Aging is inevitable, but I believe that with the right skincare knowledge everyone has the power to become a well-educated “skintellectual” and age gracefully. Our skin begins to break down, lose elasticity, and develop dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles as we age. Knowing what skincare products, tools, and trends are worth the hype and cost can sometimes feel like a bottomless black hole of misinformation.
Whether you are in your late twenties, thirties, forties, or beyond, we have all looked in the mirror at some point and developed a grudge against gravity. I will admit that even in my early to mid-twenties I would catch myself meticulously examining those tiny lines forming on my forehead or by my eyes and mentally quote the great Cher, “If I could turn back time”.
Unfortunately, we cannot turn back time, live life through a virtual filter, or avoid the sunlight completely, but we can help treat and prevent fine lines, and wrinkles, and protect our skin from environmental factors. Here are some skin-loving ingredients and products to gain and maintain smooth, youthful, glowing skin.
ALWAYS use SPF! Even indoors! SPF is the most proven anti-aging ingredient on the market. Protecting your skin from the sun is vital for youthful-looking skin. (If you have sensitive skin, try a mineral Zinc Oxide sunscreen)
RETINOL/RETINOIDS (VITAMIN A DERIVATIVES)
Retinol is one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there. It stimulates collagen and elastin production, increases cell turnover, and creates overall brighter, younger-looking skin.
Retinoids are the strongest and increase cell turnover faster than retinol. Most Retinoids, like Tretinoin, are prescribed.
Retinol, on the other hand, is readily available in many products. The main difference will come from the amount of time it takes to see results.
SENSTIVE SKIN ALTERNATIVE:
Bakuchiol is a plant-based retinol alternative, perfect for sensitive skin. Bakuchiol is a gentler option to increase cell turnover and encourage collagen production.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can penetrate the top layer of skin and encourage your cells to produce collagen. Increased collagen can make skin look firmer, smoother, and more youthful.
Ceramides hold the skin together and help form a protective layer on our outermost layer of skin, the Epidermis. This barrier helps lock in moisture, keep your skin supple, and helps protect your skin from environmental damage. In other words, a strong, healthy skin barrier means very happy skin.
Antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, or Green tea are vital for a good anti-aging skincare routine. They protect your skin from free radicals in your environment (which can damage the skin), and they have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin.
Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant (that attracts and preserves moisture). It is known to improve elasticity and be very firming, hydrating, and plumping for fine lines & wrinkles.
Humectants soak up moisture from their environment and lock them in. You should always use Hyaluronic Acid on damp skin and apply moisturizer on top.
NIACINAMIDE (VITAMIN B3)
Niacinamide is a multi-purpose miracle ingredient. It strengthens the skin barrier, can increase collagen production, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, brighten dark spots and discolorations, and more. The benefits vary based on the percentage of Niacinamide in the product. For anti-aging benefits, use at least 5% Niacinamide.
Be kind to yourself and remember that aging is natural and beautiful. It is important to remember that we use skincare because we love our skin, not because we hate it. Remember that everyone’s skin is different and results take time, but if you commit to feeding your skin potent ingredients, like the ones listed above, your skin will always be happy, healthy, and radiant.
So the next time you find yourself wanting to quote Cher’s “if I could turn back time” I hope you stop and remember what Bruno Mars told us all back in 2010, “You’re amazing, just the way you are.”
I hope this information helps you make confident skincare choices moving forward and gives you the best skin of your life. Wishing you many happy skin days ahead.
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Bianca Shaw is a Chicago-based actor, voice actor, writer, and graduate of the Second City Conservatory and Severn Darden Graduate Program. She won the 2019 Mary Scruggs Works By Women Festival, and her first feature-length script was a Semifinalist in the 2020 Screencraft Action & Adventure Screenplay Competition. Her interests revolve around skincare, beauty, and comedy.