With the increased use of synthetics in skin care products and the higher amounts of toxins in our air, water and food, it’s no wonder that women feel they’re fighting a losing battle against pre-mature aging. All of these factors along with the sun, smoking, drinking and stress can lead to the early formation of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and loss of elasticity. The good news is that by combining new advancements in skin technology with age old home-remedy secrets, you can prevent premature aging and maintain the youthful qualities of your skin.
Some new advances include effective anti-aging ingredients that boast positive results. Active ingredients such as; L-ascorbic acid (topical ester vitamin C), liposome technology, kojic acid, hyaluronic acid, lipids and vitamin B, lighten dark spots, increase elasticity, hydrate, promote cell renewal and reduce fine lines. Some of these only work on the surface layer of the skin while others have the ability to penetrate deeper. For example kojic acid helps to lighten dark areas of the skin. It works internally by inhibiting melanin production (melanin gives our skin color). Avoid products that contain hydroquinone–a chemical that just bleaches skin on the surface.
A good quality vitamin C for the skin acts as an antioxidant and can penetrate into the inner layers of the skin. The antioxidant properties reduce wrinkles and regenerate cells. It can help nourish rough, dry areas of the skin.
Not all topical vitamin C products are the same. As topical vitamin C is not a stable ingredient, the product should contain at least 10 percent to be effective. Look at the color of the product. If it has an orangey color and no additional coloring has been added, this could mean that the product is oxidizing and losing its benefits. Some forms of vitamin C are unstable and oxidize quickly. Ester C is a stable form of vitamin C.
It’s important to know how to read a label in order to determine if it’s a good quality product. The higher up ingredients are listed, the higher the amount in the product.
Sodium laurel sulfate is a synthetic lathering agent used in high percentages in most products. For normal, dry and mature skin a light lotion or milk cleanser is recommended.
Avoid skin care products for the face that contain lanolin, as it clogs pores and can irritate the skin. Beeswax can also clog pores and prevents moisture from penetrating.
Mineral oil can dry the skin over time and prevent moisture from penetrating. Look for alternative oils for mature skin, such as primrose, rosehip seed, carrot and sweet almond. As the skin ages, its ability to hold in moisture decreases. Using products with alcohol can cause the skin to become drier which can lead to fine lines.
All products should contain a full ingredients list. Companies that manufacture in Canada and export out of the country require their labels to contain a full list of ingredients. Some US companies have only partial or often no ingredients listed on their packaging. Avoid products that do not offer a full ingredients list.
Try this recipe to create your own anti-aging gentle facial scrub:
2 Tbsp dry oatmeal
4 Tbsp brown rice powder
1 tsp kelp powder
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp honey
a little water to create a spreadable paste.
Blend all ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
1 tsp of carrier oil (sweet almond, jojoba or apricot kernel oil)
2 drops rosewood or lavender oil
Mix well. Use two to three times a week. Store in fridge in closed plastic container for up to five days.
Apply this scrub using a small amount of water all over the face in gentle upward massage motions. Leave on for two to three minutes then wash off with warm water. A patch test is recommended before full application.
Look for do-it-yourself recipe handbooks in your health food stores. Check for these ingredients when shopping for good quality anti-aging products: camomile, horsetail, plantain and green tea. Also look for pure essential oils like rose, geranium, patchouli, neroli, sandalwood and jasmine. All can help to promote cell regeneration.
Fresh fruits like pineapple and papaya contain specialized enzymes that can remove dead skin cells. They work in a similar way to glycolic acids. If you don’t have overly sensitive skin, try adding a little pineapple or papaya to the facial scrub recipe above.
Dried ground seaweed or plant-extracts like green tea, ginkgo and licorice root are used in many skin care products as they have valuable anti-aging properties. They help replenish lost nutrients in the skin and gently exfoliate.
Aloe vera contains a high percentage of water and minerals. It can help hydrate, soothe and repair the skin.
A good quality carrier oil can help nourish and moisturize the skin and is very effective in preventing the formation of wrinkles. Carrier oils like carrot, rose hip seed, jojoba, hazelnut and linseed are excellent for dry-mature skin types.
The sun is a major factor in pre-mature aging. The sun’s rays create free radicals in the skin, which lead to loss of elasticity, age spots and the formation of wrinkles in the inner layers of the skin. Protection with a sun block with a sun protection factor of at least 15 can help. Even during the winter months, a mild sunscreen especially on the face is recommended.
Although we can’t reverse the aging process, new developments in skin technology along with the gifts from mother mature can help us to keep our skin healthy for years to come.