Skin ageing is caused by two main processes; intrinsic, or chronological (natural), and extrinsic, or environmental (atmospheric), they both contribute to the visible signs you may see on your skin, such as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and discolouration.
The process of skin ageing is inevitable, but understanding how and why it happens can help you manage the signs of skin ageing more effectively and help you better select an anti-ageing cream or serum and other anti-ageing solutions to improve skin’s overall health and appearance.
What is intrinsic or chronological (natural) ageing and what are the visible signs?
Intrinsic ageing, also known as chronological or natural ageing, is largely driven by genetics. The visible signs appear most commonly as dry skin, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and increased pore size. With age, the skin’s oil glands produce less oil and necessary fats, resulting in dehydration, lines, and more vulnerable skin. Simultaneously, skin naturally loses collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles, laxity, and enlarged pores. Furthermore, years of constant facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, frowning, and squinting, also contribute to wrinkles around the mouth, eyes, and forehead.
What is extrinsic or environmental (atmospheric) ageing and what are the visible signs?
Extrinsic ageing or environmental and atmospheric ageing is due to external factors like UV, pollution, smoking, sleep deprivation, stress, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition that ultimately cause skin to prematurely age. While there are many external factors that contribute to skin ageing, research has shown UV and pollution to be primary causes. Both of these atmospheric factors create free radicals that ‘eat away’ at skin’s collagen and elastin, and reduce healthy cell turnover, resulting in skin roughness, wrinkling, and sagging. Persistent or constant exposure to the sun’s rays also affects skin’s natural production of melanin causing discolouration, most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, arms, and hands.
Anti-ageing products for a targeted skincare regimen
Regardless of the cause of skin ageing, it is never too early to start incorporating an anti-ageing cream or serum into your skin care routine. Prevention and protection are the two essential steps of the best anti-ageing skincare regimen. Using a topical vitamin C antioxidant serum and a sunscreen every morning helps prevent and protect skin from direct UV damage as well as damaging free radicals that cause premature skin ageing. Anti-ageing skin care products can also be incorporated into your routine to help improve the appearance of existing signs of ageing, such as fine lines, wrinkles, skin discolouration, dehydration, loss of elasticity, and more. For optimal effectiveness, a SkinCeuticals skincare professional can create a customised anti-ageing regimen based on your skin’s needs and your goals.
What ingredients should I look for when purchasing anti-ageing products?
When shopping for anti-ageing products, it is best to look for ingredients and formulations that are backed by evidence-based science and clinical studies to support their claims, meaning the claims are made on the final formula and the studies are performed on human subjects vs. in-vitro (cell cultures or reconstructed skin). This helps sift through the hype and ensure that anti-ageing benefits have been proven. Many ingredients may have powerful claims or supporters behind them, but it does not mean these ingredients have been proven effective when used on live skin, or even in the final formula. With that said, some ingredients have been researched more than others and are backed by years of real life research.
Vitamin C is one of the most effective and extensively studied antioxidants available in skincare today, it is favoured by skincare professionals for its preventative and anti-ageing benefits on skin. However, there are many different forms of vitamin C. For optimal free-radical protection, look for pure ascorbic acid (l-ascorbic acid) on the ingredient label. In addition to neutralising free radicals and preventing premature ageing, l-ascorbic acid has anti-ageing benefits that include improving the appearance of wrinkles and loss of firmness. Additional antioxidants that also provide prevention against premature ageing and anti-ageing benefits are ferulic acid, vitamin E (in its alpha-tocopherol form), phloretin, and resveratrol.
Retinol is another essential anti-ageing ingredient. It is a form of vitamin A, a retinoic acid, and has decades of research and proof behind its efficacy on signs of ageing, such as fine lines and discolouration. Similar to vitamin C, there are many forms of retinol. For maximum anti-ageing results, always look for ”retinol” on a product’s list of ingredients. Other derivatives such as retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinaldehyde are not as effective.
What anti-ageing aesthetic procedures or treatments can help improve visible signs of ageing?
While effective skincare is the basis of any anti-ageing regimen, advances in aesthetic procedures and treatments offer the ability to powerfully transform skin’s appearance, in the form of lasers, chemical peels, injectables, like neurotoxins and soft tissue fillers, and more. We recommend consulting with a medical aesthetic practitioner who can create a customised treatment plan according to your needs, goals, and budget.
When should I start using anti-ageing products?
At SkinCeuticals we believe prevention is the best anti-ageing correction. Prevention is key for delaying the appearance of visible signs of ageing. Studies have shown that those who start a consistent sun protection routine early have less premature ageing. To keep skin looking its best is to ward off the damage caused by environmental aggressors like UV rays and pollution. Using a vitamin C daytime antioxidant serum and a sunscreen will go a long way in helping to prevent against premature ageing caused by environmental aggressors such as UV rays and pollution.