Whether you’re 25 or 75, if you’re new to anti-aging skin care, you’re in the right place. With the insane amount of information available to you on the internet, and the massive amount of product to choose from, you may be too overwhelmed to even think about a skin care routine! But my goal here is to help educate you, and give you the tools to create your own, personalized routine according to your skin care priorities.
In this post, I’ll be talking specifically about the fundamental steps in any anti-aging skin care routine:
* Lifestyle Choices
* Sun Protection
I know, I know, you’re looking at that list and thinking, “just tell me what to buy already!” But trust me, if you want to not only look youthful, but feel youthful as well, these first three steps are the key. Your skin type, your sensitivities, and your priorities will determine what products you use, but these three tips help us all, inside and out, no matter your age, the current state of your skin, or if you’re a skin care pro or not!
Part Two of this series is where I’ll go in-depth about topical solutions (acid products, key anti-aging ingredients, popular essential oils for skin care), terminology, and even surgery and injectables, if you’re so inclined. So if you’re already making great lifestyle choices, please come back for part two!
ANTI-AGING FOR THE BEGINNER
I’ve had a love affair with skin care since I was a little girl. It began while watching my mom take care of herself every night. She’d take a marathon amount of time to slather on potions, and I’d carefully study the way she massaged, patted, and swept whatever was in her little jars all over her face and body. Her example instilled in me that my skin needed attention and care, and when I was old enough, I made sure I gave it what it deserved.
Caring for your skin may seem like a frivolous affair, but it’s not. It’s just as important as exercising, resting, and eating well. It’s taking time out of your day to prioritize self care. If you are a woman (and especially a mom), you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s way too easy to put others above ourselves, to put off taking care of our needs when “more important” things come up. You may even feel guilty for dedicating time to yourself. But as the saying goes, you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself, and your skin care routine is just a small piece in your skincare puzzle.
1. LIFESTYLE CHOICES
It makes sense to begin an anti-aging series with lifestyle choices first. All the potions in the world can’t out perform a poor lifestyle, and without a healthy, energetic body, the youthful glow we’re all chasing can’t shine through if we’re tired, and eating poorly. Anti-aging isn’t just about striving for a youthful appearance – it’s about feeling full of life. So here are four tips that you can start doing now on your path to a more vivacious you!
Tip 1 : Sleep As Much As You Can
Beauty sleep is REAL, ladies! Sleep is beneficial to maintaining good health, restoration in the body, and gives our bodies the time it needs to regenerate itself! Our bodies use sleep to keep us healthy, refreshed, youthful, and it’s obvious in your appearance!
For the new mommies out there who are saying, “But I can’t sleep! I have a newborn/toddler!”, I feel your pain. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen first hand what a lack of sleep can do to my face and temperament. But whatever your reasons for not getting enough sleep, make getting more of it a priority in your life. Catching as many zzz’s as you can will do so much for your life, never mind your appearance! And some sleep is better than no sleep, so if napping is your only choice, do it!
Tip 2 : Stress Less
There’s actual science that explains how stress messes with your skin. But how can anyone keep from stressing when stress is a part of life? I constantly read this advice: remove stress from your life if you want to live longer and look younger! Does that mean if I can’t remove 100% of the stress from my life, I’ll die early with terrible looking skin? Stressful, right?! Look, when it comes to stress, there will ALWAYS be some, and that’s okay! You’re not failing at life if you have stress. What it boils down to is how you deal when you’re in a stressful situation.
There are only two ways to combat stress: handle it or accept it.
Handling stressful situations is one thing, but to accept something that is out of your hands is another. In either case, praying, working out, practicing patience (with yourself and the situation), doing something that brings you joy, being around people you love – these things can help you cope and replace your worry with joy. Keep your skin and your spirit as stress free as possible.
Want to read some good posts on the how’s and why’s of stress on your skin?
- Effects of Stress On Your Skin by WebMD
- Stress And Aging: 5 Ways Chronic Stress Can Affect The Aging Process by Huffington Post
Tip 3 : Choose Nutritious Food More Often
Truth: what you put into your body can affect what it looks like on the outside. It’s so cliche to say, “you are what you eat”, but it’s true. Especially when you combine that with no sleep and stress! Making healthy food choices one meal at a time is the easiest way to start, and honestly, it’s probably the only way I’m able to continuously eat healthier. Eat more fruit. Roast more vegetables. Find healthy alternatives to favorites that aren’t always made with the best ingredients. I’m not saying give up your favorite foods – just don’t eat them as much!
Tip 4 : Move Your Body
I’m not talking about working out in the gym, here – though, working out is great. If you work out regularly, awesome! Keep it up! What I’m talking about is what we should be doing with our bodies the rest of the day! Did you know we sit so much during the day, that one hour of gym time may not make a difference? Moving your body throughout the day keeps your “machine” oiled and primed, and helps your circulation. Stand a little more than you sit, take the stairs, take a walk during your lunch break, take the long way to the bathroom at work! Anything to get more steps in, anything to move around. Moving your body helps with blood flow (good for the skin), keeps joints lubricated, and is a stress reliever (good for the skin, too!).
