It is never too early to start taking care of your skin’s health. The sooner you start, the later you age.
“You look tired.” The most feared of statements. We all know what it means: that our face is off; our skin is gray and has lost its radiance, and the first wrinkles are rearing their heads. In short, we are getting old. It doesn’t matter if we’re just 25 years old.
It is precisely between the ages of 25 and 30 that skin shows the first signs of aging. This depends on various factors, for instance microcirculation problems. The main function of microcirculation is transporting oxygen and nutrients. If it loses its elasticity and dilates, as is the case with aging, blood flows slower and cells reduce their production of collagen and elastin. It is an inexorable process. Yet our knowledge of it gives us an advantage: if we immediately run for cover, we can prevent it or at least slow down its effects.
1. Detoxify from your bad habits.
Aging is a slow process which is sometimes speeded up by external factors. One such trigger is air pollution: fine dust creates a gray veil on the skin and impedes its ability to breathe. Not an easily solvable problem, if you live in the city. However not all factors of aging are unavoidable, and many depend on us and our bad habits. If you want to keep a youthful radiant face for a long time, it is first of all necessary to act on our vices.
Cut down on alcohol.
Alcohol is a vasodilator, causes dehydration and, hinders the production of vasopressin, the hormone that helps us reabsorb water. It also reduces the liver’s production of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that promotes cell turnover. We should therefore try to drink less alcohol, and cut down on our wine or beer intake.
Avoid excessive heat.
The summer sun is notoriously an enemy of the skin, and not just because of UV radiation. Its heat is a powerful vasodilator, and in addition to reducing the microcirculation this can cause an unsightly redness and break our capillaries. Likewise, during the winter, we weary of hot water and radiators.
Sleeping too little and badly damages the balance of our circadian rhythm, and affects our skin making it dull and opaque. If you reduce your hours of sleep, you prevent the body from producing collagen (fibroblasts are more active during sleep). We also hinder cell renewal: our body will struggle to eliminate waste products accumulated during the day, and these cause our skin to look dull. This is why anti-aging creams should preferably be applied before going to sleep: at night the skin absorbs antioxidants faster and makes them more available.
Increase your level of activity.
Physical exercise, especially aerobic and low-impact exercise, is great for the skin. Especially when recovering from a particularly drastic slimming diet, during which your skin might have lost tone and elasticity. During the summer, the best exercise is also the most enjoyable: swimming.
Drink more water.
A constant supply of water is essential for the skin, if you consider the functions it performs: it regulates our body temperature, transports nutrients to the cells of the epithelium and derma, increases skin elasticity, tone and resistance. For this reason we should drink loads, especially in the hot months when we tend to dehydrate. Start at breakfast, with a glass of hot water and lemon: it will help eliminate toxins from the body.
2) Provide your body with the ingredients to make collagen.
Cutaneous aging is due a decline in collagen production in the dermis. All the more reason to supplement it. For years, experts have been debating the usefulness of taking collagen supplements to build and regenerate the extracellular matrix: some argue that collagen taken by mouth would be broken down into its basic components – proteins and amino acids. What is more effective is to provide the body with the basic elements it needs to synthesize collagen itself: the amino acids that fibroblasts use to make collagen (first of all glycine, proline and lysine) and other precious nutrients. Here is the list of the most important ones:
- Glycine: derived from choline (a type of B vitamin found in foods such as shrimps, eggs, scallops and chicken), threonine and serine.
- Proline: found in egg whites, soy and cabbage.
- Lysine: an essential amino acid found in all foods that contain proteins: meat, fish, cheeses, fruit, legumes, milk derivatives.
- Anthocyanins: found in blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries.
- Copper: an important micronutrient which increases the formation of collagen and elastin. Mainly present in walnuts.
- Zinc: found in salmon, edamame, walnuts and Greek yogurt.
- Vitamin A or beta-carotene: very rich in sweet potatoes (the reddish ones), yellow peppers (which also have a lot of vitamin C) and broad-leaved vegetables.
- Vitamin C: (citrus fruits, peppers) helps the synthesis of collagen.
- Taurine and lipoic acid: help repair damaged collagen fibers and are both present in garlic.
3) Do a facial scrub and brightening mask
A facial scrub is a super simple way to restore brightness to the face. By removing dead cells and makeup residues, it restores color to the epidermis and allows it to breathe. Once every ten days is enough, to prevent the skin from losing its natural protection. You can make scrubs at home – that are easy to prepare, and all women know this one: honey and cane sugar. It is applied by gently massaging into the skin, and removed with water.
If you want to prepare a natural regenerating mask, all you have to do is mix an egg with two tablespoons of rose water and two tablespoons of glycerin (the latter helps moisturize the skin). Leave it on the face for 15 minutes, then cleanse with warm water.
4) Train your facial muscles
Another practical way to restore tone and brightness to the skin which you can do on your own is facial gymnastics. Also called “facial yoga”, it includes a series of exercises (not unlike a circuit you’d follow at the gym for the rest of your body) that aim to tone our facial muscles.
Through a series of contractions, each muscle of the face is stimulated in order to recover turgor and elasticity, thus neutralizing the imperfections it helped create by its relaxation (for example, wrinkles and the loss in facial contour). Facial gymnastics has a corrective effect, but if practiced before the age of 25 it can also perform an important preventive function. Of course, results are obtained only through commitment and continuity. If you exercise twenty minutes a day (maybe ten minutes in the morning and ten in the afternoon), your skin will be visibly more toned and luminous after only two weeks.
5) Use skin products with anti-oxidant properties
In moments of particular stress for the skin, due to increased exposure to UV rays or prolonged treatment with certain drugs, it is important to use skin products that perform a specific anti-oxidant action. VISCODERM® Cream, thanks to the pine bark dry extract of PYCNOGENOL®, can reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the setting of alterations to the skin’s conditions, for example as a natural consequence of a dermo-aesthetic filler-based treatment. The cream is also moisturizing and soothing, to give the face a toned and relaxed appearance.
An alternative formulation in the Viscoderm line is an oral supplement, VISCODERM® Pearls, which also contains hydrolyzed collagen, to promote synthesis of the extracellular matrix.
Beauty has always been a race against time. Nowadays, however, thanks to progress in knowledge and in dermo-aesthetic technologies, we have gained a small advantage over our opponent. We now have a head start.