Aging is a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to take care of our bodies as it happens. When it comes to our skin, many times we watch out for visible spots and inflammations and forget that lots is always happening under the surface. At a recent soiree, Elevate Magazine’s Spring Forward With Beauty, we got to speak with industry experts and learned some important things about how the skin and face changes as time passes. Here are our top 10 take-homes from the educational panel.
1. Age shows in the strangest places. There’s a reason why our beloved grandparents often have slack flesh around the jaw even if they’re stick-thin: as we grow older, teeth wear down and the jaw becomes smaller. The extra folds of skin naturally fall around our chin—thanks again, gravity—creating tiny swathes of skin and flesh that we recognize as jowls.
2. Skin damage usually beats you to the punch. Few of us are seriously thinking about our later years when we’re 25, but the rate of renewal of scars and hyper-pigmentation starts to dip even at that sprightly age. There’s no reversing time, of course, but what you can do starting earlier in your life is stop picking at your face, settle on a protective skincare routine and tell your younger friends immediately—it’s easier to prevent damage than to correct it after it’s done.
3. Sunscreen is your biggest protection against skin damage and aging, but unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as slapping your face and neck with some high-value SPF. Of all the different body parts, malignant melanomas are most commonly starting to be found in calves these days, which means that any flirtation with high-cut shorts or delicate skirts from now on should also factor in some serious UV protection for your gams and torso.
4. That being said, SPF is not enough: a moisturizer or serum with effective active ingredients should always be applied before sunscreen to keep your skin nourished. Hyaluronic acid or vitamin E does wonders for those with dry skin while vitamin C is a boon for uneven skin tones and pesky sun spots. A sunscreen that includes these ingredients would be ideal, as layering your defence is the only way to protect against unavoidable damage from free radicals. For brownie points, make sure you get an extra boost of actives in your night cream as well.
5. It sounds like a slick pun, but men do indeed age differently because their skin is thicker. Variety in social environments and thickness across ethnicities and age means that there aren’t any definitive rules on how much faster males age as compared to females, but thicker skin means more product is needed to achieve the same effect. Men should keep an eye on under-moisturizing or using products too weak to permeate their skin.
6. Blood flow slows with time, which is why skin loses elasticity and radiance. There’s no need to be too vigorous, but start incorporating facial massages into your routine when applying night creams, serums or moisture masks—a healthy circulation is the best way to ensure that your skin is able to keep up with your fast-paced lifestyle.
7. Shady ladies should beware. Sunglasses are must-haves since they prevent you from sun damage and wrinkles, but many times, if they rest on your face for too long or are dirty, they can pull on your skin and even introduce bacteria to the area. Keep them clean and make sure not to wear them excessively—if you often wear them indoors but they do make you peer and squint, consider breaking a bad habit or at least getting a prescription pair.
8. Beauty sleep is still critical. Your skin needs time to recover at night, but more importantly, you need to stop yawning that much in the mornings. Watery eyes lead to swelling and puffiness, and while your eyes will return to their normal size in minutes, when repeated over time, this swelling stretches and weakens the skin under the eyes, leading to bags and wrinkles. Do yourself a favour and get your full eight hours, especially with a comforting eye cream.
9. Health is built from within. What you eat is equally or more important than what you apply on your face: you should be eating well, eating regularly and ensuring that you’re getting the required doses of antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin D.
10. Don’t overcorrect. Newly minted beauty and cosmetic enthusiasts often plunge into excessive oil treatment and over-exfoliation, which can actually damage your moisture barrier or even create minuscule dry patches on your skin—in some cases, the boost in circulation will even increase melanin production, encouraging hyper-pigmentation. Strong actives like tea tree and retinol should be used only after consultation with a beauty professional or dermatologist, while less is definitely more with exfoliations and even the mildest glycolic peels.