Your Best Age – Glow Magazine March/April 2007
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Your Best Age – Glow Magazine March/April 2007

Here’s how to get the best skin possible, no matter what your age.

By Dave Lackie

Nourish

Time to pay attention to ingredients. By the time you reach your mid-30s, the effects of sun damage begin to emerge: the first fine lines, small sunspots, or uneven skin tone. Skin dehydration also becomes more apparent, leading to the need for richer, creamier cleansers and heavier moisturizers. Cell turnover starts to slow, so using exfoliation to speed up the process becomes increasingly important.

The addition of multivitamins to your skin-care regime is key at this age. Vitamin A helps to normalize epidermal skin structures while vitamins C and E work in tandem to fight free radicals. Think of vitamins as CPR for the skin (correct, protect, renew). Make sure these vitamins are applied in a topical skin product, in addition to your daily multivitamin tablet. Of the vitamins that you swallow, less than 10% will make it to your skin.

Another good ingredient to look for is peptides. These help to stimulate collagen production. Keep applying a good quality SPF product and treat yourself to a moisturizing gel mask containing hyaluronic acid to further boost moisture levels.

Now is the time to pay particular attention to the quality of ingredients in your skincare products. It’s surprising how great the range of quality of a particular ingredient can be. For example, lavender grown on the shady side of a mountain will have very different properties and efficiencies compared to lavender grown on the sunny side. Don’t hesitate to call customer-service representatives or ask beauty experts about the ingredients in the products you use.

How sleep affects aging

“Sleep is important for cell repair and regeneration, and lack of essential sleep can impair these processes. The result is skin that does not look as healthy as it could be,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto-based dermatologist. “Good overall health, including proper diet, exercise, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking and good sleep habits will all help to improve skin’s appearance and its ability to heal itself.” Just how much sleep you need is up for debate. Most physicians recommend at least eight hours per night, but new studies recommend nine for optimum health. And no, you can’t save up a sleep debt during the week and pay it back on the weekend. The benefits of sleep are cumulative, so include enough hours of sleep in your anti-aging skin-care regime.

Repair

Target your skin care to personal needs

Skin conditions such as rosacea and spider veins emerge during this decade because capillaries become dilated and, in some cases, leak small amounts of blood. Uneven pigmentation from sun damage that occurred years ago appears in the form of liver spots and sun spots. During your 40s, your skin gradually thins as collagen and elastin production further slows. The elastin fibres crosshatch causing a top-heavy effect that can’t be supported by the lower levels of the skin. The result is deeper wrinkles. Cell production continues to slow and becomes irregular. Less Hyaluronic acid in the skin means skin looks less “plump.”

Now is the time to bump up exfoliation a little and make sure you are using products with

vitamins, peptides and essential oils. A richer eye cream will help hydrate the fragile under-eye area, and a heavier night cream will soothe and nourish drier skin conditions. Switch to a creamy mask as well. “It’s advisable that in order to maintain the results of a preventable skin-care regime, that you continue it daily,” says Dr. Kellett. The benefits come from regular, consistent use. At this age, it becomes even more important to avoid the urge to mix skin-care products from different brands. Cosmetic chemists spend upwards of seven years perfecting a product to ensure that all the ingredients work together and penetrate to the appropriate layers in the skin. Special care is taken when combining ingredients as one substance may react with another and cancel out the benefits of both. By mixing two completely different products, you can lose the efficacy of both. What’s more, each product within a brand’s range was created to work with its brand-mates, so staying within a brand allows you to benefit from this interaction. And that means better long-term results.

Pollution/Environmental Stress

Urban pollution is caused by oxidizing agents, mainly gaseous (nitrogenous oxides, ozone, sulphur, carbon), hydrocarbons, solvents, and dust of all kinds. All these substances will attach themselves to any exposed surface – including your skin. Not only do they adhere to your skin, they are able to enter the hydrolipidic film that naturally protects the skin. Once saturated, the hydrolipidic film is modified and will no longer protect the skin. Moreover, the film changes from being protective to being -aggressively harmful. Only one hour spent in a polluted urban area will make the hydrolipidic film aggressive. Once this alteration has occurred, the film will damage the skin until it is cleansed which generally take place at the end of the day. Contrary to sunrays that will no longer harm the skin once you’re in the shade, the pollutants stays on until removed. That said, your best defense is a proper cleansing routine and a moisturizer with antioxidants and vitamins.

Revitalize

Pack your skin care with extra power

Many people don’t realize that the body redistributes fat when you reach your 50s. Muscles slacken and weaken leading to sagging skin, particularly at the jawline and forehead. More fat accumulates around the stomach to protect your organs. Collagen and elastin break down and cell turnover slows significantly. This is when you should opt for the richest hydrating creams packed with peptides and vitamins. A strong antioxidant will help fight free radicals, and weekly masks rich in oil will help soothe skin. Lifestyle plays an important role during this decade, as years of stress can take their toll.

Now is the time to rework your basic skin-care regime, if you haven’t already. Many women forget that their skin type changes as they age. In some cases, women will still be using the products for oily skin that they first started buying while in their teens. Spend some time with a good beauty advisor or cosmetics manager and find out what condition your skin is in now. You’ll likely need to change to richer formulas with essential oils and vitamins. This one step can really improve your skin’s appearance.

The importance of exercise

There’s a reason that skin glows after a good workout. “Exercise increases blood flow to the skin, which delivers more oxygen to the cells and therefore improves skin appearance,” says Dr. Kellett. Even a brisk walk after dinner will improve circulation. Just be careful if you like extreme aerobic activities for extended periods, though. Too much intense exercise can irritate the skin and showering several times a day can lead to very dry skin conditions. If you shower often, make sure to choose a mild shampoo, and apply a good moisturizer while the face is still damp. This locks in more moisture. And always wear a full-spectrum sun block if you exercise outdoors.

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