Stop Premature Aging
It’s impossible to avoid the process of aging – but there are many proactive anti-aging strategies you can do to slow down the process (and even turn back the aging clock).
From lifestyle choices to products, treatments and best practices, here are three essential anti-aging strategies you should embrace to keep your skin looking younger longer.
Strategy #1: Prevent Discoloration
Preventing discoloration means limiting the production of pigment that leads to age spots, brown spots or melasma.
Discoloration most often begins with exposure to the sun, but inflammation and hormonal changes/imbalance can also lead to discoloration. When these conditions are present they signal the skin to protect itself by producing more melanin (pigment) which forms in groups, creating dark spots and patches.
These bundles of pigment come from the deeper layers of skin (the dermis) and work their way to the surface (the epidermis). The pigmentation becomes permanent with repeated exposure to sun, inflammation or hormonal imbalance.
Clearly, the best way to prevent discoloration is to use a broad spectrum sunscreen any time you go outside. But if your discoloration is from other factors, or if you already have patches of pigmented skin, there are a number of ways to fade and treat them, depending on the severity and depth of the pigmentation. Here are three options:
Option 1 – Lighteners and Brighteners: There are plenty of products designed to lighten pigmentation. Hydroquinone is the gold standard but it should not be used for extended periods. Products containing alternative brighteners like kojic acid and vitamin C are safer and can be effective. Learn more about Skin Lightening Alternatives and choose a product that’s right for you.
Lighteners and brightening treatments work best when the skin is regularly exfoliated for maximum penetration.
Option 2 – Chemical Peels: Chemical peels have long been used by skincare professionals to resurface damaged skin, even out skin tone and texture, rejuvenate and tighten aging skin and more. Chemical peels effectively break up the top layers of skin to remove surface discoloration. There are many different types of chemical peels as well as some ‘designer’ peels that deliver great results. Learn more about what chemical peel is best for your skin type in our article on Chemical Peels.
Option 3 – Laser Treatment: When topical products and chemical peels don’t work, laser could be the answer. However, laser treatments can be tricky, especially if you have a darker skin type. That’s because, in some skin types, laser can stimulate and promote even more pigmentation. Before agreeing to laser treatment for pigmented skin, make sure to consult your Dermatologist.
Learn more about skin lightening treatments and options in the articles below:
- Uneven Skin Tone
- Remove Dark Spots Naturally
- Fraxel Laser Resurfacing
- Seeing Spots? What are Dark Spots on the Skin?
- Photo Facial – For Clearer, Brighter, More Radiant Skin
Strategy #2: Protect, Build and Restore Collagen
Collagen is the key to youthful skin. It supports the underlying structure of the skin that gives it that firm, full and supple texture. As we age, collagen levels deplete and production of new collagen diminishes.
Collagen not only breaks down with age, damage from exposure to the sun, free radicals from environmental sources like smoke, pollution, even hormonal changes all destroy collagen. These damaging factors can cause tiny tears in the collagen fibers which slowly breaks down the proteins that makes up collagen.
Unless you employ strategies to stimulate and replace damaged or lost collagen, the skin will eventually sag and look crepey. It will be less elastic and become filled with lines and wrinkles.
There are ways to protect the skin against the loss of collagen and to promote the production of new collagen. Here are four ways you can do that:
Diet: First, minimize your intake of simple carbs – these turn to sugar in the body which binds to the skin’s protein, and that destroys collagen. Second, consume more omega-3-rich foods to reduce inflammation. Finally, increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods and supplements to help fight free radicals. To find out what foods are best for your skin, read more about Foods for Healthy Skin.
Products: Look for products that help boost the production of collagen. Prescription grade retinoids have proven results for stimulating the production of collagen. Other ingredients like vitamin C, peptides, growth factors, and amino acids all help strengthen and improve collagen. Find out what’s in your anti-aging skincare product and what ingredients to look for.
Injectables: Injectables are effective at filling out fine lines and some deeper wrinkles and some will even stimulate the production of new collagen. Collagen injectables (which used to be the gold standard) will temporarily fill and lift fine lines and wrinkles but it will not simulate the production of more collagen. Other injectables like Radiesse® and Sculptra Aesthetic® are different. Not only do these injectables fill the lines and support the skin, they stimulate the production of new collagen. No injectable filler is permanent, most last anywhere from 6-12 months – results vary and differ from person to person.
Laser: Most laser treatments will stimulate the production of collagen to a certain degree. That’s because the skin reacts to the laser as though it were wounded, setting in motion a healing process that includes an increase in collagen production. Learn more about laser rejuvenation and see if it’s right for you.
Strategy #3: Stop Cellular Damage
Our skin cells are sensitive to almost everything – the food we eat, the environment, creams and lotions we put on the skin, even stress and anxiety. These all lead in one way or another to cellular damage that, at best, results in premature aging, and at worst, results in skin cancer and other skin diseases and disorders.
You can protect your cells from the ravages of free radicals that come from our food, environment and life style choices by making smarter choices.
We have already discussed the importance of a healthy diet. You really are what you eat and you can prevent, even reverse, cellular damage with a diet designed to support skin health and prevent premature aging. This includes a steady intake of foods rich in antioxidants like dark fruits and vegetables, green teas and powerhouse herbs like turmeric and cinnamon. Remember to keep carbohydrates and sugars to a minimum.
Last, but not least, is the daily use of sunscreen. We know that sunscreen blocks harmful rays and prevents damaging sunburn. But sunscreen unwittingly plays a larger role in skin health than that. We touched on it briefly as a way to prevent discoloration – but the proper use of sunscreen is an important anti-aging strategy and is the first line of defense against cellular damage and mutation.
Do not underestimate the role of sunscreen as a way to prevent cellular damage.
A broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF30 or more should be worn any time you go outdoors. Only broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. While you may have heard it before, we cannot overstate the importance of sunscreen in our world today. Learn more about how to properly choose, apply and store sunscreen for maximum cellular protection and a strategy for keeping your skin looking younger longer.
- Delaying the Signs of Aging
- Micro-Current Skin Rejuvenation
- Professional Treatment of Sun Damaged Skin
- Sunscreen: New Guidelines this Summer