Yes, we all get older. It’s only natural. But could your body be ageing faster than it should? In today’s world, with high stress levels, unhealthy lifestyles, an unforgiving sun and all the impurities in the air and around you every day, the short answer is: probably.
And the first place the signs of ageing are going to show up is your skin. Your body can’t talk to you, but it gives subtle hints: feeling tired and stressed, red or puffy eyes, changes in skin tone and texture, fine lines and wrinkles.
We’ve studied these “signs”, looked at what science says can cause them, from photo-ageing to free radicals and lifestyle, and come up with this 7-step action plan for looking younger for longer.
1. Wear sunscreen every day
Photo-ageing is one of the most common causes of premature ageing, and it is mainly because of sun exposure. “Photo” comes from the Greek word “Phos” which means light, photo-ageing is thus: ageing by light.
UV rays from the sun are known to cause: skin damage, free radicals in the body as well as direct and indirect DNA damage. And we’re not talking just about sunburn here, even if you are diligent and never actually burn, it’s the years and years of continued daily exposure to the sun that causes the real damage.
You need to wear sunscreen every day, winter and summer, especially in South Africa with its notoriously harsh sun. But it needn’t be a hassle: look for the sunscreen product in the skincare range you prefer. Lamelle Research Laboratories, for example, offers with most of its product ranges a sunscreen specially formulated to work with the other products in the range.
2. Wash your make-up off every day
Cruel truth: the very stuff many women use to cover up blemishes on their faces is probably making things worse. Make-up contains loads of chemicals, which, though specially designed to be safe, aren’t inherently good for skin and may clog pores. And impurities in the air tend to collect on make-up, causing free radicals to form.
Wash off your make-up and cleanse your face every day, and try to go make-up-free at least one day a week.
3. Focus on getting in antioxidants
The sun in combination with the oxygen in the body tends to naturally cause oxidation, which happens when free radicals are created: unstable molecules that damage the cells around them, leading to ageing and disease.
Antioxidants help neutralise free radicals in the body, protecting against this kind of damage. That’s why it’s important to not only get in loads of antioxidants through a healthy diet and supplements, but to also know which types of antioxidants are best for your skin, and insist on products that contain these.
4. Take action: look to correct and repair
Protecting against future damage with sunscreen and antioxidants is a must, but what about the damage that’s already in your skin? Even if you start doing everything on this list right now, it can’t erase any harm that’s already been done.
The good news is that there are products that can help reverse previous damage. Lamelle Research Laboratories’ all-new Nourish range contains some of the most advanced active ingredients available, able to actually reverse DNA damage in the skin. A patented enzyme in Nourish enhances repair and correction of DNA “dimers”, a common and previously unfixable type of DNA damage in skin.
5. See a professional
Products that come off the shelf are mass-produced and there’s never any guarantee they’ll actually work for you and your skin. Not to mention that, if you just buy off the shelf, you don’t get expert and individualised advice. It’s a shot in the dark, and it might work or might not, who knows?
On the other hand, a skin therapist, dermatologist or doctor is trained to analyse your individual skin, and come up with solutions that are unique for you. This kind of personal attention is the best way to get actual results. Plus, only a skincare professional is allowed to give treatments and provide you with products containing active ingredients, which are usually much more effective than a product you buy at any normal shop.
6. Have a good home skincare routine
Apart from the treatments a skin therapist or doctor can provide, they can also prescribe and train you in an effective home care regimen for achieving and maintaining your ideal skin.
Most home care routines follow the basic formula: cleansing, exfoliating, toning, moisturising and SPF etc. But the types of products you use (and their ingredients and formulation) will make all the difference to how effective your home care routine will be. Always follow your skincare advisor’s instructions to the letter.
7. Lead a healthy lifestyle
Remember how we said your skin reflects what’s going on in your body? Well it’s true. If you are healthy, your skin will be healthy too. That’s why it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle in general.
Skin-boosting lifestyle choices include:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat healthily
- Drink lots of water
- Try to manage your stress levels
- Exercise regularly
- Have a healthy sex life
- Take care of your body and mind
Got a photo-ageing question or tip to add? Leave your comments below.