We truly believe skin ageing is something to embrace. So, you’re XOX years old and you have a few lines and wrinkles. Good on you! That being said, we also believe that understanding why certain things happen to your skin as you get older makes you better equipped to accept these changes and care for the skin you.
Intrigued as to what’s going on underneath your skin’s surface as you work your way through life? Then read on for the complete lowdown on what happens to your skin as you age …
When it comes to skin ageing there are two different forces at work: intrinsic ageing and extrinsic ageing.
Intrinsic Ageing: The Facts
Intrinsic ageing, also known as natural or chronological ageing, refers to your internal biological processes which are determined by your genes. It’s the slowing down that happens naturally as you get older – no matter how hard you try to avoid it. Of course, if your mum continues to amaze you with her almost ageless skin you’re in luck because chances are your skin will age at a slower rate, too. But this will only be the case if you look after it with smart skincare choices and a healthy lifestyle. More on that later…
How Intrinsic Ageing Affects Your Skin
Many things happen to your skin as it naturally ages. For starters, it loses the ability to form fat which can result in a certain sinking of the skin, plus sagging, especially around the lower areas of your face like your chin and jawline.
Then, there’s the added bone loss to contend with. This slowly happens after the age of 50 (and especially during menopause) when the natural breakdown of bone starts to outpace the formation of new bone. Of course, low bone density can have a major impact on your body and overall health, but the look of your skin can also be affected, especially around the mouth and chin area where facial bone loss is most prevalent.
In terms of your skin’s structure, intrinsic ageing is mainly caused by a loss of that all-important collagen and elastin. Collagen provides strength and structure to your skin, while elastin gives it that springy suppleness. Your skin has plenty of these essential proteins in your youth, but as you hit your twenties (yes, THAT early!) collagen and elastin levels dramatically deplete as production slows down.
It figures, therefore, that losing all of this good stuff makes your skin thinner, looser, fragile and more prone to damage as you get older.
More bad news (sorry). As well as lacking in collagen and elastin, mature skin produces fewer melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which support your skin’s essential proteins and work to retain moisture and keep the skin hydrated.
This, coupled with the fact that your skin produces less oil, is why skin often becomes drier, paler and more dehydrated as you hit your thirties or forties.
Extrinsic Ageing: The Facts
On top of intrinsic ageing – which is completely out of your hands – comes extrinsic (or external) ageing. Extrinsic ageing is a tricky little customer because it’s way more powerful than Mother Nature, yet it’s totally controllable. Simply put, extrinsic ageing encompasses all the visible signs of ageing that happen to your skin because of what you subject it to.
There are no prizes for guessing the biggest cause of extrinsic ageing. Yes, of course it’s the sun. However, there are plenty of other factors that come into play here. Environmental pollution, alcohol, smoking, poor sleep, emotional stress and an overly harsh skincare routine are just a few.
How Extrinsic Ageing Affects Your Skin
External aggressors like the aforementioned all cause free radicals in your skin, thus pushing the ‘go faster’ button on a process called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals outnumber your natural antioxidant defence system and start to wreak havoc on your skin cells, DNA and collagen.
Your body usually produces enough antioxidants to keep free radicals under control, but when you bombard it with toxins, UV damage and anything else you like to throw at your body, it simply can’t keep up. And your skin, among other things, pays the price in the form of premature lines, wrinkles, dark spots, poor texture and dull, lacklustre skin.
Lack of sleep and stress are two other major causes of extrinsic ageing as these increase the levels of cortisol in your body which can compromise your barrier function and cause inflammation and irritation. Your skin’s barrier is vital for the health, look and feel of your skin as it works hard to keep moisture in and irritants out.
Therefore, anything you do to upset this protective barrier will age you up in no time. If you add a harsh skincare routine into the mix, for example, laden with unnecessary chemicals, potent alcohol and synthetic fragrances, these will strip away lipids and protective nutrients from the skin’s barrier.
Your Age-Defying Skincare Mantra
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom because there are plenty of ways to slow down the visible signs of extrinsic ageing. Intrinsic ageing, not so much, but extrinsic ageing, absolutely.
Here are five of our most tried and tested favourites…
1. Stay Out Of The Sun
The sun is the number one cause of extrinsic ageing. By a long shot. So, keep your face out of the sun as much as possible and always wear sun protection, whatever the weather.
Thankfully, we have your back here because our Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25 acts like a moisturiser, sunscreen and BB cream all-in-one, making it a simple but essential addition to your morning skincare routine.
2. Flood Your Skin With Antioxidants
Don’t let free radicals get the better of your skin – fight back by upping your level of antioxidants. Vitamins C and E, niacinamide, retinol, hyaluronic acid, green tea and aloe vera all have fabulous antioxidant properties, so ensure your daily skincare routine is packed with at least one of these hard-working ingredients. We recommend our Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum – antioxidants is basically its middle name!
3. Reduce Stress & Get More Rest
Stress and a lack of sleep both increase the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. This limits your skin’s time to heal and regenerate which makes it age up faster than you can say ‘goodnight, dear.’ Yes, we know it’s easy to tell you to stress less and sleep more, but try to make a conscious effort to practice a bit of self-love.
Enjoy some me-time for an hour a day and force yourself to go to bed even half an hour earlier than normal. Anything you can do (no matter how little it seems at the time) will be worth it.
4. Eat Better
While we’re on the subject of lifestyle choices, think about your diet. Refined sugars, processed carbs, salt and bad fats all lead to what are called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) in your skin. These sound bad… and that’s because they are.
Without getting into too much science, AGEs attack your skin’s cells and cause collagen and elastin to stiffen and weaken resulting in lines, wrinkles, sagging, dullness and so on and so forth. Cut down on these nasties and eat more antioxidant-rich fresh fruit (berries, in particular, are awesome) and vegetables.
5. Be Kind To Your Skin
Anything that unnecessarily dries out your skin should definitely be avoided. Harsh cleansers and long, hot baths, for example, are a big no-no. As is drinking too much alcohol and forgetting to moisturise your skin twice a day. So, don’t do that!
To nourish, feed, moisturise and lock in hydration, you’ll love our Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil. It suits most skin types and absorbs so beautifully into your skin you’ll not even realise you’re wearing it. Apply it morning and night after moisturising for a truly age-defying treat. PS: it’s also full of natural antioxidants so double-win.