By Alexa Santory
All About Aging
What happens to our skin when we get older? Why does it start to do the thing? Like, are wrinkles entirely necessary? The short answer is yes. If you’ve ever seen Death Becomes Her (an ICONIC film starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, highly recommend), trying to look young forever can have some pretty weird consequences. That’s just fiction, though, there’s no way we could ever stay looking like our peak physical selves! However, it’s important to know what aging looks and feels like, how to keep it from happening so fast, and what to give our bodies in order for them to age gracefully!
You’ve heard of the 7 deadly sins, ever heard of the 7 signs of aging?
Aging can be a long, slow process if you take the proper steps to let it be a long, slow process. I’m sure we all spend a lot of time in the mirror, closely examining our faces, pointing out and dissecting each and every “flaw” we think we have (you’re flawless, baby!). In those investigations, did you happen to notice little things that might not have been there a year or two ago? Fine lines, maybe? Or perhaps *GASP* an age spot?? So what exactly are the signs of aging? Let’s take a look shall we….
The 7 (most common) Signs of Aging
- Age spots
- Thinner skin
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Skin that bruises easily
Doesn’t that all sound so...intimidating? So, I ask again, why does our skin have to do the thing, as we get older? Why do we age? How do we age? Let’s look to science...
Let’s Talk About Collagen
This word gets thrown around quite a bit in the skincare community and rightfully so; collagen is what keeps our skin looking young and plump. It’s a sturdy protein created by fibroblasts, which are the cells in the deepest layer of our skin (the dermis) that create connective tissue. They’re also what help our skin heal from injuries. Collagen keeps our skin strong and flexible, while elastin allows our skin to snap back. Elastin is another protein found in our skin’s connective tissue and works with collagen to keep our skin tight and youthful. This is all well and good until both quite literally start to disintegrate. Ugh.
The worst part is, it starts as early as our early 20s! UGH. This happens because our bodies’ own enzymes just start to kind of break it down, as well as other outside factors like sun exposure, pollution, and other free radicals. As we age, the once thick and tough collagen and elastin in our skin naturally begins to loosen, which is what eventually causes wrinkles and sagging. Those other outside factors I mentioned can speed up the process, as well as lack of hydration, smoking, and poor diet. Skin care really does start from within. The good news is, there are ways to kind of slow down and replenish the depleted levels of collagen in our bodies, especially our faces, where a lack of collagen is most noticeable.
How to: Rebuild Collagen
How stressed were you when you read that collagen depletion starts when we’re still in our 20s? I know I was pretty shook, especially as someone who looks younger than they actually are. I plan on riding this baby-faced train till the wheels fall off, thank you! Since collagen is technically a protein, there are ways to replenish it and keep it strong. While this won’t stop you from aging, it’ll make the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles less obvious, as well as slow down the process of sagging.
Start using retinoid
These sound a bit intimidating, but they’re actually just vitamin A derivatives, so they’re somewhat natural when they’re in a topical form like a serum or cream. Retinoids are interesting because they can be used to treat acne, but they’ve also been found to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating the collagen production in the dermis. Retinoids also help stimulate the production of blood vessels in the skin, which helps fade spots and even out discoloration. Vitamin A is the skin vitamin, encouraging healthy skin cell production and stimulating fibroblasts, it’s necessary for aging skin of all types.
Consume more plant proteins
Foods like nuts, nut butters, hummus, and soy are all rich in plant based proteins. By eating more of these foods, our bodies are getting more phytoestrogens, aka plant estrogens, which have been found to have a positive effect on collagen production.
Cigarettes are bad for you, okay? It’s not even up for debate. Nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels in our skin to narrow, which impairs blood flow to the skin. Poor blood flow leads to our skin being less able to absorb the nutrients and oxygen it needs, hence wrinkles. In short, stop smoking cigarettes if you wanna look young forever (or at least for a few more years!). :)
Keep sun exposure to a minimum
UV damage caused by sun exposure can cause signs of aging. The melanin in our skin is there to protect us from UV rays. When the melanin is compromised and damaged by UV rays, it can lead to wrinkles, sagging, and sunspots due a loss of elasticity. If you must be in the sun, please use sunscreen. Your skin will thank you in the long run!
Take collagen supplements
Collagen loss doesn’t only affect the way our skin looks over time; it also takes a toll on our joints, our muscles, and our hair and nails. Collagen supplements are a great way to boost the levels in our bodies. They exist as tablets you can take daily, powders you can add to your drinks and shakes, and in foods you probably already eat, like chicken, beef, and fish!
What it all really boils down to is that our bodies naturally deplete our collagen levels over time, and everyone who’s reading this is aging as we speak!! Yay to growing up!! The good news is, since collagen is a naturally occurring substance, it’s possible to rebuild it naturally. While we may not look young forever, we can most certainly try to ride the baby-faced train for a few more stops!
The Streets Are Talking
The base of this customizable mask comes with oyster shell, which helps create and boost collagen in the skin! Try this mask a couple times a week to improve your skin.
"I am in love with my new face mask! It works so well and I have already noticed a difference in my skin only after a few uses. I look forward to making more purchases with Belle Bar Organics in the future."