At some point in our lives, most of us truly mean it when we say, “I want to age gracefully...” Right up until we actually start aging gracefully. I’m guilty of it! While aging gracefully certainly isn’t a crime, there are 6 easy steps that lend to a more favorable outcome. And as a 20-something female in Southern California, I have chosen to not allow aging do its ‘thing’ without a fight, and instead I’m taking matters into my own hands!
Now I know what you’re thinking… Ashten, you're too young. Actually, I’m at the perfect age! In your twenties, there are multiple body systems that slow down – ehhem, collagen production. We all know how important collagen is, and unfortunately your skin slows down how much collagen and elastin it produces every year starting in your 20's. Furthermore, production of hyaluronic acid decreases, and the skin can no longer exfoliate on its own. This is just the tip of the iceberg of “aging gracefully.” As these key processes slow down, we begin to notice fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity. The good news is, preventing these processes from slowing down (or supplementing what our skin is missing) is a powerful tool in prevention. And let me tell you, my motto when it comes to all things health and beauty is: PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN A CURE. You see, the earlier we understand how to delay things when it comes to our skin, the better our skin will look as we age.
Here are my 6 Commandments for slowing the signs of aging:
- Quality skincare products: The market is saturated with skincare products claiming to be the best, and it’s hard to decipher what quality is and what is not. My rule of thumb is to trust the professionals, not the advertisements. Influencers and commercials are part of mass marketing, and often are pushing products for profit. But professionals such as dermatologists, aestheticians, and estheticians are knowledgeable in skincare conditions and ingredients. Your skincare lineup should reflect what YOUR skin needs, not what someone else is using. Your products should be tailored to your individual skin concerns and the best way to do that is to listen to your skin. What is it telling you? Are you struggling with acne, hyperpigmentation, premature aging, and/or fine lines? If you answered yes to any of those, then you need to pick active and scientifically-driven products that target those concerns. For help finding products specific to your skin’s needs, book a consult or check out Dr. Zoe’s skincare lineups.
- Collagen stimulating treatments: Collagen and elastin production slow down after the age of 25. This is why preventative skincare in your 20’s is so important! After the age of 25, we produce 1% less collagen each year. That 1% may not seem like much, but when you add that to the years you’ve lived past 25…it adds up. Treatments that stimulate collagen and elastin production include Microneedling and CO2 laser. These treatments trigger the body’s immune and wound response to stimulate an influx of collagen and elastin to the areas treated. Think of it as a wakeup call for your body’s collagen production alerting it that it's time to produce more in order to heal itself. These treatments lead you to have tighter, plumper, more youthful skin. And although one treatment may give you the results you want, it is important to note that routine microneedling sessions is key to maintaining those results.
- Baby Botox for the Twenty-Somethings: Botox injections, although effective at treating resting lines and wrinkles, is actually best for preventing those lines from etching into our skin in the first place. As we express ourselves with our facial movements, we create dynamic lines (lines that appear with movement) that make our expressions more noticeable and understandable. But as we continue to make those expressions over time, those dynamic lines turn into static lines (lines that are present without movement). Traditionally, people thought that Botox was only used to erase static lines, but wouldn’t it be better if those lines never became static in the first place? That’s where ‘Baby Botox’ comes in. Small doses of Botox in your 20’s helps to reduce the strength of muscles so that you can still express yourself with facial movements, but without the wrinkles.
- Retinol. Retinol. Retinol: Think of retinol as your superhero skin care ingredient. It not only smooths fine lines and wrinkles, but it also slows the aging process, prevents acne formation, gently exfoliates the skin, and improves cell turnover. Using a retinol as early as possible will greatly improve the overall quality of your skin, as well as giving it the durability it needs to remain youthful for as long as possible. And remember to use retinols at night only, working your way from 2-3x per week to routine, nightly use.
- Sunscreen All Day, Every Day: Like all things in life, mothers know best! When I was a kid, my mom would chase me around the house with a bottle of SPF 50+ every time I wanted to go outside. I would put up a pretty good fight, but she always won in the end. And now that I’m older, I am so grateful to her! She was protecting my young, naïve skin from the harmful UV rays. So why is it when we grow up, we don’t protect ourselves like our moms did? Instead, we bake ourselves outside, chasing California tans, and then wake up a few years down the road to hyperpigmentation. Keeping your skin spot free is easy with SPF every day, all day. And I mean ALL DAY! Make it your ritual to apply sunscreen every morning before you leave the house, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day. Sounds like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be! Grab yourself a physical cream sunscreen at least SPF 22 or higher to apply in the morning, and then follow it up throughout the day with a physical (and chemical free!) powdered mineral sunscreen like our Perfect Powder to keep you protected all day!
- Vitamins to Grow Big and Strong: Vitamin supplementation is key to overall wellness, whether you are targeting health or beauty. But, our skin health is only a small piece of the larger picture. Your skin is a protective barrier that takes on the burden of its environment – even its internal environment. If your gut health isn’t functioning properly, you will notice abnormalities in your skin, diet, digestion, hormones, etc. Ways to strengthen your internal health include a well-rounded diet, routine exercise, and vitamin supplementation. When we take vitamin supplements by mouth, we only absorb (and are able to use) about 15-20% of the vitamins due to most of it being broken down in our gut, but IV therapy is an optimal way to deliver 100% of vitamins to your cells.
So ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to leave you with this one final consideration: While the concept of ‘aging gracefully’ may come with the best of intentions (and in this day and age of filters and cosmetic surgeries galore, even sounds down right heroic), maintaining your youthful glow is the new aim of our times. Follow these simple non-invasive steps now, and you will thank your beautiful self (and wallet) later.