This article is not a ‘Who Dun It’ so we will tell you the answer at the beginning…
1. Great Sun Protection
2. Great Skin Care Products
5. Regular Salon Treatments
6. Collagen rebuilding
Obviously you are looking for a bit more than just a list so we will expand it out a bit more, but firstly it may be useful to understand how your skin is made up and when and why it ages. With this information it will make it easier to start planning for great skin for the future.
Having great looking skin is something most of us aspire to but unfortunately as the years start to tick on, the skin starts to age. The sun, our diets and even our genes play a role in how well we age. Wrinkles, fine lines and dull skin can happen at virtually any time during your life, although you will probably start noticing your skin changing from mid twenties to 30.
Intrinsic ageing is the first type of ageing. It is caused by your genes, that is, it’s inherited from your parents. The second type of ageing is extrinsic ageing, which is caused by environmental factors. Symptoms of intrinsic ageing (chronological aging) include dry and thin skin, fine lines and wrinkles, abnormal blood vessels, age spots, benign and malignant skin tumours. Intrinsic ageing is a continuous process. While intrinsic ageing begins in the 20s, the signs of intrinsic aging are not usually visible for decades. It’s all a bit out of your control as it is your genes that control how quickly the normal ageing process unfolds. Extrinsic-aging is a different process altogether, and generally involves damage to the collagen and elastin fibres which cause the skin to wrinkle and sag. This extrinsic or environmental damage causes the skin to lose its anti-oxidation ability, which is why it is so important to treat your skin with products that are high in anti-oxidants, but we will come to that later. External factors that age skin prematurely are repetitive facials expressions, gravity, sleeping positions, poor lifestyle such as excessive alcohol and smoking and of course sun damage.
One thing is for sure, unless you are blessed with incredible genes, if you don’t look after your skin with the right skin care and treatments, you will look older than you need to.
1. Great Sun Protection
One of the beauty industry cons is the issue of sun block. I have noticed lately that it is getting hard to find a sun block that is 30+ SPF, all the big cosmetic companies such as L’Oreal are all making sun blocks 50+, 60+, 80+ and even higher. This is purely marketing! There is currently no way of measuring the effectiveness of having a sun block with a higher than 30+ SPF, and in fact, any higher than 30 can damage your health (more about that soon). In order to get good protection, use a 30+SPF which gives you broad spectrum protection. A broad spectrum sun block is made up of a physical block UVB protection (zinc oxide etc) and a chemical block, UVA protection. Incidentally, the way to remember this is UAV for Aging and UVB for Burning. Manufacturers can’t add more zinc to their product otherwise we would end up looking silly with a very white face, so they add more chemicals some of which are harmful. So when you purchase a sun block go for a broad spectrum 30+ SPF, and don’t fall for all the marketing hype put out by the big companies. And please, don’t cover your children with these products. The other sun block myth is factor 15 sunscreen. The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin advises that factor 15 puts people at risk of skin cancer by using these products. The British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence also advises us to use only 30+ SPF. It also advises that we should be applying our sun block liberally, as if you don’t apply enough you also put your skin at risk of skin cancer and of course unnecessary lines and wrinkles.
Fortunately sanity is beginning to prevail and the regulations around sunscreens are starting to get tightened up. An article I read recently (June 2011) says that the United States regulators are finally requiring sunscreen manufacturers to test their products’ effectiveness against sun rays that pose the greatest risk of skin cancer. Under the new rules, manufacturers will have to follow stricter SkinCell PRO guidelines when describing how well their products block ultraviolet B rays. Sunscreens that do not protect against both ultraviolet A and B rays and have a sun protective factor, or SPF, below 15 will have to carry a warning label. Any products below 15 SPF have been shown only to help reduce sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin ageing. Products that protect against UVA and UVB will be labelled “broad spectrum”. Only sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher can claim to lower the risk of cancer. The FDA also proposes capping the highest SPF value at 50, unless companies can provide results of further testing that support a higher number (which of course they can’t). As mentioned earlier, some products claim to offer SPF protection of 100 or higher.
2. Great skincare products
Not all skin care is made equal. Just because you are spending lots of money on your cosmetics, doesn’t mean that they are any good. To get the results that you are after you need to be using a cosmeceutical range. A cosmeceutical is a combination of the words cosmetic and pharmaceutical. It refers to the new generation of skin care which uses high concentrations of active ingredients known by dermatologists and scientists to have a real effect on the skin. While I say ‘new’, cosmeceuticals have been on the market for close to ten years but certainly not all companies manufacture products with the required level of ingredients and the types of ingredients that would bring them into the cosmeceutical arena. The cosmeceutical market is expect to grow by over 8% this year to more than $US8 billion driven by a stream of technologically advanced product launches offering age-defying benefits to an aging population. Gone are the days when customers were willing to pay for skin care that just smelt nice and had a pretty bottle, now they want products that are prove to work.
Also we highly recommend that you purchase your cosmeceutical products from a beauty salon and not on line. There is a very good reason for this… if the products can make a difference (ie they have enough active ingredients in them), then you need to ensure that you are using the right ones. If you end up with a product that is not suitable for your skin type then you can damage your skin. Also keep away from products that are heavily fragranced. Toners are also really a thing of the past, they were used to balance the pH of the skin but now days most skincare is pH balanced and toners tend to be harsh and very possibly alcohol based. If you must use a toner then go for a spritzer, these tend to be gentler and less drying on the skin. By selecting a salon range and purchasing it from a salon you are not just purchasing products to put on your face, you are getting the expertise and advice and the perfect products to suit your skin.