In my daily job, I’m often asked by people: “What’s your best anti-ageing recommendation?” or “What are your best anti-ageing products?”
Of course, the focus here at Naturally Safe Cosmetics is on natural and organic, that is, products formulated with natural, organic and non-toxic ingredients. But once that criteria has been satisfied, the next requirement is performance and, when it comes to skin care, premature ageing is a big concern for many of us.
Of course, we cannot prevent our bodies’ natural ageing process. With the passage of time, our skin will change. Elastin & collagen fibres – which give our skin its strength, elasticity and suppleness – are diminished, causing wrinkles. Also, the fat layer just below the surface of our skin thins out, causing it to sag. While all of this is perfectly normal, skin ageing – and premature ageing, in particular – can be affected by external factors like diet, tobacco, illness and stress. And, in this article, we’re going to focus on the premature ageing of skin.
So, with all of this in mind, here are our top 5 tips for the prevention of premature skin ageing:
Number 5 – ENJOY A HEALTHY DIET:
How we treat our bodies on the inside can have an impact on how they look on the outside, especially in terms of the appearance of our skin. For optimal skin health, we need to consume a varied, well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (skin-strengthening) – e.g. sardines, salmon, walnuts & chia seeds
- Vitamin C (collagen-boosting) – e.g. broccoli, kale, strawberries, citrus fruits & kiwi fruit
- Vitamin E, Lycopene & Green Tea (antioxidant rich) – e.g. nuts, seeds & vegetable oils for Vitamin E; tomatoes, watermelon & goji berries for Lycopene; and, of course, Green Tea for Green Tea
Number 4 – DO NOT SMOKE:
We should all know this already but, in addition to other risk factors like lung cancer and heart disease, smoking can leave you with more facial wrinkles but also skin damage on other parts of your body. Apparently, the nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin, impairing blood flow to your skin, so your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen and misses out on important nutrients. Not only that, but many of the 4000+ chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin. And then there’s those facial wrinkles that develop around the mouth from pursing your lips when inhaling and around your eyes from squinting which smokers often seem to do.
Number 3 – STRESS LESS:
When we are stressed, it often shows on our face. We might frown, squint or purse our lips. According to the Australasian College of Dermatologists, repetitive facial movements can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. When we use our facial muscles, grooves are formed beneath the surface of the skin and we see lines form on our face. As our skin loses its elasticity, it stops bouncing back and the grooves become permanently etched on our faces in the form of lines and wrinkles. Of course, this can happen with excessive smiling too but we don’t recommend you stop smiling. In fact, we think lines caused by smiling too much are very endearing. So, don’t let your face show signs of stress but definitely smile all you like – because it makes you feel good and a smiling person with wrinkles will always be more attractive than a frowning one with wrinkles.
Number 2 – SLEEP LIKE A BABY:
While we are spoiled for choice when it comes to anti-ageing skin care products, there’s one very important and effective skin care treatment available to everyone and it’s completely free. It’s called sleep. We’ve all heard the saying “sleep like a baby” which, of course, means to sleep deeply and soundly. One of the best things you can do for your skin in terms of anti-ageing benefits is to get a good night’s sleep. When you’re asleep, your body undergoes various restoration processes to allow it to naturally repair itself and this includes your skin. Studies have shown that poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin ageing and weaken your skin’s ability to repair itself at night.
Number 1 – SPF ALL THE WAY
Our number one tip for the prevention of premature ageing is SPF. That’s right – sun protection! Hydration through nourishing skin care products is vital for keeping your skin from drying out and showing its age before its time. Moisturisers and specialty serums, eye creams and lotions, can all help diminish the appearance of fine lines but it’s not enough. Your skin needs to be defended against the damaging effects of UV rays. Health authorities are in agreement on this point:
- The American Academy of Dermatology has stated that “Ultraviolet radiation from the sun (and indoor tanning beds) not only can increase your risk of skin cancer but also can contribute to skin ageing.” (By the way, if you're still using indoor tanning beds, stop - just stop!)
- A report by the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information found that sun exposure is responsible for 80% of visible facial ageing signs. Other reports put this figure as high as 90%.
- And, according to betterhealth.vic.gov.au, “Sun exposure is the most common cause of skin damage and wrinkling. Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight causes changes to the skin. In addition to fine lines and wrinkles, UV damage causes brown spots and pigment irregularity, as well as broken capillaries and red blotches. All of these changes make the skin look older. ”
What if you work indoors? Even if you don’t spend a lot of time out of doors, you can still experience incidental sun exposure throughout your daily life: walking to work or the bus stop or train station or during your lunch break. Apparently, even office workers who happen to sit near windows (tinted or not) can be exposed to UV light.
And don’t rely solely on your SPF makeup to protect your face from sun damage. The best protection for your face, even if you wear makeup, is to wear a chemical-free sunscreen under your makeup.
Finally, although all products our range of natural sunscreens can be worn on both the face and body, here’s our favourite SPF facial moisturisers:
1. Wotnot SPF30 Anti-Aging Daily Defence for Face – gentle formula with both UVA & UVB protection
2. Mukti Daily Moisturiser with Sunscreen SPF15 – Certified Organic ingredients, vegan & nut free
3. Emma Organics Sun Protect Hydration SPF15 – with nourishing oils & antioxidant Tomato Seed Oil
4. Eco Natural Sunscreen - Face SPF30+ - non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic & moisturising
And, if you’re after a hint of colour with your sunscreen, take a look at these tinted moisturisers with SPF:
(a) Mukti Tinted Moisturiser with Sunscreen SPF15+ - fortified with antioxidants & bioactive native extracts and a great primer for your makeup
(b) Sun & Earth Natural Zinc Tinted All Day Cream SPF30+ – broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection available in 3 skin tones.
So, there you have it. Although we cannot prevent our bodies from naturally ageing with the passage of time, we can take steps towards preventing premature ageing and, in particular, minimising photoaging (skin damage such as wrinkles, brown spots and loose skin cause by sun exposure).
Other sources: forbes. com; huffingtonpost. com; mayoclinic. org; webmd .com
Neither the author, nor Naturally Safe Cosmetics, are health care professionals. Any information or advice in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For medical advice regarding your own personal circumstances, we recommend you contact your GP or other health care professional.