Whether it’s crazy diets or weird and wonderful skincare ingredients (we’re looking at you, snail slime), women are always after ways to stop aging in its tracks. So, to help us all in our quest to look younger, we’ve tapped some of the top names in the skincare industry, from celebrity facialists to dermatologists, to find out their advice on how to turn back time. We’ve also thrown in some of Savoir Flair’s favorite anti-aging skincare products for you to shop, so read on for the ultimate tips, tricks, and product picks to help you look younger and better than ever.
Sorry to break it to you, but the sweet stuff really isn’t so sweet for your skin. “Excess sugar consumption leads to the breakdown of collagen, so slowly reduce the amount of sugar in your diet,” recommends Dr. Frauke Neuser, Principle Scientist at Olay. “Added sugars should make up no more than ten percent of your daily intake. Also, be sure to know your sugars: honey and fruit juices contain high amounts of it!”
Take a Break From Technology
If you spend hours working at your computer, the screen time could be adding years to your skin – more so than UV rays. “There’s emerging evidence that the light from computer screens and cell phones, which is referred to as high-energy visible light, or HEV, can penetrate into the deeper levels of the skin,” explains dermatologist Dr. Justine Hextall. “This results in free radical damage that can break down skin collagen and elastin, the structures that keep the skin firm and youthful, leading to the development of fine lines and wrinkles – not to mention sagging skin.”
Look at the Labels
Read your skincare labels and look out for ingredients that will help you turn back time. “I always look for hyaluronic acid and alpha-hydroxys because they help to push up new skin cells and create collagen, and peptides because they’re the building blocks of the body. I love the vitamin niacinamide. Again, it helps to create cellular production, which leads to brighter looking skin!”, explains celebrity dermatologist Anastasia Achilleos.
“Also look for retinyl palmitate, a derivative from vitamin A, which helps to treat pigmentation and acne and helps to balance the skin. Vitamin E is a great one, as is vitamin D. Anything that our bodies produce naturally is good because there’s a synergy with the body, and we know how to handle it.”
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“Getting regular physical activity activates the blood circulation and oxygenation of the body, and makes you sweat. This will help detoxify the skin to give you better cell activity,” explains Isabelle Fazah, Regional Trainer at Nuxe Middle East.
It seems South Korean women are onto something as double cleansing is a great way to help you look younger and fresher than ever. “Double cleanse, especially in the evenings,” recommends Rebecca Treston, Founder and Manager of Rebecca Treston Aesthetics at Euromed Clinic Dubai.
“Products should be dependent on your skin type and what your skin needs. Those who wear loads of makeup should be using an emulsifying cleanser first as this will break down any makeup and oil. Then use a cleanser that’s specific to your skin type – those who have dry or aging skin should use one that has AHAs. This two-step regime removes dirt and grime from skin first, so it can breathe and rejuvenate properly.
“The second cleanser should have active ingredients needed to target individual concerns. I recommend you only use products that have strong actives, such as AHA or salicylic acid, in the evening after you’ve been out all day and your skin has been exposed. Using them both in the morning and evening risks drying skin out, making it a bit tight and tired-looking. Nighttime is best for stronger cleansers, while it’s better to use something light, gentle, and refreshing in the morning – nothing too strong or too astringent.”
If you thrive on stress to get your job done, consider what it’s doing to your skin. “The latest research has revealed that stress is a major aging factor for our skin – and entire body for that matter,” explains dermatologist Dr. Stephanie Williams. “In today’s modern world, we are exposed to an almost constant assault of low-level stress. This can lead to a persistent elevation of stress hormones, including the incredibly aging stress hormone called cortisol.”
In fact, cortisol has even been referred to as the “death hormone”. “Studies have confirmed that high levels of cortisol are even linked to our faces looking older because it can have a negative effect on the collagen and elastin fibers, which make our skin plump and smooth,” adds Dr. Williams.
They say you are what you eat, so it only makes sense that what you put in your body affects what it looks like on the outside. “Having a healthy diet is important to provide all the nutrients that protect the skin from aging and harmful free radicals,” says Fazah.
“Go for foods with a high content of Omega 3, 6, and 9 as well as antioxidants. Eat lots of nuts like walnuts and almonds, fruits (red ones like pomegranates, grapes, tomatoes, and strawberries are the best), vegetables (load up on carrots and bell peppers), and berries like goji and blueberries.”
Protect, Protect, Protect!
