Am I “Old” Enough for Anti-Aging Products?
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “You are only as old as you feel”. Well if that is the case, I am only 25! (Wohoo!) But even though I may feel like I am only 25, when I look in the mirror the face looking back at me is starting to indicate otherwise. Fine lines are slowly starting to appear around my eyes. Many of us have creases on our foreheads when we furrow our brow. If I look close enough when my face is relaxed, I can see exactly where those marks will appear. I can remember being a teenager and having a conversation with my mother about anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products. Because I was still so young, she assured me that I did not need to worry about using these products for many years. Now, it is many years later and I am at the point in my life where I am starting to genuinely wonder if now is the right time to look into doing what I can to keep my skin looking and feeling youthful for as long as possible.
We now know that our skin has its' own genetic clock by which it will age. We know that skin aging is inevitable, but we also know that there are steps we can take to minimize the signs of aging and most importantly prevent premature skin aging. One of the best prevention you can take against skin aging is using sun protection. This means sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays containing an SPF of 30 or higher. (1) The sooner in life this becomes a habit, the better. Hopefully your parents were diligent with sunscreen when you were a child and you continued to use sunscreen into your adult life. If not, be diligent now. Not only with yourself, but with your children as well. You can also use eye cream and sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes from damage.(2) The skin around the eyes is sensitive and very thin so it needs protection, as well as moisturizing for nourishment (3). I worked outdoors for 10+ years after I graduated from university. While I was very particular about my face (I wore SPF sunscreen, lip balm and a hat every day), I went through periods of time where I was not always diligent with applying sunscreen to the rest of my body even though I knew I should be. I can remember thinking that I did not want my face to be wrinkled from the sun. I feel that the extra precautions I took while working outdoors has benefited the way my skin looks now. But part of me wonders if some day I will be able to tell that I spent a lot of time in the sun in my early twenties because of the condition of the rest of my skin.
Another way we can prevent premature skin aging is with the use of moisturizers. We lose a lot of moisture from our skin each day and that moisture needs to be replenished. (3) It is best to look for the moisturizers containing antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Other moisturizers contain pomegranate and acai which protect collagen and elastin. As skin cells age, they lose their ability to prevent moisturize loss. Moisturizers are good at combating this. Serums can be even more effective at replenishing lost moisture because they contain a greater number of active ingredients (2). An anti-oxidant moisturizer or serum can thus minimize oxidative damage caused by environmental factors such as the sun or pollution (1). Retinoids, a chemical form of vitamin A, have been proven to decrease the appearance of fine lines because they improve collagen and elastin production, speed cell turnover, reduce wrinkles, shrink pores and minimize brown spots (2). (Keep in mind that retinoids should be used gradually because initially they can cause redness and dry, flaky skin (1)). Regular use of facial cleanser is also important because it helps to wash away dirt, keep your pores small and prepare the skin to absorb the product. As we age, the skin no longer sheds dead cells as quickly as it used to, so it is important to exfoliate 2-3 times per week to help with this (3). Growing up, I had extremely dry skin, especially on my forehead. I quickly learned the importance of moisturizing. If I didn't moisturize, my face was covered in dry, flaky skin. In a way, having dry skin was a good thing because it forced me to start a skin care routine very early on in my life. I always washed my face twice a day and followed up with moisturizer. I am often surprised to hear from other women that they don't really have a routine yet. This surprises me because my routine was established in my teenaged year, even if it wasn't by choice. It was more out of necessity. Nevertheless, I am thankful for being 'forced' into adopting a regular routine of washing my face and moisturizing because I think it has really helped my skin in the long run.
So am I “old” enough for anti-aging products? I think so. I do not think I will take the “go big or go home” approach, but I feel like my skin could benefit from a some anti-aging products. You cannot prevent the skin from aging, but thankfully I think I have done what I can to prevent any unnecessary premature aging. Do I feel 25? Most of the time, yes. Do I look 25? Not so much anymore and that's okay! The fine lines are starting to appear, but I still feel like they are few and far between at the moment. Do I look my age yet? To be honest, I like to think that I look a little younger than my true age of 34. Would I like to keep it that way? Absolutely! Not because I'm obsessed with aging or even obsessed with the way I look, but I will admit it would be nice to look a little closer to the age that I feel for as long as I possibly can!