How To Maintain Youthful Skin

What if I told you there is a 90% chance of you winning the lottery if you follow just a few steps? You’d be chomping at the bit. Think of the next few tips as your winning ticket to beautiful skin.

How your skin ages depends on two main factors: Intrinsic and Extrinsic.

10% of how your skin ages are due to intrinsic factors, or your genetic and chronological aging.

That means 90% is completely based on what you allow your skin to be exposed to, or extrinsic factors.

Compare the skin on your body that is continuously exposed to your environment to the skin that is always protected with clothing. A good example is the skin on your face compared to the skin on your tush. I am willing to bet the skin on your face looks like it’s been through more wear and tear.

Sun exposure plays a large part in damaging and aging your skin. It makes up to 80% of preventable damage.

The older we get, our bodies become less efficient at protecting us from the environment. Depending on your environment, you may be exposed to pollutants, exhaust, smog, and cigarette smoke on a daily basis.

Lifestyle factors like eating unhealthy foods, going out for drinks excessively and lack of sleep can cause a myriad of skin problems to include acne, dehydrated and dull skin, and signs of premature aging.

I’m not saying be a recluse and place yourself in a bubble. What I am saying is be aware of the damage these factors can cause and adjust your life accordingly.

Once a year you see your primary care physician and most of us will get advice that sounds something like this, “Drink more water, cut out the bad food and replace it with more fruits and veggies. Reduce the stress in your life and get more sleep.” Miraculously, this medical advice will also help you achieve healthy skin.

A good skincare regimen is imperative to achieving youthful skin.

If you wanted your own garden so you could have fresh food everyday, but didn’t want to put the time in to caring and providing for your garden, you will not see its full potential to grow plump and quality produce. Think of skin as your clingy significant other that requires much attention. A good basic skincare routine goes something like this:

1. Wash your face

You want to rid your face of all the impurities you come in contact with during the day with a cleanser appropriate for your skin type

2. Pat your face dry

Never rub or tug at your skin as it can damage it and create wrinkles over time. I think it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, be sure the towel is clean.

3. Moisturize your face

Use a formula appropriate for your skin type and the weather (a lighter formula for hot and humid seasons, and a thicker formula during harsh cold and dry seasons).

4. ALWAYS wear sunscreen

Look for protection from UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 30+. The only excuse not to wear sunscreen is if it is nighttime or you are staying in doors. Even then, I always apply it in the morning if there is any possibility I’ll be out when the sun is out.

Do this routine twice a day, omitting the sunscreen at night, and you’ve got yourself a reliable routine.

If you are unhappy with visible signs of aging, there are a few ingredients you can include to combat these issues.

Considering your skin cell life cycle slows as you age, a good exfoliant will aid in sloughing off dead skin.

You want to look for a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical exfoliant, as rubbing a rough texture on your face actually creates micro tears on the new skin below the dead top layer of skin, leaving it damaged and inflamed.

Two chemical exfoliants are AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids).

They both reveal new skin and diminish dark spots. The difference is AHAs have humectant properties, which means it holds moisture into the skin. BHAs, on the other hand, are optimal for acne-prone skin because it dissolves the dirt and dead skin cells that like to settle into the pores. They do not contain humectant properties, and can be a bit drying to the skin.

Both do cause photo-sensitivity and should be applied at night alternating between the two, or using the one that works best for your skin. Using both exfoliants in the same night is unnecessary and could be too harsh.

Peptides are also a great ingredient to incorporate into a routine. Collagen gives our skin strength and elasticity, creating a smoother and firmer surface.

You want to maintain the production of collagen to keep your skin looking young. Unfortunately, our bodies produce less collagen as we age.

Every time a collagen protein breaks down, it forms a smaller chain of amino acids (peptides).

These peptides send messages to your body that it lost collagen and must produce more.

If we can send more of these messages to our body without losing an equal amount of collagen, we can increase the longevity of our skin’s health and aesthetics.

That is exactly what peptides like Matrixyl (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide 4) and Matrixyl synthe 6 (Palmitoyl Tripeptide 38) do. Once applied topically, it sends a message to your body to produce more collagen.

Argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide 3) is made of similar peptide compoounds as Botox, but instead of paying an arm and a leg for an invasive procedure that requires a trained professional to administer, you can simply look for this ingredient in your topical serum and gain similar effects.

Both Botox and Argirelilne relaxes the muscles in your face to rid the skin of fine lines and wrinkles.

The last ingredient is probably one of the most powerful ingredients you can put on your skin. L-ascorbic acid is the purest form of Vitamin C and the only effective form for your skin.

If you see Vitamin C listed as an ingredient, always look for at least 10% L-ascorbic acid to ensure it will be beneficial.

A lot of companies will put Vitamin C in their product without containing any L-ascorbic acid as a marketing tool. The sun will oxidize and destroy all of its wonderful benefits, so make sure to apply this at night.

When used properly, it destroys free radicals, evens out texture and tone of the skin and reduces acne.

It’s also the only antioxidant that has been proven to promote collagen production and minimize wrinkles and scars. It’s a miracle Vitamin that everyone should use for their skin.

Now that you know the way skin ages and what factors speed up this process, you can effectively avoid further damage by altering your lifestyle.

Remember to look at the ingredients when purchasing any skincare product. Don’t be intimidated by words like “acid” as we see some acids are quite beneficial.

If you are unsure about an ingredient or how it may affect your skin specifically, you can consult a dermatologist before trying out the product.

You can also do a spot test on a small patch of skin. Incorporate a skincare regimen that is right for your skin type and stick to it religiously.

Here’s to a UVR protected, hydrated and plumped epidermis for decades to come!

- Angela Moran of L'ange Epure