With age comes experience, wisdom and - most importantly - beauty. We’ve entered a new age of skin care that celebrates the aging process and embraces the changes it brings. Instead of concentrating on anti-aging, it’s time to focus on keeping your skin healthy and radiant, no matter your age. Read on for our guide to aging gracefully.
How Skin Ages
Just like the rest of the body, our skin gets older with time. For some, the aging process is slow and steady, while for others it can accelerate at a quick pace. The rate of skin aging differs from person to person and depends on a variety of factors including genetics, lifestyle and exposure to environmental stressors.
Two Aging Processes
As we get older, our bodies naturally start to age. This process - also referred to as intrinsic aging - is a continual process by which our cellular and biological functions slow. With time, the skin’s strong and flexible matrix begins to weaken and hyaluronic acid, elastin and collagen naturally deplete.
Our bodies are also subject to extrinsic aging caused by exposure to environmental stressors. These include lifestyle choices like smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise as well as external factors like pollution, blue light radiation and UV rays from the sun. Intrinsic aging accounts for only 10 percent of skin changes; the remaining 90 percent is caused by these external influences which accelerate the aging process.
How does environmental aging happen? Pollution, blue light and UV rays expose skin to free radicals. Heidi Waldorf MD likens these highly reactive molecules to “anti-oxygen bombs that trigger inflammation and cascades of damage” (SELF). Unchecked, free radicals cause oxidative stress that damages the skin, degrades its structural proteins and leads to premature aging.
When the skin is repeatedly exposed to free radicals, a process called inflammaging can kick in. Eminence Organics Product Development Manager Patty Connor breaks it down: “Inflammaging is a term used to describe aging induced by chronic, persistent, underlying inflammation that ultimately exhausts the skin’s defense system. This weakens skin structure, results in the degradation of collagen and elastin and impairs the skin’s barrier function.”
Signs Of Aging
As we age, it’s normal for our years to begin to show on our faces. Here are a few signs of aging that develop due to the loss of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin over time.
Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin are what keeps the skin plump, firm and elastic. They give skin the density and bounce typical of a youthful complexion. As they degrade, the skin loses moisture, structural support and elasticity. It can’t bounce back from repetitive motions (like frowning and smiling) and begins to fold in on itself, causing creasing in the form of fine lines and wrinkles (hello, forehead lines).
As it loses strength, the skin also has greater difficulty defying the pull of gravity. Inelastic skin starts to slacken and hang more loosely, especially around the lower face and neck. Eminence Organics International Trainer Brian Goodwin explains: “When the foundation slips, we see jowls form, loosening of the tissue around the eyes and an overall drooped appearance for the entire face.”
When the foundation slips, we see jowls form, loosening of the tissue around the eyes and an overall drooped appearance for the entire face.
Another sign of aging skin is hyperpigmentation in the form of sun and age spots. In aging skin, these dark spots are typically brought on by years of sun exposure. When faced with UV rays, the skin protects itself by triggering the production of a pigment called melanin. As time passes and the skin’s melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) are stimulated over and over, they start to overproduce and cause deposits of pigment on the skin’s surface.
How To Maintain Healthy Skin
While you can’t turn back the hands of time, you can make simple changes that ease the aging process. There are several ways to keep aging skin in good shape, including adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet and using results-oriented skin care.
One of the best ways to minimize the visible signs of inflammaging is to cut down on stress. According to the Huffington Post, studies show that people with high levels of stress have shorter telomeres, causing cells to die or become damaged more quickly. Adopting healthy habits like regular exercise, meditation and a sleep schedule can help ease stress and by extension, slow premature aging.
Another way to help your skin age gracefully is to adjust your diet. Sugar, salt and alcohol are key culprits of premature aging - and can easily be cut down. Swap in antioxidant-rich foods such as berries and leafy greens to assist your body in fighting free radicals. And, (surprise!) drink plenty of H2O to keep your skin (and body) hydrated and healthy.
You can also minimize the visible signs of aging with topical skin care. Applying skin care products that restore moisture, deliver antioxidant-rich ingredients and promote healthy cell renewal are key to keeping skin youthful. Here are a few ingredients to look for when you’re selecting products for your skin care routine:
Skin Care Routine For Aging Skin
To make things easy, we’ve consulted with Eminence Organics Product Support Team Lead Alicia Hawthorne to compile the best steps (and products) for your aging skin care routine. Here are her top picks for two sets of skin types - normal to dry and combination to oily.
1. Cleanser (Twice Daily)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser
- Combination To Oily Skin: Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser
2. Toner (Twice Daily)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist
- All Skin Types: Mangosteen Revitalizing Mist
3. Essence (Twice Daily)
- All Skin Types: Birch Water Purifying Essence
4. Exfoliant (1-3x Per Week)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel
- Combination To Oily Skin: Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant
5. Mask (1-3x Per Week)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Bamboo Age Corrective Masque
- Combination To Oily Skin: Eight Greens Phyto Masque (or, choose the hot version for a spicy treatment!)
6. Concentrate, Serum Or Oil (Daily)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Bamboo Firming Fluid and/or Rosehip Triple C & E Firming Oil
- Combination/Oily Skin: Citrus & Kale Potent C & E Serum and/or Facial Recovery Oil
Pro Tip: Layer the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum, Marine Flower Peptide Serum and Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil for a potent dose of antioxidants and botanical peptides.
7. SPF Moisturizer (Morning)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Lilikoi Mineral Defense Moisturizer SPF 40
- Combination To Oily Skin: Red Currant Protective Moisturizer SPF 40
8. Eye Cream (Twice Daily)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream
- Combination To Oily Skin: Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum
9. Night Care (Night)
- Normal To Dry Skin: Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream for Face & Neck
- Combination To Oily Skin: Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream
Target The Visible Signs Of Aging
Armed with the basics for your skin type, you can target specific signs of aging with these additional hero products.
Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Concentrate: Bamboo Firming Fluid
Ready to age gracefully? For a skin care routine tailored to your unique skin type and concerns, book a consultation with a licensed esthetician at an Eminence Organics Spa Partner near you.
This article was originally written by Alisha Whitley in October 2019.