Anti aging is a bit of a misnomer and I've yet to meet anyone who has turned back the hands of time. However, as we age our skin becomes depleted of nourishment and hydration which leads to pre-mature skin aging. Anti aging skin care products are formulated to renew and reclaim our youthful appearance. Through a combination of hydration, protection with antioxidants, and anti wrinkle creams and moisturizers, those of us in the baby-boomer stage of life can add years to aging or damaged skin.
Anti aging skin care begins with several fundamentals we should all follow together with the use of effective skin care products. Diet, fitness and health, together with maintaining proper hydration for healthy cell membranes and a bit of scientific "know-how", allows us to look years younger, slow or halt pre-mature aging, improve suppleness and smoothness, and somewhat "turn back the hands of time".
Keeping Your Skin Clean
As simple as this may sound, many skin problems result from lack of proper cleansing. Clogged pores can cause skin rashes, rosacea, blackheads and whiteheads, and prevent the proper irrigation of pores. Dermal layers require adequate moisture andcirculation; and nutrition can be hampered without proper cleansing. As part of a daily skin care regimen, using a facial cleanser in the morning and at night before bed is recommended. Avoid cleansers with harsh surfactants that may irritate the skin - this only worsens the problem and my offset gains from products formulated to treat or protect.
Oily or dry skin may need special attention, but a good, deep cleaning, removing makeup and pat drying are the first best steps towards protecting your skin from aging quicker than you would like.
Hydrating Your Skin
You have probably heard by now that our bodies are made-up in large part of water. Water is the primary component of skin cells, so it holds true that proper hydration is important. Moisture content directly effects healthy cell maturation and development, while improving circulation and delivery of nutrients. Maintaining adeqaute levels of bodily fluids is a must. As the doctor says, drink plenty of fluids and avoid liquids high in caffeine and sugar. Caffeine is a diuretic that acts to deplete fluids and sugar is known to increase metabolism, both flushing nutrients and reducing fluid levels. It goes without saying diet and regular exercise and stopping smoking (if you do) are hugely helpful.
Anti Aging Skin Care
Though anti aging covers a broad topic, to keep the conversation succinct and to focus on the most effective products, anti aging skin care can be categorized into a relatively small group:
Antioxidant Skin Care
Granted this is not an all encompassing list, but it covers many of the skin care issues we face as we age. Skin care is fundamentally developed to address symptoms, but effective products can remedy the causes as well. Let's take a closer look look at anti aging skin care and how it can help in our anti aging "quest".
Wrinkle treatment comes primarily in the form of wrinkle creams formulated to reduce the density and depth of wrinkles. Many provide added hydration that acts to reinforce and provide nutrients to cell membranes - improving the skin's health, while improving healthy cell rejuvenation. Argireline and Matrixyl are two of the most commonly used active ingredients. These peptide compounds act similar to BOTOX in that they relax facial tissue - smoothing wrinkled skin and eliminating fine lines. Many are somewhat temporary in nature, though consistent use will aid to further prevent wrinkles. Common in anti wrinkle eye and face cream, Argireline and Matrixyl are also effective for use on the neck (where my wrinkles started) and on the chest. Hyaluronic Acid is alo useful in wrinkle treatment. Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies. It helps cells retain moisture and acts to plump and smooth. Used as an active ingredient in wrinkle creams, it has a cumulative effect in relaxing and smoothing wrinkles.
Antoxidant skin care should not be overlooked. Free-radicals produced from naturally occuring oxidization destroys cells - and are especially fond of skin cells. Antoxidants are common in many fruits and vegetables. In particular, Green Tea, Idebenone and coffee. All three have found themselves as popular ingredients in anti aging skin care. Green Tea in particular is promoted in both consumables (tea), moisturizers, and topical serum applications. Free-radicals, in a nut shell, lead to pre-mature skin aging and can be accelerated if you smoke or are over exposed to the sun. Using an antioxidant as part of your anti aging program is a great step in the right direction.
I turned 50 last year...mmm...I still feel 30, but I've started noticing some things on my skin that I only linked to my grandmother - age spots. As we age melanin pigment in our skin loses its ability to protect from sun damage, thus dark, brown or age spots appear. Bleaching or skin whitening creams can be effective reducing the appearance of age spots, but should be used with care. Many whitening agents make skin sensitive - and sensitive to the sun. Also, use should be confined to the age spots themselves, unless used in light(er) formulations for overall skin lightening.
