April 18, 2018
Ageing is a fact of life. Unlike many other medical issues, growing old cannot be hidden; it is clearly visible in the form of skin ageing. So anti-ageing isn’t really about beauty; its much more about maintain healthy skin into later life. We are living longer than ever before.
Meanwhile, the anti-ageing market grows ever bigger, bombarding us with celebrity endorsed potential ‘cures’, some of which are utter rubbish. Some miracle creams may even cause more damage than they repair. For most of us, it is a confusing market, driven by hype and glossy advertising.
So how do you develop a personal anti-ageing strategy that will protect your skin, keeping it looking young and healthy and protecting it through life?
Your skin becomes thinner over time as your collagen and elastin levels decline. Remember, collagen is the protein that makes your skin bouncy and and elastin keeps it stretchy.
As your skin ages, the cells in the dermis produce less hyaluronan, so your Hyaluronic acid decreases. Hyaluronic acid keeps your skin plump and moist and is essential for tissue repair. Id your skin is exposed to excessive UVB rays, it becomes inflamed (sunburn) and the cells in the dermis stop producing as much hyaluronan, and increase the rate of its degradation. Hyaluronan degradation products then accumulate in the skin after UV exposure, exacerbating the decline fo collagen and elastin.
Meanwhile the turnover of your skin cells declines, so your skin heals less effectively. The result? Dry skin, fine lines, deep furrows and wrinkles. Your skin starts to sag as it loses its support. Textural changes appear, broken blood vessels, thread veins and uneven skin pigmentation become more prominent. Frighteningly, some of these changes can set in as early as your late 20s or early 30s.
Your skin ages for many reasons, some of which you cannot really control, such as DNA, cellular damage and hormonal changes. But you can take control of external factors such as exposure to UV, pollutants, smoking and diet. And you can, of course, implement an anti-ageing skincare regime.
Apart from eating a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking and doing everything you can to protect your skin from UV and pollution, what can you do when it comes to skincare?
The elixir of youth has yet to be bottled and sold, although camel milk may be a step in the right direction! Despite impressive marketing and celebrity endorsements, very few creams, gels and serums have robust data behind them for anti-ageing and very few creams help to reduce skin sagging or laxity. These changes occur due to loss of volume of fat and bone under the skin, which happens to all of us as time passes. So without data, what do you choose? One place to look is for creams that contain the essential fatty acids that your skin requires to regenerate. These fatty acids are the building blocks of proteins.
Certain agents can be used to reduce pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and slow down the signs associated with skin ageing. These include retinoids, antioxidants, botanicals and sunscreen.
Current anti-ageing strategies are focused on limiting long-term damage from sunlight, which is the most significant factor in skin ageing.
Omega fatty acids truly are remarkable ingredients for skin. They serve as the essential building blocks of skin’s surface layers, creating a smoother, more even, younger-looking, and healthier complexion, no matter your age or skin type.
Applied topically, omega fatty acids can reinforce and smooth your skin’s surface, eliminate signs of flaky, dehydrated-looking skin and visibly strengthen skin against signs of environmental damage. So what ingredients do you look for? Well, omega fatty acids are found in:
If the idea of putting fish oil on skin sounds a bit gross, don’t worry; plant-derived omega fatty acids are remarkable for skin. But there is one skincare ingredient that contains all three omega fatty acids; camel milk.
We covered retinol in detail in our last blog post. To recap, the retinoid family consists of a group of compounds that are derived from Vitamin A. These have been available in skincare since the Seventies and are the only topical agents that repeatedly demonstrate anti-ageing effects in scientific studies. Retinoids are able to minimise the appearance of wrinkles, slow the breakdown of collagen and fade pigmentation or age spots. They work by improving skin cell renewal and stimulating collagen production.
There are prescription versions available (tretinoin or isotretinoin) but over-the-counter versions (such as retinol and retinaldehyde) are also effective and often don’t come with the same side-effects as tretinoin and isotretinoin (burning, stinging, redness and scaling). When buying a retinoid, look for a minimum concentration of 0.1 per cent retinol — and remember that it can take three to six months of regular use before any improvement can be seen in the skin. And don’t forget; camel milk is an excellent source of Vitamin A!
Antioxidants block oxidation, the damage caused by unstable compounds known as free radicals. Your skin generates free radicals when exposed to the sun (the leading cause of external skin ageing) and by certain biological processes in the body that generate energy.
Oxidants are agents that promote chemical reactions with oxygen. They also increase the by-products of such reactions, which are known as free radicals. Free radicals are temporarily unstable atoms or molecules (they have extra or unpaired electrons) formed by the oxidation process. They react with other atoms or molecules, including collagen, to produce other unstable molecules.
Smoking is a major cause of free radicals; one of the things that make smoking so dangerous is that many of the components of tobacco smoke are oxidant, so smoking really accelerates skin ageing.
There are a number of antioxidants available in skincare products, and their role is largely to prevent oxidative damage to the skin, rather than treat the signs of ageing once they have developed. Some of the key antioxidants you should be looking for are:
Camel milk contains around five times the Vitamin C of other milks; it is a great source for skincare anti-oxidants.
Peptides are proteins that are hugely important in the human body, often acting as ‘messengers’, conveying information between cells and tissues. Some peptides can help to repair the skin’s support structure, thereby improving visible wrinkles.
Peptides are active molecules that send signals to your cells. When your collagen breaks down, it forms specific peptides that signal to your skin that it is damaged and needs to make new collagen. So by applying peptides topically, we are trying to trick your skin into thinking that it has lost collagen recently and needs to make more.
Camel milk doesn’t contain peptides, but we add a copper soy peptide to our Restorative Night Cream, our anti-wrinkle hero. It also makes a perfect carrier for peptides, because its fat structure is finely homogenised so that it penetrates your skin.
Sun exposure is the biggest cause of premature and accelerated skin ageing, responsible for fine lines, wrinkling, uneven skin tone, pigmentation and textural changes. From an anti-ageing point of view, sunscreen should be worn daily all year round.
Sunlight contains a mixture of several types of light, UVA and UVB, responsible for the majority of skin ageing, but also visible light and infrared radiation, thought to generate free radicals in skin cells which also accelerate the ageing process.
From an anti-ageing point of view, sunscreen should be worn daily all year round whenever you are going out into the sun. Our advice is to avoid moisturisers that contain SPF; they are always a compromise. We favour using a dedicated broad spectrum sun screen applied shortly before going out into the sun. For an overview of selecting a sunscreen for Australian conditions, try this guide from Choice magazine. Be aware, however, that sunscreens contain ingredients that you probably wouldn’t choose to put on your skin if you didn’t need sun protection. Cleanse sunscreens off after sun exposure; they are there to prevent sun damage only!
You could also consider using an antioxidant serum, which can neutralise the free radical damage caused by visible light and infrared, in conjunction with your standard sunscreen.
A quick word about eye cream. The skin around your eyes is sensitive and vulnerable to damage from the sun’s radiation. An eye cream is an essential component of an anti-ageing regime because it will moisturise, plump the skin and temporarily improve fine lines.
But wearing SPF around the eyes is vital to prevent premature ageing. You do not necessarily need a separate product: if a product is suitable for the face, it should be fine to use around the eyes.
Anti-ageing skincare can be dauntingly expensive and, of course, not everyone has the time spend on a complex anti-ageing routine. Which is why CameLife developed affordable anti-ageing skincare that can be incorporated into a simple anti-ageing routine that even the laziest of us can do.
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