Anti-Aging MVPs: Reaching For The Big Guns

While aging is undeniably a privilege and there is no such thing as an “anti-aging” product per say, there is nothing wrong with aiming to maintain a healthy, glowing, and youthful complexion for as long as possible. This of course, means different things to different people. Whether or not you are willing to undergo cosmetic procedures, good skin — regardless of age — starts with a consistent routine. In someone’s twenties, that means sticking to a thorough double-cleanse, no matter how long the night has been, moisturizing and protecting the epidermis from sun rays and free radicals daily.

The real changes generally start happening when hitting the big thirty. Overloading the skin with super potent actives before then, unless it is to treat acne or another specific concern, can be unnecessarily costly and could also potentially jeopardize the skin’s lipid barrier. Thirty is by no means old, mind you, but that’s when gravity starts taking its toll and when the body’s innate resilience and its capacity to produce collagen and hyaluronic acid, amongst other things, begin to dramatically decrease. It is important to bear in mind that no topical treatment can fix what only lasers and injectables can — there’s only so much you can expect from a product, however hefty its price tag. Equally important, a balanced diet, enough sleep and moving your body as often as possible go a long way, too.

Luckily, some ingredients have been shown to visibly improve some signs of aging overtime and including them in a skincare regimen can help you breeze through the years by supporting your hard-working skin as best as you can. The first line of defense should always be proper sun and environmental protection. Pairing a sunscreen with a vitamin C serum during the day is a smart move that will ensure that the epidermis is well protected. Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant, it also strengthens the skin’s lipid barrier by boosting its ability to repair itself and supports the production of collagen. While it won’t magically erase severe pigmentation, it has proven to be effective in treating some sun damage and most importantly, to decrease the synthesis of melanin, which is responsible for the appearance of dark spots.

Hyaluronic acid is another power player that has made one hell of a name for itself in recent years, so much so that a vast majority of products now include some form of this molecule that retains over a thousand times its weight in water and helps to plump those little dehydration lines we hate to wake up to. Despite its name, hyaluronic acid doesn’t behave like your typical acid since its purpose isn’t to exfoliate the epidermis, and as a result it plays well with other actives and is easily squeezed into a morning or evening routine. Once the skin has been properly protected and supported throughout the day, it’s time for acids and exfoliants to step in. There is a plethora of ingredients available in various forms on the market, but when it comes to easing into a preventative routine, AHAs are a safe bet. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are the power siblings who need no introduction in a world where the infamous Biologique Recherche’s P50 is king and (almost) everyone owns at least one acid toner in their arsenal. Glycolic acid is deeply resurfacing, speeding up the cells’ renewal journey and smoothing skin texture, but should be treated with caution as it isn’t the most widely well-tolerated little devil. Lactic acid, on the other hand, is the favorite child, satisfyingly smoothing while its water retaining abilities makes it a gentler alternative – particularly for dryer skin types. On nights when acids are given a break, retinol is the cherry on top that will truly change the game. Like vitamin C, this derivative of vitamin A wears many hats, tackling acne, fine lines and uneven skin texture alike.

Finally, a rich moisturizer or an oil, depending on your skin type, is needed to seal the deal. Acids and retinol, no matter how handy, do put a considerable amount of pressure on the skin’s ecosystem and some level of inflammation is often a byproduct of all of their hard work. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to balance it all out with a layer of comforting, straightforward nourishment before calling it a night. Some oils and moisturizers are so densely packed with ingredients that they do a fantastic job on their own, too, giving you and your skin a break from a somewhat ambitious routine from time to time.

No matter what you do, remember that caution is always in order when introducing new products, especially actives like acids, retinol and even vitamin C. Throwing everything that you have at your skin all at once will do more harm than good, so take it easy and try introducing something new to your routine by using it a couple of times a week and sticking to it for at least two months before graduating to the next level. The aim is never, ever to fight your skin, but to help and protect it; it’s been doing a wonderful job thus far and it’s not about to let you down — and neither should you.

Anti-Aging MVPs

Written by: Megan Podwysocki

Megan Podwysocki is a 20-something contributing writer at Bleu, living in Switzerland. She likes to play with makeup, studies astrology, and brews her own kombucha.

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