Remember the good old days? You know, when your “skincare regime” consisted of a half-hearted wash with a lightweight cleanser, and maybe, if you thought about it, and if it was handy, a thin coat of moisturizer (without SPF of course).
Unfortunately, as your shelves fill with random products of varying effectiveness gathering dust, you might notice that your skin is needing more and more attention…and the clock is ticking. The problem is, most people don’t realize that skin is your body’s largest organ; it’s not just an object, a piece of clothing that can be washed, dried, and call it a day.
Instead of wasting time (and money) on just the surface of the problem, to reap the rewards in the mirror, you need to wage this war on several fronts… from the outside, the inside, and with good ol’ common sense.
Look, you’ve made it this far, so it stands to reason that you’ve already heard the basics of effective skin care. There’s a reason you constantly see the same advice over and over…because it works. So, in your redoubled efforts to battle Father Time smart (not hard), maybe you should consider implementing these in building the new foundation in your regimen.
1. Use SPF daily, with UVA and UVB protection, at least 30+ – Better yet, stay out of the sun. Sun exposure is the most widely accepted cause of damage to the skin and signs of early aging. The ultraviolet rays of sunlight penetrate deep into the epidermis and the dermis, breaking down elastin and causing the sagging skin of wrinkles. If wrinkles weren’t enough to worry about, sun exposure can also lead to hyperpigmentation (also known as “liver spots,” “age spots,” or “sun spots”) and growth of benign tumors or moles. And, the most obvious and dangerous result of sun exposure is increased risk of skin cancer.
2. Get your H2O – Drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water a day (or more). Where there is water, there is life, and this also holds true for water brining life to your skin. When your body is hydrated, your skin is moisturized from the inside out. Drinking water also helps to flush impurities from your bodily organs, and since the skin is the largest organ of your body, impurities are flushed from your skin as well. Clear skin is healthy skin.
3. Get your beauty rest! Your body, mood, and work performance aren’t the only things that suffer when you pull an “all-nighter.” Lack of sleep causes dark circles, sallow complexion, and even rashes and eczema… all contributing to the appearance of “age.” When you sleep, you are essentially “undoing” the day’s effect of gravity on your skin. You are also resting your facial muscles from the constant daily movement, tensing, and facial expressions that cause and enhance wrinkles.
4. Limit alcohol – Alcohol dehydrates not just your skin, but your whole body and robs your skin of crucial vitamins and nutrients. After time, the effect on your skin can worsen, leading to pimples, rashes, and Rosacea, which can often lead to facial disfigurement.
5. No smoking – The warnings on the cartons of cigarettes should be enough. Those chemicals and toxic fumes from cigarette smoke linger on your face before being dragged into your body and lungs. Smoking almost eliminates your skin’s production of collagen…a protein and main component of connective tissue (the elasticity of your skin). No collagen = wrinkles. That should be enough, but if not, how about the ensuing COPD, Heart Disease, Emphysema, Bronchitis, Asthma, and Cancer?
6. Get familiar with your skin – Even the most diligent skin care regimen can sometimes miss minute, yet dangerous, changes in your skin. Make sure you visit a Dermatologist at least once a year for a full body skin check.
7. Sweat it out – Sweating is a good thing. Not only does it flush the body of harmful things like alcohol, cholesterol, and salt, it helps to release toxins that can clog pores and cause pimples and patches of red, uneven skin.
Nourish from the inside
It doesn’t take much to see the correlation between eating healthily and feeling healthy. But did you know that eating the right foods can not only keep you healthy, but can actually “slow down” the aging process?
While a younger body can respond more quickly to a healthy diet and exercise, as we age, our bodily systems break down, becoming less efficient at processing your diet and functioning at top levels.
So as we get older, it is more important than ever that we provide super-charged food to supplement those deficiencies that take their toll in advancing years.
8. Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries are rich in antioxidants, promote cell health, and can protect against disease. Darker berries are thought to have the most anti-aging effect because they have the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Berries also have high content of Vitamin-C, which is necessary for skin, and to repair bodily tissues.
9. Dark chocolate: Yes, I said chocolate (in moderation, of course). Eating or drinking chocolate has been shown to help prevent against the ravages of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Cocoa beans have a higher antioxidant capacity than any other food, and the high concentration of antioxidant Flavanols in cocoa beans helps reduce skin inflammation, while increasing circulation in the skin, and improve its ability to retain moisture (which helps lessen the appearance of wrinkles).
10. Fish: By now, everyone knows the benefits of a diet rich in Omega-3, and fish are the main source of that. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease, inflammation, and help lower blood pressure. Fish is also high in protein and low in fat, which helps to keep weight down.
11. Vegetables: The antioxidants provided by fruits are also found in high quantities in vegetables, especially those that are leafy and green (such as spinach and kale). Vitamins such as A, K, C, and E help boost the immune system against illness and disease. And vegetables have been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
12. Dietary supplements such as coenzyme Q10 and omega-3 fatty acid, anti-oxidants such as Beta-Carotene, and Vitamins C, E, and A can make a world of difference for your skin. They can curb damage caused by “free radicals” (present in pollution in the atmosphere), and they help to keep the top-most layers of your skin (the epidermis) strong and intact, which also helps to better fight off signs of damage and aging.
Nourish from the outside
Here’s the part you are probably more familiar with. But that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going about it the right way. Instead of following the “more is better” school of thought with products, try a more strategic approach by using just a few products with key ingredients designed to pack a punch.
This is what inspired Monica, to create her new skincare line which is a multi-tasker.
13. Retinol – Possibly one of the most powerful and well-known anti-aging ingredients, Retinol comes from Vitamin A and acts to increase collagen production and plump skin, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone and color, and reduces mottled patches.
14. Hydroquinone – This little trooper fades sun spots, blotchiness, mottled skin, and other hyperpigmentation by blocking the enzyme that triggers melanin production in the skin. It works best when preceded by a glycolic or salicylic acid cleanser, and followed up with an SPF of 30 or higher.
15. Antioxidants – You simply cannot deny the powerful effects antioxidants provide. They not only fight skin-destroying free-radicals, but when combined with sunscreens, they help increase their effectiveness, and when applied at night, they help to amp up cell repair and healing.
16. Alpha Hydroxy Acids – This includes naturally-based glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids which help to exfoliate and reduce fine lines, age spots, uneven tone, and even acne scars. Your esthetician or dermatologist will offer peels containing these acids in high doses, but you can use products with concentrations between 5% and 10% on a daily basis.
17. Alpha-Lipoic Acid – The good news is that your body makes Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and as a powerful antioxidant, it fights the free radicals that cause fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and a dull complexion.
18. Salicylic Acid – This is vital for speeding cell turnover and exfoliating skin, which promotes a clearer, more radiant complexion.
19. Hyaluronic Acid – This vital element keeps tissue cushioned, lubricated, and connected. While your body makes hyaluronic acid naturally, as we age, its supply and strength diminishes, so products with it are known to keep wrinkles in check. It’s also given a boost when combined with Vitamin C products.
So now, armed with the solid foundation basics, and the tools you need to properly fortify your skin from the inside, while correcting and protecting it from the outside, you’re ready to re-join the battle in the war against aging skin…and Father Time won’t know what hit him!