If there is one collective ideology amongst women (and a lot of men) that exists, then it is the wish to grow old beautifully. In other words; we do want the wisdom but not the saggy skin, pigment spots and the deep lines. A bit more Audrey Hepburn and a bit less Bardot...And that makes us easy prey for all those cosmetic manufacturers that want us to believe that youth is contained in a pot. The average sober minded Dermatologist believes that all those expensive creams are nonsense. And that you are better off smearing in a bit of oil and washing with water. So the products can go in the bin! And if you ask some more you'll find that the Dermatologist in question has never even read one scientific publication in this area. The reality is not so clear-cut. For, if we know how to look after and protect our skin we can still look lovely well into our 80's! And without plastic surgery. No time to waste....
Ageing and ageing
There are two types of ageing of the skin; intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. Intrinsic skin ageing, or natural skin ageing (caused by our own genes), gives us fine lines, a thinner skin, reduced fat and bone mass whereby the face begins to sinks in, and a more dry skin. But the sallow, thickened, tough almost leather like skin with pigment spots and deep wrinkles is the consequence of extrinsic skin ageing. As the name suggests, extrinsic skin ageing comes from external factors. Alongside sun ,the main causes are smoking, chronic skin irritation by, for example, misuse of cosmetic products, facial expressions (such as frowning) and alcohol use. Watch out, extrinsic ageing begins a lot earlier than natural ageing and has a much bigger impact on your ageing process! Especially if you have pale skin...
6 Golden rules
And now the good news, you can really do something about extrinsic skin ageing. And those couple of fine wrinkles that are still visible are really not so bad! You just need to think that they give you character...
- Daily sun cream
No sun no wrinkles! I say it more often. Considering that 90% of skin ageing is due to the sun, the most important measure that you can take is to protect your skin against the sun. Don't use a sunbed as the UVA rays from the sunbed age your skin even more rapidly. Protect your skin daily with a sun cream containing SPF 15 and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (read more here).
- Stop smoking
Smokers don't only get more wrinkles around the mouth. Through the reduced circulation and an increased amount of radicals the skin becomes thicker, attains an unhealthy pallid yellowish complexion and wrinkles appear at a younger age. Even stopping after long term smoking can improve the skin's appearance (read more here).
- Less sugar and alcohol in moderation
Even carbohydrates cause wrinkles. These attach to certain substances in the skin which in turn damage collagen and elastin. A study which was published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2007 demonstrated that this "sugar effect" becomes visible from the age of 35. And although a glass of wine contains anti-oxidants, over consumption of alcohol can also accelerate ageing of the skin. So enjoy in moderation.
- Relaxed throughout life
It is scientifically proven that stress can accelerate your skin's ageing process. Chronic stress causes more free radicals and an accelerated break down of our genetic material. Through this the cells stop dividing earlier and we age.
- Use good cosmetic products
Good skincare is essential for maintaining beautiful skin. Choose mild products, given that irritating substances can prematurely age your skin. A sun filter is even more essential. A cream with anti-oxidants can also prevent the onset of the signs of ageing. Furthermore research has revealed that ingredients such as glycolic acid, vitamin C, Niacinamide really improve the skin. If it is too late for that, then an option is to apply vitamin A acid cream.
Would you like to know the best way in which to look after your skin (and what not to do), then do the skin analysis here for personal advice. You can see my blog product advice for suitable products.
Have a good weekend,
(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can also read the blogs 'the recipe for beautiful skin',
'Argan oil: the new wonder product?',
'the search for your wonder cream',
'a good sun cream?',
'You are so red' (relating to sunburn)
'special skincare for men' and
'an exfoliant as part of the step by step plan'.