It’s completely normal to get fine lines and wrinkles. Still, we’re constantly obsessed with the latest skincare products that claim to reverse the signs of aging. P.S. — if a brand asserts this, run for the hills. There is no miracle solution to change the effects of aging. The best we can do is slow down the process.
Using the right products on a consistent basis is a must. However, that doesn’t mean purchasing the most expensive products on the shelves of Sephora. (Chances are you’re actually paying for their fancy packaging!) The real secret to youthful skin entails a few staple products, containing ingredients that are backed by evidence- based research.
Here’s an easy, yet effective skincare routine to slow down the effects of aging.
STEP 1: USE A GENTLE CLEANSER
A hydrating facial cleanser will leave your skin clean without stripping its natural barrier. This barrier is very important, as it prevents bacteria, irritants and other allergens from penetrating the skin. If compromised, the skin is susceptible to permeation and harmful environmental influences.
Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol, fragrance and artificial dyes, as these harsh ingredients can strip your skin’s protective outer barrier. Plus, dry skin can speed up the aging process. You want your skin feeling hydrated and plump at all times.
STEP 2: ANTIOXIDANTS
Non-fragrant, vitamin-rich antioxidants work quite well to slow the signs of aging. They protect the skin from environmental aggressors, like UV rays and other damaging pollutants.
Antioxidants come in a variety of forms — vitamin C, retinoids, niacinamide, peptides, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, etc. Each works in different ways to restore and replenish the skin’s natural barrier.
It may be difficult to choose which antioxidant to add to your routine and when to apply it. Here are two effective ingredients that will help with anti- aging.
A.M. — Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the gold standard of UV aging prevention. In scientific terms, this active topical ingredient repairs oxidative damage to proteins, aka pigmentation from sunburn. In less confusing terms, vitamin C brightens and smooths the skin, while also protecting it from the sun and other environmental stressors.
P.M. — Retinoids
This highly potent vitamin A derivative promotes cell turnover, stimulates collagen and ultimately evens out skin tone. Because retinoids increase collagen and new blood vessel production, they slow the development of fine lines and wrinkles. But those aren’t the only benefits — retinoids can fade dark spots, smooth enlarged pores and improve elasticity.
However, it can take 6-12 months to see results, so be patient! Also, note that retinoids can cause dryness and irritation, so it’s best to start slow and use this product only 2-3 times a week. From there, you can gradually work your way up to every other night.
STEP 3: MOISTURIZE
Applying a facial moisturizer is an essential step in any skincare routine, especially for those focused on anti-aging. Moisturizers hydrate the skin for a supple look and plump feel.
Using a lightweight daytime moisturizer and a thicker night cream will restore and replenish the skin’s protective barrier, while also preventing moisture-loss and keeping unwanted irritants out.
A weak skin barrier can lead to dryness, irritation, discoloration and acne breakouts. This is why it’s important to use a nourishing cream, which helps to create an invisible shield of protections for smooth, healthy skin.
STEP 4: APPLY A FACE OIL
A face oil helps to lock in your products, aka everything you’ve applied before this step. At night, this can be the last step in your routine. In the morning, it comes second to last and should be followed by a sunscreen.
As you age, your skin produces less oil and collagen, meaning it can dry out more easily. Quick-absorbing, nutrient-rich face oils will lock in moisture, prevent water loss and plumpen skin, thus reducing fine lines.
There are many high-quality ingredients that can make for a good face oil. For anti-aging, stick to a product that includes antioxidants, which will boost collagen production and strengthen skin elasticity. Ingredients like argan, marula, and rosehip seed will do just that.
STEP 5: SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN AND MORE SUNSCREEN!
Proper skincare starts and ends with sunscreen. SPF is the most powerful anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-dark spot product on the market. You should use sunscreen every morning and reapply throughout the day, even if the sun is not out. Harmful UV rays beam down year-round, even through cloudy and rainy skies.
It’s never too late to protect your skin from sun exposure. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains SPF 30 or higher.