The more you care for your skin earlier in life, the easier it will be to maintain later on. But this doesn’t mean all hope is lost if you’re over 40 and just now deciding to care about the health of your skin (especially after those fine lines and wrinkles become deeper and more noticeable). There are certain skincare ingredients that you can use that can definitely help.
Focusing on maintaining what you have as opposed to trying to reclaim what is lost is a healthier mindset and will lead to a lot less frustration as your skin matures. The good news: you can work towards changing the trajectory of how your skin functions and looks. I’m a prime example of this. I think my skin looks pretty good these days and I’m getting close to turning 60 in just a few years.
What is Happening to My Skin?
As you age, you’ll likely start to see more deep-set lines, dark spots, and a less plumpness. Skin starts losing around 10% of its collagen once you turn 30, so by the time you’re 40 your complexion might start looking uneven or even dull. Hormonal changes, especially, can cause dryness and discoloration.
You’ll find that your skin doesn’t easily bounce back anymore and healing takes more time than it used to. Spending time in the sun throughout your life has also broken down your levels of collagen quicker than your body can replace them.
What is Collagen?
The most abundant protein in mammals, collagen is found in bones, muscles, blood vessels, the digestive system, tendons, and skin. But most importantly, collagen is what gives our skin elasticity and strength as well as replaces dead skin cells.
The health of your skin is linked directly to collagen. It’s responsible for protecting your skin’s structure as well as maintaining a barrier to keep out toxins and other external agents that could be harmful to your body.
When collagen starts depleting in your skin, it means your skin can’t repair or protect itself from damage from the environment as it could when you were young. One of the best places to start with helping maintain healthy skin is to boost your collagen.
Can I Replenish Collagen?
While lotions and creams that are high in collagen can go a long way toward replenishing your skin, it’s best to also add foods to your diet that are rich in this nutrient. Thankfully, lots of options of foods that will help boost your collagen levels are likely already part of your diet.
● Meats such as beef, chicken, or pork are all high in collagen. Other meats such as goat, ox, and deer are also great options. Gelatin is another food that can help replenish collagen in your skin.
● Red vegetables and fruits such as red peppers, beets, strawberries, cherries, and apples contain lycopene, which is both an excellent antioxidant and helps promote collagen production. Other vegetables that are great for boosting collagen include eggplant, cabbage, endive, and spinach.
● Foods that are rich in sulfur compounds such as olives (black or green), celery, cucumber, garlic, onions, bananas, and even tofu all stimulate collagen production. A few other foods that are great to include in your diet are cheese, soy milk, nuts, tea, or potatoes.
How Can I Help My Skin Stop Aging Quickly?
It’s never too late to start an anti-aging skin regimen. Three ingredients are essential for your skin for different reasons.
● Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is a form of retinoid. It works to give your skin a boost in a healthy way by minimizing wrinkles and fine lines, diminishing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and smoothing the texture. Skin cells cease maturing as you age, so they start to pile up. Another thing retinol does is to train your cells to regularly renew themselves.
● Vitamin C plays a vital role in the natural collagen synthesis in your body, so it also helps fend off signs of aging. It can help damaged skin heal and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. If you’re getting enough vitamin C, it can also help prevent and repair dry skin.
● Glycolic Acid is a gentle exfoliator. This is helpful because it allows the superficial skin to come off and replace it with new skin while not damaging the skin underneath. In hospital dermatology departments or salons, high-concentration glycolic acid is used in a process known as chemical peeling. Low-concentration of glycolic acid can also result in similar effects if used long-term. Being an acidic substance, glycolic acid can cause allergies or skin irritation, pain or itching. So be sure to use it in small amounts and consult a dermatologist if you have an adverse reaction.
It’s imperative to use protection against the sun and avoid sunburn when using the ingredients mentioned above.
How Else Can I Help My Skin?
Seeing as you’re not a teenager anymore (and assuming you aren’t dealing with acne still), you can stop using harsh astringent toners or products that use salicyclic acid. Using either or both can cause your skin to dry and thin out. If you still choose to use these (I sometimes do), be sure that they’re formulated for mature skin.
Since your skin will be starting to dry out more as you age, it’s important to make sure you are hydrating your skin as much as possible. Thankfully, the skincare industry is way ahead of us on this front.
● Hyaluronic acid is one of the best ingredients you can use on your skin as you age. Not only does it work hard to hydrate your skin, but it helps maintain moisture, helps with tissue regeneration, smooths your skin’s texture, has anti-aging properties, helps reduce dermatitis, and has other benefits as well. If there’s one thing you add to your skincare regimen, this should be it. To make it most effective, always use on damp skin.
● Serums are also extremely helpful in reversing (or at least slowing) the aging process. If you have a targeted goal for your skin, using a serum (both day and night) will go a long way toward helping. Applying a serum under a moisturizer at night is the best way to use them.
● Overnight (specifically while you sleep) is your body’s opportunity to repair itself. Your skin cells actually regenerate fastest at night because of increased blood flow to your skin. Skin regeneration is actually at its height between 10pm and 2am, so layer on all the moisturizing products at bedtime! Sleeping masks can also be extremely helpful.