First of all if you have healthy skin then congratulations, many people don’t and would love to be in your position. The main concern for you now is to preserve that healthy skin and to delay the ageing process for as long as possible.
It doesn’t matter how good your skin is, sooner or later time is going to take its toll, for some the results will be more drastic and noticeable than for others. As we age the first thing we will notice is that our skin starts to develop very fine lines and wrinkles. As time progresses, the skin will become thinner and more transparent, it will lose its ability to retain moisture as well as it did so may become dry and itchy. We will also start to lose collagen and our skin will become saggy as the skin loses its elasticity and eventually we may develop age spots and lesions.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t delay these effects and limit the damage that time and age can do to your skin.
What are the factors that influence the ageing process?
Genetics play a role in how quickly you will start to see signs of ageing in your skin this is why you can see two people of the same chronological age but who have very different skin. However, genetics isn’t the only factor that can affect how quickly our skin ages and neither is it the most influential.
Possibly the greatest influence on ageing is environmental factors the biggest being the effect of solar radiation from the sun. Just look at the skin of anyone who has spent many years outdoors or in a hot climate. However, exposure to cold, wind, and pollutants can also damage our skin. Environmental factors can give our skin a ‘weathered’ look and skin that feels rough and dry to the touch.
So what can you do to preserve healthy skin?
If you already have healthy skin then you have been doing something right up until now so the main focus is to prevent your skin from becoming damaged. Ageing skin is more fragile than youthful skin so could be more susceptible to damage than before. Here are the main points you have to consider.
Ensure that your skin always has enough moisture because as our skin ages it can become dehydrated and dry. This involves making sure that any loss of moisture is replaced, and helping your skin to retain what moisture is there. There is a loss of ‘barrier integrity’ as we get older which basically means our skin has less of an ability to retain moisture. To help combat this it’s important to use a good quality moisturiser on a regular basis and to keep your body and your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Diet is extremely important as your skin needs to have the right nutrients from the inside as well as on the surface. If you are already eating a healthy diet then to give your skin and your health in general an extra boost you could try supplementing with Omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil. Sebum, the skin’s natural moisturiser, is composed mostly of fatty acids and one of the first signs that you aren’t getting enough of these nutrients in your diet is poor skin.
There are other benefits to taking fish oil too as fish oil is anti-inflammatory so will not only provide your skin with essential nutrients, it will also help to combat any inflammation in the skin. Fish oil is a natural mood booster which is why it has been shown in studies to be so effective for depression, so you also get the feel good factor too.
Avoid the sun. This has got to be the number one rule for preserving healthy skin. A bronzed skin may look healthy and radiant when you’re young but tanned skin is skin that has already been damaged and although the effects may not be noticeable to start with, your skin will age fast, really fast.
Daily care of the skin
Finally on a daily basis you need to make sure your skin is cleansed and moisturised. Never be tempted to wash your face with soap and water as this can quickly clog the pores and dry out the skin.
Try to buy skincare products that are as natural as possible as the chemicals in some products can damage the skin. You could also look for skin care products that contain Palmitic acid which is an Omega 7 fatty acid found in some vegetable oils, particularly Seabuckthorn oil. Palmitic acid is present in sebum but the amount decreases as we get older. Some research suggests that Palmitic acid can play a role in rejuvenating the skin.
AHAs may offer some help against damaged skin too, these are Alphahydroxy acids which are often found in skincare products in the form of lactic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid and glycolic acid.
If you look after your healthy skin now then the chances are that you will be able to keep it that way for many years to come.