The goal: youthful, vibrant skin. The problem? Sometimes that can feel like a distant memory as you get older. Aging is a natural process that marks a significant period in your life: You can now reap the benefits of your experiences and enjoy the life you’ve created. That being said, aging can come with some changes to your skin, and it can be a challenging task navigating this. Even if you don't make use of cosmetic enhancements like Botox, skin aging can be slowed down by adopting healthy habits. From making SPF part of your daily routine to being mindful of the foods you consume, below we’re breaking down seven ways to restore your skin’s natural radiance. Keep scrolling to learn how to make your skin thrive during your golden years.
What Causes Aging Skin?
We know that aging is natural, but what’s the actual science behind it? The answer is simple: when we’re young, our body is able to repair damaged skin cells quickly; however, as we age, our skin loses elasticity, fat, and natural oils, and this can lead to more pronounced lines as well as dull, sensitive, loose skin. While this is inevitable, there are some other factors that can cause skin to age that are actually preventable—sun exposure being one of them. Lack of protection from ultraviolet light can speed up the aging process and cause premature wrinkles. This is because UV rays break down the proteins in the skin, such as elastin and collagen, that are responsible for making the skin tight, firm, and youthful. Finally, dry skin can show signs of aging sooner than oily skin, as oiler skin can have a built-in moisturizer that helps skin maintain a smooth texture. Meanwhile dry skin lacks those oils, causing fine lines and wrinkles to appear more defined.
What are the Telltale Signs of Aging Skin?
There are a few main signs of aging. Fine lines—the shallower counterpart to deeper-set wrinkles—can pop up underneath the eyes and around the mouth as the top layer of skin begins to thin. Dark spots and age spots are another telltale sign of aging skin (and sun damage). They may look like freckles, but they actually form due to lack of sun protection under regular exposure to UV light. Such spots can appear on your cheeks, forehead, and nose, and are a common form of hyperpigmentation. Other signs of skin aging include loss of firmness (as collagen diminishes) and an overall dull, lackluster appearance.
Ways to Prevent Aging Skin
The appearance of a new fine line or wrinkle can be daunting, but before you reach for every anti-aging product you can get your hands on, adopt these eight effective tips that may help you ward them off for good.
1. Protect your skin from the sun
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those young, carefree days spent soaking up the sun can wreck havoc on your skin. Skin experts unanimously agree that regularly protecting your skin from the sun—rain or shine—is an effective way to keep things like sunspots, fine lines, and wrinkles at bay. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 all over your face and be mindful of the often forgot-about perimeter of the face (which includes the hairline, chin and neck, and ears). It’s also important to reapply your sunscreen every two hours, especially during summer outings where you’ll be spending a number of hours under blazing temps. If the day calls for makeup, you can layer on your SPF: apply your daily sunscreen, and then ensure your moisturizer and foundation products both have SPF in them. And if you’re worried about the reapplication of sunscreen disrupting your makeup, keep an SPF setting mist handy—not only will it add protection, but it can feel refreshing on a hot day, too. Or, for even more protection, you can also keep your skin protected by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
2. Get enough calcium
Calcium is an important element for the health of your bones, teeth, and organs. But did you know that it’s also important for the health of your skin? Most calcium in the skin is found in the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin), and it’s known to help the skin regulate the speed at which new cells are generated and old cells are shed (aka cell turnover). Calcium also contributes to the production of sebum, which functions as a natural moisturizer. In essence, calcium helps to keep your skin moist and supple. If your body doesn’t get enough of it, the skin can appear thin, dry, and fragile. For the best results, try to consume 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium every day in the form of whole foods like cheese, yogurt, and milk. If lactose intolerance is a problem, opt for a calcium supplement.
3. Repair skin with a proper diet
Your skin constantly produces new cells, sloughs off old ones, and neutralizes free radicals and other toxins so that they don’t do permanent damage. One important product in that repair process is Vitamin A. If your body doesn’t have the Vitamin A it needs, your natural resilience and ability to fend off toxins is impaired. To help repair aging skin, work foods into your diet that are high in vitamin A (think: spinach, sweet potatoes, mangos, and watermelon). Also, foods rich in protein are another way to make your skin appear youthful. Eggs, in particular, are not only high in Omega 3 fatty acids that can balance skin’s moisture, but they are also rich in biotin, which can help increase cell turnover.
4. Limit your intake of coffee and soda
Coffee and soda are natural diuretics, meaning they pull water from your body and flush it out of the system. This can dehydrate the skin, cause a buildup of toxins, and make the skin more susceptible to showing signs of aging. What’s more, using a straw with these drinks is a double-whammy, as repeated facial movements can lead to lines—in this case, around the mouth. Try limiting your intake of these drinks and instead upping your dose of H2O.
5. Moisturize regularly
Especially if you have dry skin, moisturizing is a crucial step to keeping your skin smooth, radiant, and youthful looking. Look for one with a retinoid, a Vitamin A compound known to boost collagen production, smooth out fine lines, and prevent new ones from forming. Vitamin C is another ingredient to look for—it’s a strong antioxidant that shields skin from the molecules that break down the skin’s collagen (aka free radicals). Finally, moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) are helpful when it comes to restoring skin’s radiance, which is something that aging skin tends to lack. AHA’s work to exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal new, fresh ones, and they prepare your skin for better absorption of your other anti-aging products. For best results, use your moisturizing products after a wrinkle-reducing, moisture-locking skin patch (see below) to see more immediate results.
6. Reduce stress
Easier said than done (we know), but just like dark under eye circles signify a lack of sleep, wrinkles can be an unwelcome result of stress. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol—and high amounts of this stress hormone can break down elastin and collagen in the skin. What’s more, it can hinder the barrier function of the skin, which, when weakened, causes skin to be more fragile, dry, and prone to aging. To reduce stress, try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night—this not only reenergizes your body, but it allows your skin to repair itself overnight. You can also try incorporating meditation or exercise into your daily routine to manage stress.
7. Use a silicone patch
Silicone skin patches are based on the same technology used by doctors and surgeons to heal scarred and burned skin. On healthy skin, silicone patches can reduce the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet, and laugh lines. SiO Beauty’s FaceLift consists of four differently shaped silicone patches designed for wrinkle-prone areas like the neck, forehead, and under eyes. The patches help skin retain moisture and reduce the signs of aging, and because they feel like a second layer of skin, they’re comfortable to wear overnight. The most immediate result of using silicone patches is plump, smooth skin, but beyond this, they prevent wrinkles from forming by gently compressing the skin, preventing folds and creases while you sleep.
While you may feel distraught by your aging skin, know that it is a natural part of life. But you can improve it over time. For one, always make sure to wear SPF year-round and reapply consistently to both prevent premature aging and keep existing fine lines and wrinkles from worsening. Also, develop an anti-aging skin care routine and stick to it—now is the time to pay attention to ingredients and choose your products mindfully. Finally, be wary of how much soda and caffeine you consume and enrich your diet with foods high in vitamin A, C, and calcium.