We’ve all heard the old saying that age is just a number. And I personally believe that to be true.
If you keep your mind and body in good shape, stay active, creative and engaged, there’ s no reason to feel or act old. By doing this, your biological age (the age you are based on certain biomarkers associated with aging-I think of it as my real age) can be much lower than your chronological age (your age in actual years). I recently did a few questionnaires to figure out my current biological age (I tend to do this every year around my birthday) and found that my biological age is 20-25 years lower than my age in years. Yay!
But even if you live a healthy life style and have a biological age that’s lower than your chronological age, your skin may tell a different story.
And that’s ok. After about age 45, and certainly after menopause, your skin starts to fall into the category of “mature”. Mature skin is characterized by dryness, wrinkles, thinning, and sagging.
Regardless of what skin type you’ve always had, it ages in response to sun exposure, hormonal status, stress, inflammation and the normal age related cellular changes.
Some of these factors we have some control over, some are processes that started years ago (probably before you even knew to be aware of them), and some are just part of life.
This can be more of a challenge.
All those years of being outdoors without sunscreen, or worse, baking in the sun with a sheet of foil under your chin (who me?), take their toll.
Also known as photo damage” accounts for 90% of the visible signs of aging that you see before age 65-70. People who’ve had excessive sun exposure and damage are going to look older than their biological and chronological ages.
There are things you can do to look and feel better about your skin if it’s sun damaged. It’s never too late to improve your skin’s look and health. Adopting a consistent effective skin care routine and protecting your skin from further damage will make a big difference.
But the reality is that the deep damage is there to stay. That’s ok. Rather than hating the fine lines or wrinkles around your eyes, try remembering the awesome adventures, laughter, and good times that etched them there.
The most important thing you can do to keep your maturing skin healthy and looking its best is protect it from more sun damage.
One of the other major factors in how your skin ages is your hormones
I think by the time most of us reach our menopausal years, we realize that “anti-aging” is an impossible, and possibly stupid goal ( I mean, who really wants to look “well preserved’?). There’s no stopping time and no way to stop the changes it brings.
Menopause is a good example of age related change you have little control over. By and large, the age at which you stop having periods is controlled by your family genetics (if you haven’t had chemo, a hysterectomy, or medication that affects your reproductive flow). There’s no safe way to halt that process. It’s a natural part of life.
As far as your skin goes, peri-menopause and menopause are a big deal
The decline in estrogen production that happens during peri-menopause and menopause can cause the skin to become drier and sometimes itchy. Your skin also loses some of its ability to retain moisture.
This one of the reasons that protecting your skin barrier is so important. Moisturizing your skin is the key to keeping your skin barrier healthy. Essential fatty acids like omega-3s found in both foods and products can help.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin loses collagen more quickly during menopause. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its structure and firmness. Studies show that your skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of menopause. After that, the decline is more gradual. Women lose about 2% of their collagen every year for the next 20 years.
Don’t be discouraged. Knowledge is power.
If you, like me, want to look as good as you feel, there are some options.
The first is to commit to a consistent, effective skin care routine. Twice a day every day.
This includes wearing sunscreen every day whether you’re going to be indoors or out, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall.
Now is the time to add proven active ingredients
These can encourage collagen and elastin production, help your skin overcome environmental damage, and encourage faster cell turnover.
Here are a few active ingredients that have been studied extensively and proven to be helpful.
Retinol is the most studied and effective skin care ingredients. It’s made from vitamin A. Retinol smooths and tones your skin by encouraging cell turnover. It smooths fine lines, stimulates the production of collagen and reveals more radiant skin.
Peptides are protein fragments that signal your own skin to make more collagen and elastin (the protein that makes your skin elastic and bouncy). They help your skin be firmer and your complexion brighter.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in your skin, but over time you produce less of it. It’s important because it draws moisture to your skin and keeps it hydrated and plump. The good news is that you can add it back to your skin by using products that have hyaluronic acid as an ingredient (all SunWindSnow products have plant based hyaluronic acid as part of their formula).
Stress and inflammation (often a by product of stress) can also wreck havoc on your skin
Stress and inflammation damaging your skin cells and accelerating collagen and elastin breakdown. This is because stress and inflammation cause free radicals to form (also known as oxidative stress). Antioxidants can help offset the damage but the real antidote is less stress.
Reducing your stress response through your lifestyle (exercise, good diet, time out for meditation and relaxation) can really help. Ditto eating a diet that’s heavy on veggies and fruits and light on processed foods and sugar.
There are lots of antioxidants. Some active ingredients that supply antioxidants directly your skin are:
Probably the most extensively studied antioxidant vitamin. Did you know your skin contains a lot of vitamin C. It helps to protect it from photo damage and environmental insults. But over time, the amount in your skin goes goes down. Adding it in with your products can give you a brighter complexion and as well as antioxidant protection.
Also a well known antioxidant. It’s added to a lot of products because it also keeps oils and butters from going rancid.
Plant stem cells are taken from the parts of plants where growing happens. They’re super sustainable and loaded with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredients plus a ton of other nutrients.
These are some of my favorite ingredients. Certain herbs (gotu kola, green tea, ginseng, reishi mushroom, gingko, and more) are known as adaptogens. They help your skin adapt to changing conditions (like stress) and are loaded with anti-oxidants and anti inflammatory properties.
Of course, we use all of these in SunWindSnow’s products. They’re designed as a system to work together to give you everything your skin needs and wants.
Be proactive, not reactive
We’re all getting older. There is no way to stop the clock and there’s no anti-aging. That’s ok. It’s natural. It’s life.
You can age well, live a full and active life, and look great doing it.
As far as your skin goes, the most important thing is to protect it and take care of it. A consistent effective skin care routine is the way to make this happen.
It’s the best way to be proactive in maintaining your skin as you grow older. And keep your skin looking radiant.
Like most things worth doing, it doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t try something for a week and decide whether it’s working or not. Like it or not, improving your mature skin takes time.
By the time your skin is in the mature category, your skin cell turnover may be approaching 50-60 days. This is the minimum time to expect improvement.
Just like with exercise, diet, and other good habits that lower your biological age, getting your best skin takes consistent practice and some time. You’ll see changes along the way, but real results are going to take a few weeks to a few months to see.
No reason to delay, get started now
Take a before picture if you want. Commit to a consistent effective skincare routine with proven active ingredients. See how much better your skin is by spring.
If you’d like help in figuring out a skin care routine that works for you and your lifestyle, I’m here to help. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a free 15 minute consult.