Babies skin is loaded with healthy collagen and elastin fibres. Youthful skin also has plenty of hyaluronic acid, a substance that fills in the spaces between cells and keeps skin hydrated.
There are two types of skin aging: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging occurs in everyone. It is characterized by dryness and thinning of the skin as you get older, which leads to sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. This type of aging develops gradually and is generally not visibly evident until adulthood.
Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors, most notably UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds, which can lead to prematurely aged skin. The free radicals from UVA radiation break down skin’s collagen and elastin and cause hyperpigmentation in the form of freckles and dark spots.
UV radiation accounts for up to 90% of what we think of as "normal" skin aging. One of the main reasons that babies' skin looks so great is that it hasn't had time to develop significant sun damage.
UVA rays are equally strong year-round, meaning you need to be wearing a broad spectrum SFP 30+ or greater every day. Come summer, practicing other sun-safe behaviours like wearing hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing, seeking shade, and limiting time in direct sunlight between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. (when the sun's rays are the strongest).
Almost all the roughness, deeper wrinkles, discoloration, and age spots are caused by sun damage. It is easier to prevent damage than to repair it, but the good news is that you can put the brakes on prematurely ageing skin and you can reverse the ageing process.
Here are five dos and five don’ts to help slow down and reverse the ageing process and leave your skin glowing at any age.
DO – STOP SMOKING
The fact is, smoking is the second biggest cause of skin damage after sun exposure. Why? Nicotine constricts blood vessels and decreases the flow of oxygen to the skin.
DO – WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY
Even in winter it can take just 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to damage the skin. Apply sunscreen whenever you'll be exposed to the sun's harsh rays (that includes cloudy days!) and opting for self-tanner versus jumping into a tanning bed whenever you're looking to warm up your skin tone. Don’t forget to reapply – If you’re swimming or sweating, apply more sunscreen after 2 hours to ensure full coverage. Sun damage is cumulative, which means ANY time you’re in the sun adds up to cause damage.
DO – EXFOLIATE
Done properly not only does it rid your face of dead skin cells, but it can improve texture as well – by reducing fine lines. Alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA, and beta hydroxy acid, BHA, are naturally derived, closely related chemical exfoliants that can be gentler than mechanical exfoliants.
DO -- MOISTURIZE. MOISTURIZE. MOISTURIZE
Keep skin healthy and hydrated. Always apply moisturizer to your face and body after a shower or bath. Hot water can remove skin’s moisture. Apply while skin is still damp to really lock in hydration. If you have dry skin, consider incorporating a hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine.
DO – HAVE A HEALTHY DIET
Skin is constantly fighting a battle with the sun, and constantly repairing and regenerating itself. It needs the right nutrition to stay young and healthy looking. If you're eating lots of junk food, you're feeding your skin junk, too. Antioxidants like vitamin C and E, as well as vitamin A and the B vitamin biotin, are particularly important for healthy skin. You'll get all of these nutrients, and more, by eating five to seven servings of fresh vegetables and fruits each day. Tomatoes, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and carrots are a good place to start.
DON’T – FORGET YOUR NECK AND CHEST
The neck and chest are first to show the signs of aging so whatever product is left after you’ve cleansed or exfoliated the face, be sure to apply up the neck and across the chest.
DON’T – TAN
Once signs of ageing appear, you’ll be spending a lot of money to reverse it.
DON’T – SCRUB WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT
Exfoliating too vigorously can break the delicate surface layer of the skin, causing it to become sensitive to the elements such as hot water and wind.
DON’T – DRINK EXCESSIVELLY
Excessive alcohol (more than one drink a day for women, two for men) is bad for skin, and your health in general. Over the long term, heavy drinking can lead to persistent inflammation, and broken capillaries, causing fixed redness. Alcohol also dehydrates, leaving skin dry and tight, without a healthy glow.
IF YOU'RE A PRE-TEEN, there are three main ways to embrace and maintain your youthful complexion. First, you should apply sunscreen regularly to all sun-exposed skin. Secondly, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which have essential nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants to help protect skin from environmental damage. Finally, wash your face twice a day to remove any dirt, oil, makeup, or other chemicals that build up and can contribute to skin irritation or skin damage.
IF YOU'RE A TEEN, continue the basic skincare habits listed above and be sure to get enough sleep. There really is some truth in the beauty rest theory. It's during sleep that the body performs many essential maintenance and repair processes and clears away much of the potentially harmful chemicals that build up from daily environmental damage. Beware of sunbathing or indoor tanning beds. If you're being treated for acne, sun protection is especially important, as many acne treatments can make skin more susceptible to sunburn and irritation.
IF YOU'RE IN YOUR TWENTIES, upgrade your daily moisturizer, with a product containing antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. If your skin is already showing signs of early aging from time spent in the sun, adding a topical serum with vitamin A, B, and C may help reverse and treat some of the signs of damage.