We have all seen the anti-ageing creams that claim to turn back the hands of time, promising to give us back youthful supple skin. But is it true, and if so, how do anti-ageing products work on the skin?
What Causes Skin to Age?
Skin will naturally age as we get older because the regeneration process slows down. Skin is our body’s largest organ and it is reactive to every internal and external factor. If we feel stressed, or are dehydrated, or have an unhealthy diet then our skin will be one of the first things to suffer.
Intrinsic ageing is the natural ageing process. As we age our skin will start to lose its elasticity due to a breakdown of collagen and elastin. Our cells repair themselves more efficiently when we are younger, but this slows down as we get older. How we age will also depend on our genes, some peoples skin can look younger or older than others.
Extrinsic ageing is due to lifestyle and environmental factors, this is thought to contribute to around 90% of the ageing process, meaning that some will notice the signs of ageing begin to show around the age of 30 years old. People who smoke, sunbathe a lot, or use sunbeds are damaging their skin and speeding up the skin's natural ageing process.
There is a big difference between intrinsic and extrinsic ageing, for instance with intrinsic ageing the epidermis will thin, and skin will only have fine wrinkles even after 60. With extrinsic ageing the epidermis thickens, with course deep wrinkle showing up from 18-years-old.
If you have used anti-ageing products, you may be wondering what is added to them to help with ageing skin. Some commonly used ingredients include Retinol, a Vitamin A compound which fights against free radicals. This is added to many anti-ageing products, as it helps minimise fine lines, improve skin pigmentation and the skin's texture.
Other anti- ageing ingredients include, Coenzyme Q10, which is added to eye creams to reduce wrinkles around the eyes. Hydroxy acids are exfoliants which remove dead skin then stimulate growth of new skin. Peptides are used to help heal wounds and stretch marks.
Another important ingredient is Vitamin C, as it protects skin against damage caused by harmful UV rays. Skincare.com say, “L-Ascorbic acid — also known as vitamin C — is one of the most important antioxidants you can use on your skin, so much so that it has been considered the gold standard anti-ageing ingredient by industry experts. Much of that has to do with its role in neutralizing free radicals.”
Grape seed and tea extracts are also used for their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Many plants contain antioxidants, this is why it is important that we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.
Antioxidants counteract the effects of free radicals, they do this by donating their own electrons to unstable molecules stopping a process called “cascade”. This is where the free radical takes an electron from a molecule, un-stabilises it so that it takes electrons from others. This means that one free radical can have a massive impact on skin cells.
Looking after your skin by using organic products and living a healthy lifestyle will help you maintain healthy youthful skin.