Easing the Fear of Aging

Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell and Gwen Stefani wonderfully defy the laws of time and age so gracefully. Do they perhaps know where the fountain of youth is and are making capital gains? Maybe. When it comes to aging, some of us cringe at the word. We welcome the associated wisdom that comes with being older but we desire to maintain the vitality (and appearance) of youth. We want to be forever young *cue song*.

The fear of Father Time has created a market for products and services that aim to reverse the signs of aging. The top signs of aging are: loss of firmness, fine lines and discoloration. While showing physical signs of aging may be considered a pesky, unwelcomed part of growing up, sometimes running from the very thing you fear runs you right into it. Early and excessive use of anti-aging products can speed up the aging process and create unwanted effects. With this being said, it is important to understand the basic science behind anti-aging products.

Aging is divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is controlled by our genes, whereas extrinsic is influenced by our lifestyle choices. Most of the products on the market today target intrinsic aging by stimulating skin cell growth and collagen production. Retinol is like the Holy Grail of over-the-counter treatments. A natural form for Vitamin A, it boosts elasticity of the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Be careful though, with overuse, retinol products begin to thin out your skin and will eventually make you more susceptible to UVA rays.

The general consensus among dermatologists is that your twenties may be too soon to bring in your anti-aging ammunition for the aging battle. Instead, they give soft recommendations that will prepare your skin for future use.

Sunscreen

Even when there is no Sun shining, using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day prevents premature wrinkling and sagging of the skin.

Tracey, a skincare specialist at ULTA in State College says, “Sunscreen is the number one preventer of aging. It is the one thing everyone can do whether you are 16 or 65 to help with the aging process. The Sun depletes our skin of collagen and elastin. It can affect the overall undertone our skin gives off, which leads to aging.”

Exercise

Regular physical activity can help with aging at the genetic level. Frequent resistance training and cardio can train the tissues to behave the way they did when you were younger.

Antioxidants

Free radicals roaming around damage the body’s cells, but the antioxidant army comes to save the day and fight off any damage. They are found in foods like nuts and vegetables.

Sometimes starting too early make anti-aging products ineffective especially during the time you actually need it, kind of like the law of diminishing returns. A sustainable approach to beauty is best. Youthful glows and youthful flows are still at our fingertips and not falling through grasps.