Anti-ageing products are a tricky subject. On one hand, ageing should not be seen as such a terrible thing — after all, it's a completely natural process, and we should all be embracing it. But on the other hand, if we have the means to slightly delay the appearance of wrinkles, then why shouldn't we?
Although anti-ageing creams and serums seem to be targeting women over 30, properly taking care of your skin shouldn't wait for you to reach a random age. So, in order to learn more about our skin's life, I reached out to experts who gave me a lesson on ageing — and you'll see that it's not as scary as you thought.
Let's Get Technical: What Causes the Skin to Age?
In one word: collagen. According to Alexa Mullane, founder of the brand Potion London, "The reason babies have such soft skin is the abundance of collagen. It is produced in massive quantities when we are young to help produce our rapidly growing skin, muscles, bones, connective tissue, and even hair and nails." As she explains, collagen is "the most abundant protein in our body, and it is found almost everywhere. When we reach our 20s, we have mostly stopped growing. Our bodies don't need as much protein, so we don't naturally produce as much. This is when we start to notice fine lines, wrinkles, and eventually sagging and crepey skin."
The Other Culprits
According to Dr. Johanna Ward, an award-winning skincare specialist and founder of the skincare range ZENII, "UV radiation from the sun is responsible for around 80 to 90 percent of the skin's ageing, so early steps like using regular sunscreen from your 20s onward will prevent early collagen and elastin loss." Yet another reason why you should use sunscreen, whatever the weather.
But that's not all. As explained by Dr. Phillip M. Levy, an aesthetic dermatologist, "Pollution is also a big contributor to ageing around the eyes as it damages the surrounding skin, which is already thinner and more fragile than the rest of our body. Therefore, young people who live in polluted cities should especially focus on taking preventative measures. Finding a good, gentle cleanser for your eyes (not the same as your face, which can and should be stronger) is key to remove inflammation-inducing impurities and toxins."
Try: Dermalogica Soothing Eye Makeup Remover ($36.16), Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream ($41.09).
So, When Should We Start Using Anti-Ageing Products?
Most anti-ageing products seem to be targeting women over 30, but prevention is better than cure, and it's never too early to start taking care of your skin. "The most important products that you can use in your 20s are cleansers and sun protectors," explains Dr. Ward. "Cleansers keep the skin clean and help remove oil and cellular debris whilst helping tackle the issue of pollution. And as for sun protection, it will ensure that you prevent any accelerated ageing of the skin from UV exposure."
Is There a Point of No Return?
The good news is that it never is too late to start taking care of your skin. According to Dr. Ward, "By the time most people are in their early 40s, they will have lost 15 to 20 percent of their total collagen. However, you can press pause on the ageing process by adopting a great skincare routine in your 30s and 40s." This means using products such as cleansers, toners, antioxidants, sun protection, peptides, and retinols. These will work to either protect your skin from damage (cleansers, toners, antioxidants, and sun protection) or to upregulate your skin cell functioning (peptides and retinols).
Try:The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% ($13.15).
Are Anti-Ageing Products Enough?
Although protecting your skin from external factors and using antiageing products is a great start, there's only so much face creams can do. So if you want to go a step further, you can also help your skin by taking supplements. "Fortunately, our skin, hair, and nails grow quickly, which means that the effects of feeding the skin from within can be seen relatively quickly as the skin cells are renewed," says Alexa Mullane.
Try: Potion London The Collagen Boost ($48.76).
The Role of Nutrition
You know the saying: what you eat is what you are. As explained by Dr. Ward, "Nutrition plays an important and sometimes neglected role in skin health. Eating a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, omegas, and antioxidants is extremely important." So, although great skincare is important (and a good starting point!), you'll have to give your body what it needs if you want to have good skin. "It's about feeding your skin from the inside out and optimising cellular health," she explains.
Try: ZENII Skin Health Duo ($121).
Product Credit: Orley Dress, In God We Trust Earrings