The skin – It is after all the biggest organ on our bodies. When it comes to skincare, we all need a little help from time to time.
As women, our skin transforms along with our ever-changing bodies and hormones, what worked for us in our 20’s doesn’t seem to cut it during our 30’s and so forth. I would like to wager that chemicals play a significant role in the health and vitality of our skin.
Most of the skincare products we’ve become accustomed to are so often the source of our skincare related problems without our knowledge. We buy a face cream which states: “for the treatment and repair of dry and dehydrated skin types" and yet we find no relief, symptomatic or otherwise. Why is this? Are there alternative solutions for the most common skin care problems we face daily?
Together we’ll look at these common skin care problems related to aging as well as alternative solutions to over-the-counter skincare products.
The skin on our face is naturally thinner and more sensitive than the skin covering the rest of our body, this is because we use our faces to monitor changes in temperature and atmospheric conditions. Our faces communicate and express our feelings; this is why the first signs of aging are seen in the facial area.
By the time we become adults the lifespan of our skin cells have decreased a lot: The average lifespan of skin cells for an adolescent is 100 days, for an adult, this lifespan has reduced to half that amount.
The first signs of aging appear as wrinkles. Wrinkles make their entrance during the early adolescent stage (between the ages of 20-25). Small fine horizontal lines will usually appear first, found commonly between the eye and eyebrows and the outer corners of the eye area. These are called wrinkles of expression. At this point you may also be aware of the appearance of light freckles, these you can blame on the overexposure to sunlight.
Wrinkles and all stages of aging can be accelerated or slowed down depending on our lifestyle choices, health, and diet of an individual.
Causes of accelerated aging:
Exposure to sunlight
Changes in temperature (dry air, humidity, wind, etc.)
Diabetes and other chronic illnesses
Changes in hormonal balances
When we reach the mature age of 25-35, the aging process tends to speed up even more. You may also notice more horizontal wrinkle lines at this stage.
These wrinkles will appear on the forehead and around the mouth along with faint vertical lines. The vertical creases are known as “lowering wrinkles" and can be found between the outer corners of the nose and the outer edges of the mouth. Vertical wrinkles are the result of changes in the hypoderm layer of the skin as gravity pulls the fatty cells downwards. The skin may become softer in appearance especially around the neck area. As if that’s not enough to worry about, you may also start noticing brown, irregular patches of skin (Face, chest and neck region) if you are regularly overexposed to sunlight.
From the age of 35 – 45 the wrinkles of expression you’ve become familiar with (they don’t seem to be going anywhere right?) will gradually sag. You heard me! Gravity pulls those horizontal lines along with the rest of our bodies.
These lines then deepen, become permanent and may start intersecting with each other? That’s the next step in the aging process. Your wrinkles will take on a mind of its own.
Moisturizing at this point becomes very important. Fewer fat cells and fewer sebaceous cells are just some of the changes to the layers of your skin, which will increase dehydrated skin very quickly.
By the time we reach 45-55, our facial contours begin to change as the bones become thinner. Our skin starts to lose its elasticity due to less elastin in the dermis layer of our skin. Some of our skin may have retained its collagen, yet you will find your skin becoming drier and softer none-the-less.
The skin’s ability to conserve water is decreasing, as the rate of aging increases. The dermis layer of your skin is much thinner at this point, and elastin content will continue to drop with the changing collagen structure.
From now on (age 55 onwards) there’s no turning back the clock. The lower jaw may change the shape of the face, the skin’s texture thickens on the face (goodbye soft skin) and neck region.
There is a continuous decrease in collagen and elastin, which ultimately disappears altogether. Have you noticed how the skin seems to take forever to heal at this stage? Bruising may become more frequent as the body finds it more challenging to remove waste products from the age of 65.
Less sensitive skin caused by a reduction in blood circulation, for instance, cold hands and feet, are commonly associated with this advanced stage of aging as well as recurring infections.
Because of the change in skin tone and texture, a reduction in vitamin D will cause your skin to become extremely sensitive to sunlight offering little to no protection against the damaging UV rays.
It seems there is no good news when it comes to the aging process. Above we’ve covered the age-related signs and symptoms of the aging process. Let’s now turn to the slowing down of the aging process and look at natural ways in which we can help combat the signs of aging.
Drink plenty of water, as often as possible starting from the moment you wake up in the mornings. Water helps with so many things. Specifically, it helps to clear the skin, flush the body of toxins to prevent build-up, it helps to maintain the body’s organ function and therefore it can help to combat the early onset of aging.
