Ageing is inevitable, but there are steps we can take to help prevent our skin from ageing prematurely and there are all-natural extracts which can lend a helping hand too. We’ve spoken to a number of natural skincare experts for their advice.
So how can we prevent our skin from ageing prematurely? Green People’s cosmetic scientist Ian Taylor recommends quitting smoking and drinking more water, as well as limiting your exposure to sunlight: “These can all help to reduce wrinkle formation and improve the overall health of the skin.
“UV damage is one of the biggest contributors to premature ageing and for this reason it is recommended that those with mature skin wear a broad spectrum, non-toxic, sun cream all year round.”
Nutritionist Rose Holmes, education and training manager at Rio Health, advises to eat healthily and avoid synthetic ingredients: “The most effective way to prevent skin from ageing prematurely is to have a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and other toxins. Healthy on the inside promotes beautiful on the outside.
“We ‘feed’ our skin also by what we use on it topically. In the same way that toxins (including chemicals and sugar) in food might age or damage our bodies, chemicals and synthetic ingredients in skincare products may negatively impact skin health.”
Holmes highlights that both pollution and stress can play havoc with our skin: “Pollution and stressors from our hectic lifestyles affect skin health and appearance; central heating, air-conditioning, and air-borne particles dry, clog and aggravate skin, and can lead to dry skin redness, dehydration, premature ageing and tired, dull-looking complexion. Over time the skin’s natural defence barrier can become weakened by these environmental stressors, which can lead to increased sensitivity and other skin issues. Antioxidant oils provide a natural way to replenish this important skin defence.”
Taylor also advises to get plenty of sleep: “Making sure you get the recommended eight hours sleep can also help boost skin health and those who sleep on their back will be less likely to develop sleep lines. These are fine lines that develop on the chin and cheek as a result of the skin being crumpled against the pillow.”
An All-Natural Approach
When buying natural skincare products, there are a number of extracts to look for in the ingredients lists which can help to combat the common signs of ageing.
Weleda’s international beauty consultant Lilith Schwertle advises looking for products which contain pomegranate and sea buckthorn: “Life around 40 is quite interesting. Our skin’s appearance will show whether we have started to take care at a early age, and how life has treated us. Some of the fine lines from our 30s may have formed deeper wrinkles and our personal life story is more clearly etched on our face. Superfruits such as sea buckthorn and pomegranate are great ingredients to turn to at this point, as they contain an exceptionally high level of nutrients – vitamins and antioxidants – and the skin needs extra nourishment, protection and stimulation at this time.
“Pomegranate is a very dynamic and potent medicinal plant, full of antioxidants to provide effective anti-ageing protection from free radicals. Along with high levels of important fatty acids and vitamins, pomegranate seed oil stimulates cell renewal to help keep skin firm and radiantly beautiful.”
Taylor recommends baicalin, astaxanthin and beech bud. “When it comes to fighting fine lines and wrinkles baicalin is an incredibly important ingredient. Our skin cells contain structures within the nucleus called telomeres. As we age, the telomeres get progressively smaller and shorter until they are no longer able to do their job of protecting the DNA in the nucleus, at which point the cell can no longer replicate itself. Baicalin has been shown to re-stimulate the production of an enzyme called telomerase in adults over 30 which can help repair damage to telomeres and thereby extend the viable life of skin cells. It is so effective that it is thought that baicalin can increase skin restructuring by as much as 13% and increase firmness and elasticity by over 10%.
“Astaxanthin is another ingredient that those wanting to keep fine lines at bay should consider. With its exceptionally strong antioxidant properties this superfood helps improve skin elasticity from within.
“Thirdly, beech bud is a brilliant anti-ageing ingredient that we use in our Age Defy + range. Extracted from the Everlasting Youth Tree, it is rich in reserves which stimulate the metabolism of cells. Clinical trials conducted over a four week period have found this ingredient can contribute to a 10% reduction in wrinkles and a 30% reduction in wrinkles.”
Holmes suggests looking for products which contain rosa mosqueta rosehip seed oil, cranberry seed oil and sacha inchi. “Ingredients such as rosa mosqueta rosehip seed oil naturally contain a high percentage of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids as well as vitamin C and small quantities of trans-retinoic acid and beta-carotene.
“Rosa mosqueta rosehip seed oil contains the omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids that are thought to improve collagen production, increase production of elastin and hyaluronic acid and thus benefit moisture content, firmness and elasticity of skin. Essential fatty acids may also help maintain the keratinization process, which is important for the protective function of skin. Rosehip oil may also help even skin tone.
“Rosa mosqueta rosehip seed oil also naturally contains vitamins A, C and E—important antioxidants—and trans-retinoic acid which may contribute to its marked anti-inflammatory action, which has been shown to improve hydration of cells and accelerate the ability of tissues to regenerate.
“Other antioxidant-rich oils which may benefit skin health include cranberry seed oil, which is super-absorbing and moisturising, and sacha inchi, a highly moisturising oil from a South American plant, rich in omega fatty acids, vitamins C and E and carotenoids and protects the skin from harmful oxidative damage.”
Review your Routine
Not only is it important to look at the ingredients in your skincare products, you should also review your skincare routine.
“The skin should be cleansed each morning and evening and exfoliated at least once a week to remove dead skin cells,” advises Taylor. “It is important that mature skin is not over exfoliated as this can cause the skin to appear thin and dull.
“As we age the skin produces less sebum and this can cause moisture to evaporate. To keep skin looking plump it is important to use hydrating skincare products designed for mature skin. Moisturisers rich in active plant extracts are best for mature skin but the benefits of facial oils and serums for mature skin should not be over looked.”
Holmes also recommends using a facial oil: “For moisturising and protecting, include a premium facial oil in your skincare routine. One that is rich in essential fatty acids as well as being antioxidant-rich with ingredients like rosehip, cranberry and sacha inchi seed oils. Use the antioxidant facial oil after cleansing and exfoliating and before other creams and serums. A few drops of premium facial oil can go a long way.”
“Conducting facial exercises can also help to prevent skin ageing,” advises Taylor. “Much like a gym workout, exercising the face muscles can help the skin to become strong and revitalised.”