Dry skin is the hidden villain of aging skin. As we age our skin naturally loses moisture, the ability to retain hydration, and this leads to amplifying other skin problems such as, wrinkles, rashes, and psoriasis. Using a nightly cream that moisturizes is the best advice. Avoid the sun, drink plenty of fluids, and attempt to eat fruits and raw vegetables if possible. As mentioned, many products utilize Hyaluronic Acid to aid moisture retention. Often found in face applications, it is also used successfully in body lotions and creams. In the past couple of years, Emu Oil has also become a favorite in anti aging skin care. Emu Oil is known to penetrate into the dermis and subcutaneous skin layers and is super-moisturizer. It also has anti-inflammatory properties as well as being an antibacterial. It has carrier benefits allowing it to "carry" other anti aging ingredients deeper into the skin - improving their effectiveness. Like Hyaluronic Acid, it can be found in body lotions and creams for the eyes and face.
Enlarged pores create havoc on the face. A result of heredity, clogged pores, or excessive oils, enlarged pores accumulated dirt, oil and dead skin cells. Often they lead to rough skin, bacterial infections, blemishes, swelling and irritation, inflammation, or acne and rosacea. Daily and effective cleansing usually helps reduce pore size and irrigates bacteria-laden pores. Light use of makeup or using mineral makeup that does not irritate the skin and cause inflammation are recommended. Many skin care products use either Emu oil or Alpha Hydroxy crystals to clean bacteria and reduce pore size. Both are effective active ingredients and when used in concert, help clean and clear your complexion and make skin pores smaller.
Ah...if you're still with me, there are just a few items to cover - but, they are the top-three on the countdown list. Let's start by discussing body firming lotions. Again, I know you're tired of hearing this, as we age our skin loses elasticity and elastin fiber production drops. So?...well, this causes loose skin. Outside the more obvious causes of lack of exercise and diet, collagen production and elastin development diminishes. Combined with depleted hydration, you get a one-two punch for loose and sagging skin. To get skin tight, body firming lotions use a complex of ingredients that firm and tighten skin, improve hydration, and nourish for optimal cell reproduction. Many body firming lotions use Collagen III, Emu Oil, a firming peptide complex, and nutrients and amino acids that act together to firm sagging skin. Particularly useful on the arms, stomach, neck, and legs, these lotions tighten skin while adding moisturization.
Spider veins are generally the result of several common occurrences - weight gain, pregnancy, having work responsibilities that require you to be on your feet a lot, or often from sun exposure - especially facial spider viens. Considered a result of damaged or weak veins and capillaries, spider veins occur when damaged valves allow blood flow to get in, but not get out. Weight gain and gravity complicate the problem and in some respects may contribute to the problem. Anti aging skin care focuses on two results. One, healing or strengthening the vessel walls. There are several active ingredients considered useful in helping the vessels and restoring healthy walls, but Vitamin k is consider the most effective currently. Two, you can cover them up. Repairing spider veins usually requires a spider veins cream or a spider veins treatment. In fact, I had several facial spider veins removed from below my eyes and at the top of my nose with laser treatment - the result of too many days in the Florida sun growing up, per my dermatologist. But, I have had great success using a cream enriched with Vitamin K and have experienced measurable and noticeabole clearing since use. But, back to covering them up. Many folks have begun using spray-on pantyhose (men and women) to add some tint and color to their legs as the warmer seasons approach. Many spray-ons are formulated to not run when wet or to give you a weird coloring. Often available in a variety of shades, they can be chosen to give you a hint of color that matches your body without being noticeable.
Finally, whew, stretch marks. Though not necessarily at the top of the anti aging list, they are a common problem that folks like to address, especially as they age and become more "aware" of their bodies or pass through the child-bearing age. Stretch marks are often result from childbirth, pregnancy, weight loss and gain, and are common among body builders. Simply, stretch marks are just that, marks created when the skin stretches faster that the skin can keep-up. Elastin and collagen are not able to reproduce quickly enough to counteract the stretching and the result is scarred and torn tissue. Underlying the obvious, stretch marks core issue is elasticity and hydration. There's that word again. True, though. If you are experiencing weight gain or are pregnant, using a stretch mark cream developed to add moisture and hydration has been shown to significantly reduce or even prevent stretch marks. If you already have them, as the title of this article suggests, there are several options. Again, a stretch marks and scar cream helps increase collagen and elastin fiber production. If used with ingredients that stimulate healthy cell reproduction, consistent, disciplined use can often marks and scars. An alternative is to use soft light laser therapy. Low-level lasers emit light waves in oscillations that have been shown to stimulate cell growth and increase circulation. Used for many applications such as scars, burns, sores, and blemishes, low level "soft light" lasers have been shown effective.
Anti aging is a goal we all have and can be effectively dealt with using anti aging skin care. The reduction or elimination of wrinkles, smoother, softer clear skin, protection with antioxidant products, a firmer, tighter body and the elimination or fading of spider veins and stretch marks is possible with the right skin care products. Though it's a lot to consider, a skin care regimen focused on cleansing, moisturizing, and treating will to give you substantial short-term and long-term benefits.