There are many studies that claim to support the limited consumption of alcohol, but for the most part, alcohol speeds up the aging process. Overindulging doesn’t only damage organs and mental health, but it also damages the skin by increasing dehydration, and it also slows down the metabolism.
Sesame oil has many benefits. For the skin, it’s a natural do-all. It naturally cleanses dead skin cells and helps with slowing down the aging process. You can consume the seeds raw or lather the oil all over your skin to obtain the benefits of this seed.
Fish oils are particularly beneficial to the skin. The Omega 3,6,9 can also be obtained in capsule form from health food stores.
While it’s not altogether good for your skin, there is no need to cut it out completely. Try to reduce your meat portions.
DIY Natural Makeup
While makeup can “hide" or “cover up" the most common signs of aging like dark spots, fine lines, uneven skin tone and texture, the relief you experience is only temporary. Make-up can, in fact, speed up the aging process over the long run leaving your skin more dehydrated than ever.
Did you know that most lipsticks contain lead, and mercury is a chemical found in most skin care creams such as skin lightening and bleach creams?
Many popular brands of cosmetic products fail to mention the dangerous chemicals that are used to produce the makeup we apply to hide or correct our flawed, aging skin.
Before you turn to make-up and over-the-counter skin care products and cosmetics, it might be wise to know what you’re buying before applying!
There are a few magic ingredients, which are completely natural and chemical free. These items are gentler on your skin’s acid mantle and will not only help you combat or delay the signs of aging but will also help repair some of the damage that may have been the result of previous neglect.
Here are a few natural (chemical free) skincare solutions as well as do-it-yourself make-up solutions that may benefit your skin and slow down the aging process for the skin to retain its youthful health and vitality over a more extended period.
When it comes to wrinkles, the most sensitive part of your body are the eyelids. The eyelids are the thinnest skin on the body. While you may not like wrinkles, they are completely normal, and there are measures you can take to preserve your skin tone. I’ve added a recipe for natural skin lifting (recipe below). This may help you with the appearance of sagging eye wrinkles.
What have you got to lose! DIY make-ups are becoming a trend these days. While it can be used to camouflage the face, it’s kinder to the skin, feels light, is less expensive when compared to cosmetic brands and can help with the slowing down of the aging process.
Melt the following: Argan oil, shea butter and emulsifying wax in a boiler until completely melted.
Add aloe vera gel and witch hazel, then whisk until well combined and smooth.
Turn off heat.
Add small amounts of the cocoa powder until the desired highlight color is reached. (Not too dark or bright)
Dip the tip of your highlighter utensil into the mixture and allow to cool for a few seconds before applying.
Make sure to test against your forehead or arm to be sure of the result achieved before application.
Pour the cooled mixture into a container and seal well.
Ever since I began making and using my skincare cosmetics, my skin feels so much healthier and has more vitality. There are so many incredible, easy to do cosmetic recipes online.
If you are interested in beginning a healthier skincare routine, why not try your hand at DIY cosmetics as well as moisturizing, face wash and other natural anti-aging products?
With that set in stone, let’s move on to anti-aging make-up solutions.
I’d like to focus on anti-aging hand creams specifically.
Our hands age faster than our faces! The simplest way to keep our hands looking young is to use a good quality moisturizer. Our hands are exposed to many elements as well as harsh chemicals at work (for some), and at home when we are cleaning and cooking, so they need the most amount of moisture to fight the signs and appearance of aging.
Combine the oils in a heated pot and warm slowly. (Do not boil).
Allow to cool down
Gently apply to face, neck, chest, and hands with your fingertips in upward, outward motion without stretching the skin.
Leave on overnight.
What does a Good Skincare Routine Entail?
Here’s a summary of what you may need to consider when looking into purchasing or making your skincare products. Always make sure of your skin type and tone before jumping in. If you are unsure of yours, you can speak to a beauty consultant or visit a healthcare store or chemist to get your evaluation done, often for free!
Natural Night cream with a good moisturizing capability (once a day after night toner)
Natural Lifting cream/lotion (once a before morning day cream)
Taking care of your skin is vital in maintaining a youthful appearance. With a good skincare routine you can slow down the aging process as soon as it begins and while you may be anxious at the first signs of aging as they approach, you need to remember that wrinkles are natural.
Start early. Do not wait for the first appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, bags under the eyes or dark spots before you decide to do something about it. Prevention is better than cure! While you may not be able to cure the signs of aging (Pity!) you can most certainly slow it down and reduce the appearance thereof.