2. SUN PROTECTION
Now that you see how taking care of your entire body is important to the anti-aging process, the second (and one of the most important) steps in your routine should be sun protection. Keeping your skin protected from the sun prevents it from wrinkling, sagging prematurely, and sun spots!
But, Jennifer! I don’t like to wear SPF…
- it gives me headaches
- I hate how sticky it is!
- I don’t like the texture
- I’m allergic to it!
Many people can’t tolerate SPF. Whether your skin reacts to it (this has happened to me with a particular chemical SPF – it gave me rashes!), or if you’re like my sister, who gets headaches from any kind of SPF, all is not lost! Whether you choose to use SPF products or not, staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (generally from noon to five in the evening), sitting in the shade on a sunny day, wearing hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing, will help tremendously. I’m sure there are many of you out there who have/had a grandma like mine who didn’t wear SPF a day in her life, but still had amazing skin! So if you make the choice not to wear sunscreen, avoiding the sun does work!
Now, if you are interested in wearing sunscreen, there are two kinds to choose from, both with their own sets of pros and cons: “chemical” and “physical” (sometimes called mineral). Let’s look a little further into them:
The Difference Between Physical/Mineral And Chemical SPFs
There are only two ingredients that are considered physical sunscreens, and that is titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They both work by sitting on top of the skin, and deflecting UV rays away from it – like a mirror.
- Protects the skin as soon as you put it on – you don’t have to wait
- Less likely to irritate skin since it only sits on top of it
- Deflects heat from sun rays away from the skin (did you know heat can cause dark spots in some skin types?)
- Rubs, sweats, and rinses off really easily
- Leaves a white cast on the skin depending on formula and/or your skin color
- Thicker texture, which may be a turn off for some
- UV light can get between the sunscreen molecules and hit your skin if it isn’t applied correctly (you have to treat it like you would full coverage foundation – cover every nook and cranny of skin with SPF!)
Chemical sunscreens work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat away from the skin. Common ingredients include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone.
- Thinner textured liquid, feels nicer, and is easier to apply
- Don’t need as much of it to protect the skin (chemical SPF has smaller molecules versus physical SPF, so there is less “space” between them for sun to get through to the skin)
- Can possibly cause brown spots and/or discoloration due to the fact that it absorbs light into the skin and turns it into heat before deflecting it away from the skin
- You need to wait after applying it – it needs to sink into the skin before it starts to work
- Can cause irritation and stinging because of all the ingredients needed to get broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection
- Direct UV light “uses up” its protective qualities quickly
Does the SPF number matter?
Yes, but not in the way you think. The FDA wants to ban sunscreens that have an SPF number higher than 50, because there is no scientific evidence showing that anything over that number offers more protection! However, there is proof that higher numbered SPFs do protect better than lower numbered SPFs.
So what’s the takeaway? If you choose to wear SPF, going any higher than 50 SPF is not proven to be effective. In my opinion, choosing SPFs between 30 – 50 are your best bet.
If you already have a great skin routine started, but are interested in giving your skin a “boost,” why not add the following popular skin supplements to your diet? I recognize not everyone wants to take vitamins in pill form, so I’ve also included their whole food counterparts – the foods richest in these vitamins, and great to incorporate into meals, not only for yourself, but for your entire family as well!
***PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one. Everything I share with you is shared according to my own research and/or experience. In the case of taking any vitamin or mineral supplement, do not go over the recommended dosage labeled on the bottle – I cannot stress this enough. More of a good thing can be bad! And if you are unsure or something is unclear, I highly recommend you speak with your doctor before taking any pill supplementation! Thank you!***
Biotin plays a major part in maintaining the health of our hair, nails and skin. It is necessary for cell growth, and helps breaks down essential fatty acids and distributes those nutrients to our skin cells. It can’t be absorbed through the skin, though, so taking it orally is the best way for it to have any benefit to your body.
Biotin rich foods: berries, avocado, cauliflower, mushrooms, beans, eggs, fish, liver
Collagen is a protein naturally produced by our bodies, that keeps our skin looking plump and youthful. As we get older, collagen production declines, but according to Katie at Wellness Mama, her research shows that injesting collagen helps improve our body’s production process!
Collagen rich foods: bone broth (homemade is best), powdered collagen (it’s basically dehydrated collagen)
3. Omega -3 Fish Oils
Omega-3 fish oil is an essential fatty acid that keeps skin moisturized and reduces inflammation. Fatty acids protect the cells in our skin from damage and water loss, which keep our skin plump, and fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
Omega-3 rich foods: Cold water fish (fresh and canned), Cod Liver Oil, Egg Yolks, Walnuts, Chia Seeds
Hemp Seeds, ground Flaxseeds
4. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a compound our bodies naturally produce, and protects collagen and elastin (the things that keep our skin structure strong) from free radicals. Minimizing damage to our skin cells keeps our skin looking tight!
Coenzyme Q10 rich foods: beef, chicken
That concludes Part One of this anti-aging series. I hope it was helpful in your quest for a more youthful appearance! Come back for Part Two, where I get down to the nitty gritty and talk product ingredients! Hope you have a great day, and I’ll see you here soon!
What are some of your favorite ways you take care of yourself? If you’re just beginning your anti-aging journey, what step(s) are you interested in taking immediately?