more efficient at fighting off free radicals and keeping itself healthy. It will also be better able to produce collagen, which keeps your skin looking plump and firm.
Stay active through moderate exercise.
It's never too late to start exercising. Exercise helps keep the skin supple and firm and increases blood flow, which can keep skin looking younger. Exercise also helps you sleep better, which is important for your skin. When you're well-rested, your body can repair itself. Keep in mind that you don’t want to rocket from zero to sixty when introducing exercise to your routine. Start with gentle but consistent exercise and build up so you don’t risk injury.
Craft a skincare routine that focuses on hydration.
Keeping the skin hydrated is the key to keeping it younger, smoother, and more elastic. Scrap all your harsh cleansers and skincare product, anything that leaves your skin feeling taught, dry, and stripped. Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA), are popular ingredients in exfoliating skincare products. They help strip away the top layer of your skin to force your skin to generate new, and sometimes more evenly toned skin. However, they are very tough on your skin when used on a regular basis. Even though it is an antioxidant, vitamin C as l-ascorbic acid, is also overly harsh for those who want to protect their skin from aging.
We recommend a routine built around oil-based cleansers, an alcohol-free toner, essential-oil rich serums and natural moisturizers. Essential oils pack a lot of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and nutrient generating capacity without the harshness of manufactured chemicals. Natural, oil-based skincare will clean and nourish your skin without ever drying it, stripping it, or irritating it. Plus, they work well with your skin’s natural pH factor and absorb easily into your skin, bringing all those benefits into the deeper layers of your skin. Using natural, botanical products instead of conventional ones is kind of like choosing to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet, instead of relying on supplements.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Greene