What causes ageing of the skin and can anything be done about it?

Dark spots, wrinkles, sagging skin and other signs of ageing are caused by a variety of factors, some of which can be treated by skincare products, while others cannot.

The primary causes of ageing

Sun damage

Many people are unaware of the extent to which sun-damage causes ageing. Roughly 80% of ageing is caused by unprotected exposure to the sun. Years of built up sun damage causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin and damage in your DNA. DNA damage results in abnormal cells that cannot behave like young, healthy cells, causing wrinkles, loss of firmness, an uneven skin tone and pigmentation.

Damage to the skin’s barrier

The natural barrier of your skin is very important to keep your skin healthy and young. Exposing your skin to the sun, irritating ingredients (such as alcohol or perfume) and air pollution can damage your skin’s barrier. This depletes the essential substances in your skin (such as ceramides, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and lecithin) making it even more vulnerable to damage caused by external factors.

Time

With time, ageing naturally occurs in your body and therefore in your skin. As you age, the composition of your bone tissue depletes and muscles and fatty tissues become lax. This can result in saggy skin and fine lines and wrinkles in places where you use your muscles most often, such as around the eyes and mouth. Unfortunately, you have little influence on these natural changes, however, a healthy lifestyle and using the right skincare products can help.

Hormonal fluctuations

Hormone loss for women during menopause can lead to changes in the texture and elasticity of your skin, making it feel crepey, thinner and less resilient. Breakouts and large pores are another common problem during this period.

Hopefully this information gives you an idea of what you can realistically expect from skincare products. With the right products and a commitment to a brilliant skincare routine, you can get and keep smoother, hydrated, younger-looking skin.

Solutions

SPF

Daily protection from UV exposure is extremely important for your overall health and also for the condition of your skin. Even if the sun is not shinning, you must wear a moisturiser of SPF 30 or more all year round as UV damage can occur even on the cloudiest of days! Using a product labeled day cream that doesn’t provide sun protection is an invitation to unwanted signs of ageing. You can boost your level of sun protection by layering products that contain SPF.

Antioxidants

Topically applied antioxidants have powerful benefits for your skin. They help with:

  • Limiting the damage and irritation caused by free radicals (such as air pollution), helping your skin to remain healthy and strong.
  • Boosting the effectiveness of SPF creams to help protect skin from free radical damage.
  • Stimulating your skin to make healthy collagen and helping skin heal.

The list of ingredients that work as antioxidants is endless, but here are a few examples that you might find familiar: vitamins A, C and E, turmeric, green tea, soy, pomegranate and grape extract.

It is important to know that antioxidants decrease in effectiveness when exposed to sunlight and oxygen. If you buy products with antioxidants, it is important that they are in airtight and opaque packaging.

Anti-Ageing and Cell-communicating ingredients

Using products loaded with research-proven anti-ageing ingredients can slow down the appearance of older-looking skin. Sun damage, age and hormonal fluctuations result in damaged skin cells which become defective. When these defected cells mutate, the appearance of your skin begins to suffer. Cell-communicating ingredients ‘communicate’ with the defective cells and send signals to stop producing bad cells and start producing healthier, younger cells. There are several ingredients used in skincare that can stimulate cell communication, such as niacinamide, peptides and retinol. Potent antioxidants (like vitamin C, green tea, grape extract, and resveratrol), and skin replenishing ingredients (glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid) are must haves in your skincare routine too. These are exactly the types of ingredients we add to every Paula’s Choice toner, serum, moisturiser, and targeted solution to help your skin look renewed and radiant, day after day.

Exfoliants

Your skin sheds dead skin cells daily to renew the skin’s surface layer. Overtime, this shedding process slows or stops altogether. The result, is a build- up of dead skin cells which can make your skin look dull, pigmentation spots become more visible and other impurities may appear on your skin. Daily exfoliation with a leave on AHA or BHA exfoliant helps to gently remove excess dead skin cells for smoother, more radiant skin.

At Paula's Choice we have two different types of exfoliants, AHA (glycolic and lactic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid).

AHA’s exfoliate the skin’s surface and are water soluble. They are especially suitable for dry, dull skin and skin that suffer from sun damage.

BHA’s work on skin’s surface and inside the pore. They are oil soluble and so suitable for oily skin prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes, and enlarged pores. Salicylic acid is also anti-inflammatory, so gentle enough for sensitive skin prone to redness.

Maintaining a healthy diet

A healthy and varied diet naturally contributes to a healthier body and healthier skin. There are certain foods rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and minerals that can specifically contribute to younger looking skin.

Fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Berries, dark green vegetables, beets, carrots and beans are examples of antioxidant-rich foods.

Omega fatty acids are mainly found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, but also in various vegetable oils obtained from flaxseed, soybeans, rapeseed and sunflower seeds.

Minerals and trace elements, such as iron, zinc, copper and chromium, are essential for your health. They prevent ageing inside and out and most also work as antioxidants. Examples of foods rich in minerals: dark green vegetables, nuts, beets, eggs, oysters, beef liver, dried fruit (such as raisins and apricots), beans and linseed.

For healthy, younger looking skin your skin needs products loaded with skin-replenishing and skin-restoring ingredients, an array of soothing antioxidants, daily sun protection with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater, and a reliable AHA or BHA exfoliant. Adding these to your daily skincare routine will have you loving your skin.

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