Anti ageing. What does it even mean? Slowing down the inevitable? Resorting lost beauty? Preventing further damage?
Regardless of how you view anti ageing there are certain factors that must not be ignored in protecting, repairing and promoting skin health.
Factors that should be simple, effective and affordable.
Enjoy my 5 little tips on how to prevent skin ageing and help to promote your youthful glow.
INNER HEALTH, OUTER BEAUTY
As both a general practitioner and cosmetic physician I see the impact general health has on how we age and the quality of our skin.
The skin is our largest organ so it makes perfect sense to nourish it from the inside.
Focus on nourishing your body with a well balanced diet, regular exercise and practicing mindfulness. This will in turn result in greater longevity, improved resilience and beautiful, glowing skin.
Useful dietary tips include eating plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the form of olive oil, flaxseed, fish such as salmon and high quality supplements such as fish/krill oil. These fats improve the moisture barrier of our skin and aid in protection from the elements as well as providing an anti-inflammatory effect.
Avoiding sugar and processed foods which are pro-inflammatory and taking a regular probiotic will also aid in improving the quality of the dermis and maintain the integrity of the skin.
I personally have a diet high in antioxidant rich foods to combat free radicals and oxidative stress to the cells which comes from daily exposure to UV rays, ageing and stress. Antioxidant rich foods such as berries and nuts and beverages such as green tea are my favourite.
I don’t normally advise taking multiple supplements unless there is a nutrient deficit from your diet however vitamin D, iron, B12 and calcium supplements can all improve the quality of the skin. Please see your own GP or myself for further discussion if you intend to start any dietary supplements.
HYDRATION goes without saying also. I recommend at least 2-3L of water each day. The benefits are endless.
STAY AWAY FROM THE SMOKE
If I had to choose one health tip to slow the signs of ageing that would be to completely avoid SMOKING.
Beyond its known links to cancer, lung and heart disease, smoking is associated with premature skin ageing, delayed wound healing, and increased infections, as well as a number of skin disorders such as psoriasis.
I see it every day – the condition of a smokers skin is significantly worse than that of a non-smoker and no amount of treatments (both topical or injectables) can improve the quality of the skin whilst someone continues to smoke. The skin of a 40 year old smoker resembles that of a 70 year old non-smoker.
Smoking causes oxidative stress resulting in tissue death and damage to blood vessels thus compromising the blood supply to the skin. It also degrades collagen and elastin by inducing the immune response. Smoking is also thought to reduce levels of vitamin A and moisture in the skin. The combination of these factors is disasterous for our skin.
The easiest way to slow the signs of premature skin ageing is to simply not smoke or to quit as soon as possible. Once you stop smoking the skin begins its healing process to repair the damage and prevent further premature ageing.
NO TAN IS A HEALTHY TAN
The number one culprit behind premature skin ageing is exposure to UV. The term is called photoageing which refers to damage caused by solar radiation.
In addition to photoageing UV exposure causes skin cancer, this risk goes beyond any cosmetic concern. I am increasingly seeing skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas in young people (20-30s) and have removed melanomas from people in their 30’s, many of whom admit to excessive sun tanning and solariam use.
The damage from UV rays occurs due to the formation of reactive oxygen species resulting in damage at a cellular level. Different wavelengths of UV light also cause different degrees of damage. For example UV-B is high energy with a short wavelength and damages the top layer of skin, the epidermis. This is the UV rays that result in sunburn.
Longer wavelength UV-A is a lower energy so doesn’t cause initial visual changes to the skin. UV-A is more prevalent and causes destruction deep within the skin (the dermis) – damaging elastin, collagen, blood vessels and immune cells.
Staying out of the sun completely in Australia is a difficult task but we can decrease our risk in a number of ways by always wearing a broad spectrum SPF sunscreen. Wear this every single day without fail and your skin will thank you. Wearing a foundation or moisturiser with SPF within in it is not a substitute for sunscreen. Use sunscreen and allow it to soak into your skin prior to applying your moisturiser/primer and foundation.
Wearing protective clothing such as hats, sunglasses and utilising the shade will also help your skin. Some of the most beautiful patients I have seen come into the clinic with an umbrella, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses – revealing luminous, smooth and vibrant skin (and looking 10 years younger than their age).
A tan in summer may seem like the best idea and have you feeling beautiful for a short period, but thinking long term is important. The best way to look after your skin is to simply stay out of the sun and avoiding the harshest time of day (between 10am-2pm).
I won’t get started on solariums. These have been banned in Western Australia for good reason.
INVEST IN ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
Investing in your skin and preventing premature ageing means investing in quality skin care products and ingredients.
However if I were to pick one product or one ingredient to ensure your skin is repaired and revitalized, and to ward of those changes that come with age, it would be vitamin A (also referred to as a retinoid). I have done a comprehensive blog post on retinoids for more in depth information.
Retinoids are vitamin A derived compounds that have been used for decades to combat photoageing and acne. They work to increase cellular turn over and hence remove damaged cells from the skin and replenish the skin with healthy new cells.
They boost collagen and elastin production – improving skin tone, elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids also decrease sebum production in the skin helping to fight acne, improve congestion and unclog pores. They also stimulate the formation of healthy new blood vessels which increase the oxygen supply to the skin.
Overall these products give the skin a smoother, glowing appearance with the benefits ongoing with long term use. Be careful with over the counter products though as they often do not have a high enough concentration of the compound to have maximum benefit.
See me for a consultation to discuss your skin care further and we can decipher the ingredients in your existing skin care regime.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
This is the fun part. Cosmetic injectables and non-invasive skin procedures.
The benefits of non-surgical facial rejuvenation is a post on its own. The combination of regular treatments, combined with strict adherence to the 4 tips described above will give the best and longest lasting results.
Cosmetic injectable procedures such as wrinkle relaxers and dermal fillers can be used in multiple ways. From reducing dynamic wrinkles and preventing the formation of deep lines and folds through relaxing muscle contraction. To replacing lost volume that unfortunately comes from not only exposure to the elements, stress, diet and smoking but also genetics and the bodies natural ageing process. From contouring the face and using combination techniques to restore lost beauty and improve structural support for the skin. The results can be natural, refined and with correct use act as a ‘canvas’ to show off beautiful skin.
To further enhance the skin and improve and pre-existing damage such as pigmentation (sun spots, melasma), decrease the appearance of visible blood vessees and facial flushing, tighten the skin and decrease fine wrinkles and promote a vibrant and clear complexion – a regular regime of dermal therapies are essential.
My favourite treatments are BBL, skin needling, radio-frequency skin tightening, Hydrafacial and chemical peels (medical grade). All have there place in a treatment program but must be tailored for an individuals skin and concerns.
Cosmetic injectable treatments have no place unless the skin is made a priority. Remember, prevention is better than cure.