Try to avoid it as we might, none of us are immune to the hands of time. Aging is perhaps the most natural process we face as humans, and it is often most visibly marked by the changes in our skin. Our skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. The center dermis layer is primarily responsible for the production of collagen and elastin fibers, and as we age, that production slows, resulting in wrinkling and sagging. This process is an example of intrinsic aging, which is an internal process and takes place over the course of our lives regardless of external influences.
Intrinsic aging’s counterpart is extrinsic aging, which we can exercise a bit more control over. Extrinsic aging is caused by exposure and damage from the environments we find ourselves in. The thickening of the epidermis, skin cancers, sunspots, uneven tones and textures, and deepening wrinkles are all results of extrinsic aging.
In the face of our quest for perpetual youth, companies are constantly developing and improving the anti-aging properties of their products. First and foremost in the prevention of extrinsic aging is sunscreen – the final and most vital step of any skincare routine – and choosing a sunscreen with a broad spectrum of protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) is a must. Choosing a sunscreen that doubles as a moisturizer will assist in keeping skin hydrated and supple.
Retinoids forms of vitamin A that are naturally occurring – are also highly recommended in combatting aging skin. As you consume foods that contain vitamin A (milk, eggs, fish products) your body converts them into forms it can use to speed up the cell turnover process. Pairing a vitamin A-rich diet with a topical retinol cream or retinoic acid can help skin shed dead cells more quickly and increase collagen production. In addition to vitamin A, vitamin C is a common active ingredient in skin care products. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and can be used to brighten sunspots and liver spots over time.
Ingredients commonly found in over-the-counter cleansers, moisturizers, and toners have also been proven beneficial to aging skin. Niacinamide and various acids such as salicylic, glycolic, lactic, azelaic, and hyaluronic often contribute to easing the effects of aging, particularly in fine lines and wrinkles on the face and neck.
Those of us seeking to repair damage done to skin over time should regularly consult our estheticians, as they may be able to provide additional treatments such as Viora treatments, which delivers radio frequency energy to underlying layers of skin. This particular treatment stimulates existing collagen and elastin and improves the elasticity of the skin.
Estheticians may also suggest chemical peels to remove the outer layer of dead skin to make room for the new, less damaged layer underneath.