And we’re not just talking about when you’re outside, but when you’re inside too! “UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and windows, and are responsible for changing the DNA in the skin to cause premature skin aging and skin cancer. In fact, it accounts for 80 percent of skin aging,” warns Treston.
“Simply put, these are the true damaging rays, so always wear sunscreen. You will regret not doing so when you look at your skin compared to friends who have worn it daily! Harmful UV rays not only accelerate the aging process, but also account for the appearance of brown spots, skin discoloration, and lines and wrinkles.”
Keep a Happy Home
On that note, Treston also goes on to explain why our homes can be seriously aging us. “Everyday activities such as cooking, personal grooming, and cleaning can cause indoor pollutants – and you don’t need to inhale them for them to harm you. Recent studies show that certain airborne pollutants called phthalates are just as easily absorbed through your skin. Once they enter your body, they can accumulate and form free radicals that often cause premature aging and other health problems.
“Free radicals, in effect, make cells dysfunctional and the more your skin surface has, the faster it ages. When combined with the natural aging process, excessive free radicals can cause blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Skin that has been overexposed to exterior stressors such as UV rays, cleaning products, certain skincare ingredients, and other common pollutants is often weakened, making it more susceptible to environmental damage.”
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“Exfoliating twice a week is an excellent way to stimulate your cells’ renewal and activity. By removing the dead cells at the surface, the skin will find a balance to stimulate the renewal,” explains Fazah.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
No, it’s not just an old wives’ tale; sleep really does make you look young and beautiful as it’s the time when your cells are most active. As Dr. Neuser explains, “Sleep deprivation does not just mean dark circles, puffiness, and breakouts. When you’re sleepy, chances are that your skin is feeling it too. This means that your skin produces less chemical energy, which slows down cell regeneration and vital skin processes such as repair from UV and environmental damage.”
Put Down Your Phone
Easier said than done, right? Phones are an essential part of any working day; we take them everywhere and put them down everywhere. But did you know that the trusty gadget you hold to your face several times a day is loaded with more bacteria than a toilet seat? “Your mobile phone emits blue light and is a source of bacteria, both of which can cause pigmentation and wrinkles, so choose a sunscreen that includes zinc oxide, which is known to offer wide-ranging protection,” recommends Treston.
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Boost Blood Circulation
Massages aren’t just great for your body, but for your face too – especially when it comes to anti-aging. “Massaging the face and – more specifically – the areas where you see wrinkles and loss of firmness is very important,” explains Fazah.
“Massaging helps to activate the blood circulation, so your anti-aging cream is much more easily absorbed by the skin. Moreover, the massage helps to stimulate the synthesis of collagen in the skin as it improves the inter-cellular connections. That’s why pinching and tapping the skin helps the blood to come up to the surface, which also boosts radiance!”
Be Eye-xtra Careful
Our eyes are normally the first place to show signs of aging, so Treston recommends us to pay attention to the delicate eye area. “The skin around the eye is very delicate and thin, which makes it very susceptible to aging. Always use a product that has been designed for this area, and pat it around the eye – never rub,” she advises.
Curb the Caffeine
It’s always hard to turn down a cup of Joe when a colleague offers to make you some, but GP and skincare specialist Dr. Anita Sturnham believes that our daily coffee addiction is aging and ruining our skin. “Small quantities of caffeine may actually be beneficial for the skin, but we know that caffeine junkies who regularly guzzle tea and coffee throughout the day are more prone to dry skin. This is because caffeine has a diuretic effect and draws water out of our cells, which can leave you with dull and lifeless-looking skin.”
“To best complement your skincare routine, have a good skincare treatment plan put in place,” recommends Treston. “My mantra is less is more. You can get addicted to cheaper treatments but they can have a detrimental effect on skin, so book a consultation at a well-established and highly regarded skincare clinic to develop a treatment program that will yield the best results.
“Two treatments that are proving increasingly popular with my patients are Mesotherapy and PRP. Mesotherapy, such as the ‘Viora Infusion’, infuses the dermis layer under the skin with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to nourish and rejuvenate. This promotes the production of collagen and elastin, and will stimulate rejuvenation. PRP – also known as the vampire facelift – uses a purified, concentrated portion of your own blood to help repair cellular damage and rejuvenate skin. It stimulates the regeneration and recovery of aging facial tissue in order to permanently reduce wrinkle pouches and improve skin tone.”
Not only is it seriously bad for your health, but also seriously bad for your skin. “Kick the habit of smoking! It seriously damages your looks as it accelerates aging and lowers collagen production by up to 22 percent!” Dr. Neuser tells us.