What’s Your Anti-Aging Strategy?

Starting about the age fifty… no thirty-five… no twenty – you need to start developing an anti-aging strategy to preserve your skin so it will look and feel healthy and beautiful for the rest of your life.

Extrinsic aging actually begins in your teens.  Extrinsic aging is a fancy way of saying aging caused by environmental factors, like the sun. Matter fact sun damage seems to be the primary cause people equated with skin aging.  Although there are other environmental agers like pollution, poor diet, stress, smoking, alcohol and lack of sleep.  Anything that causes physical, emotional or chemical stress contributes to the breakdown of skin structures which results in skin aging.

Each decade brings about a new set of concerns and a new set of practices to handle them. By the time you turn sixty when intrinsic aging (aging from your biological clock) really kicks in, you already have created a major list of “to do’s” to keep up.

  • In your teens:
    You’re probably not focused on aging right now but you should be.  The signs of aging from bad habits, like not using sunscreen, might not be visible but unfortunately sun damage is accumulating invisibly beneath your skin. A few sunburns in your teens can set you up for premature aging and even skin cancer.  Play it safe by monitoring your sun exposure to avoid sunburns.  And please start using a sunscreen daily.
  • In your twenties:
    Many of us in their twenties feel indestructible, living life a little less cautiously than maybe they should. When you enter your twenties the regenerative powers in your skin are strong. But by throwing caution to the wind through extreme environmental exposure like too much sun, alcohol, lack of sleep and smoking – environmental aging starts to show. By twenty five your collagen production starts to slow down. Age spots and fine lines (usually around the eyes) may become apparent. To minimize this make sure to keep up with your sunscreen.  Introduce a gentle exfoliating scrub a couple times a week to boost skin’s natural cellular healing. Also focus on keeping your hydration levels up, start by using a non-clogging moisturizer appropriate for your skin type. Dry skin types, in their late twenties may want to supplement with an oil free hydrating serum based on the super hydrator – hyaluronic acid. Approaching thirty, your skin may become drier as collagen, ceramides and antioxidant production decline.  Make sure you are using the best cleaning method for your skin type so you are not clogging your pores nor over drying your skin.
  • In your thirties:
    Your thirties often brings about new life challenges; more responsibility from your job or kids means more stress. This, along with hormone changes and you might experience a resurgence of breakouts (usually on the chin) accompanied by drier skin, fine lines and pigmentation challenges (oh what fun).  This is the time when eating well, adequate sleep, exercise, and sun protection have an even greater impact on your skin. In your early thirties growth hormone also begins to decline.  It now takes longer for your skin to repair itself.  If you haven’t started supplementing with an antioxidant rich repair serum, now’s the time. Antioxidants not only protect you from environmental damage but also protect against chronic inflammaging.  This is a type of environmental aging that occurs from chronic low level environmental irritants – like toxins in your diet. The most tried and true topical antioxidant is Vitamin C.  You can get up to 60% of your skin’s Vitamin C requirements by applying it topically.  Eating Vitamin C rich foods is also essential.  If you get professional facials the focus should shift slightly away from extractions and a little bit more towards supplying skin strengthening nutrients to your skin to keeping it strong, healthy, young and hydrated.
  • In your forties:
    Skin metabolism slows down even further in your forties.  That means you need to boost collagen and elastin repair and replacement.  Vitamin C, Retinol, Peptides and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are your best tools for doing just that.  Regular exfoliation sends skin into a renewal and repair response.
    Somewhere in your mid forties estrogen production starts to slow down as you enter perimenopause.  Estrogen is a natural anti-inflammatory so the loss of it may mean that your skin becomes more sensitive. Gravity takes a toll on your skin and it may become looser.  Loss of estrogen, which was stored in the skin keeping it plump, is kind of like letting the air out of an inflated mattress.  This adds to skin laxity.
    Facial treatments using LED (light emitting diodes) help harness skin’s energy to jump start repair and replacement of collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans that support a healthy dermis.  Microcurrent treatments help exercise muscles just below the skin to visibly lift and tone the skin.
  • In your fifties:
    Most women reach menopause in their early fifties.  This means more dryness, increased sensitivity and deeper lines while pigmentation from past sun damage decides to make an appearance (once repressed by estrogen).
    Energy is all important.  Again LED is an invaluable energizing tool to boost energy.  Investigate serums that contain energizing ingredients like ergothioneine, CoQ10, or hydrolyzed sea algin which helps jump start sleepy stem cells into the act of repairing the skin.  Stem cells are responsible for activating fibroblasts, the cells in the dermis which lay down new collagen and elastin.
  • In your sixties and above:
    As biological aging kicks in, a major factor in skin aging is maintaining your skin’s protective barrier function.  This lipid layer is found on the surface of the skin as well as in the skin’s bilayers.  Choose occlusive or lipid based ingredients to coat the skin’s surface.  This not only softens and conditions your skin, it prevents dehydration as well as inflammation.  Try a creamier cleanser based omega 3 fatty acids.  You also need to get more Omega 3s in your diet.  There is an ingredient called ursolic acid, derived from rosemary extracts, that actually stimulates your skin to manufacture more of its own natural barrier lipids.
    Most biological aging starts to kick in about age sixty.  You may think there is nothing you can do about this gene driven form of aging (which only amounts to 10% of aging).  You can’t change your genetics, but you can change your epigenetics.  This is how genes express themselves.  They get turned on or off due to lifestyle habits.  It has to do with telomeres, which are little caps at the end of chromosomes. Think of the caps as the ends of shoelaces. Telomeres get shorter each time the cell divides.  When it gets too short the cell dies.  While this is a new area of skin aging science, it is very promising.  It is thought that gene expression goes back to what you are eating and drinking, how you sleep and exercise and how you manage stress.
    Your skincare choices in your sixties should be based on:

    • protecting your DNA (Vitamin C and other antioxidants)
    • energizing cells (ergothioneine, CoQ10, LED treatments)
    • stimulating stem cells for repair (Sea Algin, Swiss Apple Extracts, Microchanneling)
    • Calming Inflammaging (resveratrol, green tea, licorice root extract)You may want to research MicroChanneling treatments which have lots of research behind it which suggests it stimulates new collagen, firmer skin, softens lines and normalizes pigmentation.Anti-aging means strengthening and protecting your body so it can stave off irritants, free radicals, stress and other age related aggressors.

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