Nutritionists and skin experts share their top anti-ageing tips
Over time, our skin’s natural defence barrier can become weakened, appearing dull, thin and wrinkled. This is because, starting in our 20s, changes occur in the skin that cause collagen and elastin fibres to stiffen, break and lose elasticity. So what can we do to slow down this ageing process?
Healthy Body, Healthy Skin
Your diet plays a very important role in maintaining optimal skin quality, with hydration being the first step to youthful-looking skin. Frankie Brogan, senior nutritionist at Pharma Nord UK, recommends drinking plenty of water each day: “The amount we need varies, but as a rule of thumb, make sure your urine remains a pale straw colour. Avoidance of excessive diuretic foods and drinks, such as alcohol and caffeine, will also support hydration.”
Brogan also emphasises the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet, while nutritionist Rose Holmes, education and training manager at Rio Health, suggests that “sugar is enemy to the skin”. Holmes explains that “Sugar consumption promotes formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products) which make collagen more fragile and deactivate our natural antioxidant enzymes.” This increases our skin’s vulnerability to damage from the environment.
There are quite a few supplements that can help prevent premature skin ageing, and Brogan says that the most versatile and researched is the pine-bark extract, pycnogenol. The supplement can improve microcirculation in the skin, enhance hyaluronic acid production (the skin’s ‘internal moisturiser’) and helps protect our collagen.
Holmes recommends antioxidants such as vitamins C, A and E to support skin health, along with the mineral silicon, which is needed for collagen synthesis.
Ian Taylor, cosmetic scientist for Green People, suggests astaxanthin: “The world’s strongest known natural antioxidant, astaxanthin is 550 times stronger than vitamin E and works like an internal sunscreen, protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays from within”.
Choose the Right Skincare Ingredients
When considering your skincare, there are certain ingredients to look out for, that are shown to improve the appearance and health of our skin. Taylor suggests the ingredient baicalin – which helps to keep skin firm and increases elasticity – along with pomegranate oil, which is ultra-nourishing and rich in antioxidants.
Natural oils are also high in antioxidants, along with essential fatty acids. A good example is rosehip seed oil, Holmes says, because it is highly moisturising and regenerative. Sacha inchi oil and cranberry seed oil are other valuable alternatives. Holmes suggests also looking out for silicon, which “connects and supports body tissues and is responsible for the firmness and suppleness of skin”, along with elastin: “this allows the skin to resume its shape after contracting or stretching; it gives skin its elasticity”.
Finally, don’t forget your SPF! The main cause of wrinkles is damage to the skin by sun exposure and to prevent this, Taylor says “it is important to wear a UVA-defending facial moisturiser year-round”. Protect your skin from premature ageing with a moisturiser containing no less than SPF15.
Words by Riana Dixon