Are your beauty products actually speeding up the ageing process?

Have you ever found yourself standing in front of rows and rows of cleansers, toners, moisturizers, body creams, and so forth, not having a clue which brand is best, or which products will work best on your skin?  We are so bombarded today by advertisers and media by “new technologies” and “miracle ingredients,” that it can be quite overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right products.  Add to that the many articles written about products that are bad for you and the environment, versus the trusted brands that do have certain ingredients in that, according to these articles, are bad for the environment. Here are a few tips that, hopefully, make it easier when it comes to decision-making time.

Age-accelerating irritants

Harsh scrubs, alcohol and fragrance can cause irritation, inflammation and sensitivity, and damage the skin’s protective layer – especially if you are allergic or have a sensitive skin.  When using products that contain one of more of these ingredients, it can dehydrate your skin and make it more vulnerable to environmental damage; making you look older.  It is best to avoid products containing parabens, phthalates and triclosan (can disrupt your hormones too!), as well as products containing harsh detergents and surfactants like sodium lauryl sulphate, fragrances and petrochemicals.

More H2O than moisture

Many of the moisturizers are water-based.  At first your skin will feel hydrated and nourished, but as the water starts to evaporate, your skin end up feeling tighter and even dryer than before.  This in turn causes faster ageing.  Best to avoid these water-based moisturizers that don’t contain hydrophilic groups like amine and hydroxide.  These ingredients bond with the water and lock it into the skin; keeping your skin hydrated all day.

Cleansers and toners that dehydrates the skin

Cleansers and toners are used to clear away dirt and excess oils, right?  Yes, but did you know that using it is just as important to maintain your skin’s moisture and that the wrong products can affect your moisturizer and serum’s ability to penetrate your skin’s layers and do their work?  So, look our for age-appropriate cleansers and stay clear of alcohol-based toners, which only dehydrates the skin. 

What should you add / be on the lookout for?

Alpha-hydroxide acid (AHA) is a chemical that exfoliates the skin.  Ingredients like lactic glycolic acids separate the bonds that hold the dry, dead skin on the surface. These acids help your skin to shed these dead cells naturally and evenly, leaving it looking and feeling smoother and younger.  Do take care not to use a product that has more than 10% AHAs in, as this can irritate your and make it more sensitive than normal.

Serum is non-negotiable

Serum is an important add-on to your beauty routine; especially if you are older than 40.  It is one of the most powerful concentrated products that targets specific skin concerns, for example dark marks.  Serums contain potent doses of ingredients that are light and absorbed quickly, and deliver fast results.

Eye-creams / -gels

Because the areas around the eyes are very sensitive, dot the cream / gel and gently stroke it in.  Careful not to use too much or to rub vigorously and don’t put any cream / gel too close to the eyes.  Using eye-creams / -gels regularly should tackle dark circles, crow’s feet and puffiness.

Sunscreen

The jury is still out – some people believe sunscreen is not good for you, others live by it!  Most day creams contain SPF 15 +.  However, if you don’t use a product with added sunscreen in, do add it to your list when you are out and about in the sun.  We do need sunshine in order for our bodies to absorb and store Vitamin D.

However, roasting in the sun (especially between 10:00 and 14:00), is not a good idea.  Our faces and hands quickly give away our age; make sure to either use a day cream or moisturizer with sunscreen in, or apply some before you put on your make-up; especially if you are going to be in the sun for long periods.

An anti-ageing morning-routine

It is one thing to choose the right products, but make sure to use them in the right order as well to maximize their benefits.  In the morning start with a gentle cleanser.  Then apply your serum sparingly (just a little bit goes a long way as it is quite potent).  If needed, apply an eye-cream / -gel and lastly, your moisturizer.

An anti-ageing night-time routine

Ladies, when it comes to taking off your make-up, use a richer cleanser, micellar water or wipes.  Never go to bed with your make-up on; no matter how tired you are!  Not only will it rub off on your pillow, but it will clog your pores and leave you with a dull, break-out prone skin!  Next apply a serum (try using one that stimulates collagen; look out for the ingredient retinal).  An eye-cream / -gel is then gently applied and lastly a night cream / -gel.  Exfoliate once / twice a week.  But be careful not to over exfoliate, as this can strip your skin not only from its natural oils, but also dry out your skin.

Sometimes we are pressed for time and we don’t have time or energy to go through the above-mentioned routine.  It is OK – I believe that, unless you were sweating during the night, that it is not always the end to not wash your face with a cleanser.  Putting a moisturizer on before you put on your make-up is always a good idea.  Some day-creams contain many active ingredients that not only moisturizes your skin but also evens’ out fine lines, while protecting it against free radicals and the sun.  And remember: always remove your make-up before hopping into bed.

A few last tips 

On the other hand, you might find you are using more products during winter or when you are in an area where the air is dry.  Even then, give your skin a chance to breathe.

Give your skin time to breathe!  Unless you have an extremely dry skin (which can be due to not drinking enough water or not adding enough Omega-oils to your diet), try to skip 1 / 2 nights without putting any creams, gels, serums, and so on, on your face.  There are millions of pores and sweat glands under your skin and it needs to breathe.  Using too much, every day and night, of all the above-mentioned products, can clog the pores and cause break-outs.  When you are lucky enough to live in a humid area, you might find you use less creams.  That is fine. 

Lastly; using too much of a product, too often, will leave your skin more irritated, prone to break-outs and even more sensitive.  Read the labels and never over-use a product.  Your skin can only absorb so much, so remember “less is more.”

Happy shopping and only use products that work for your skin.

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