Of all the promises that skincare brands make, the promise to make you look younger has to be the most common. That’s no surprise considering that the desire to look as young and vibrant as you feel is about as universal of a feeling as there can be. Still, if I had a dime for every time I heard an ad that said words like “ten years younger” or “turn back time,” I could buy every one of those calendar-defying rebel products.
Let’s move beyond the promises and “after” photos, though. What do anti-aging products actually do? How do they make your skin look younger?
Aging is actually a multi-faceted process, so your skin is aging in several ways at once (thanks a lot, biology). Because of this, there are several ways that aging products can revitalize your skin, and different products have different focuses and strategies. These are the most common.
Of all the ways that our skin ages, collagen loss is the more critical of them. Collagen is a protein your body naturally produces, and it’s the key reason your skin is firm, thick, smooth, and tight when you’re young. As with anything else in our bodies, our collagen is constantly breaking down and being replaced by newly-produced collagen.
As we get older, though, our collagen production slows. Because our collagen is now breaking down faster than we’re replacing it, our skin has less collagen so it becomes thinner and more prone to sagging and wrinkles.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to naturally increase your collagen production, and that’s the focus of many skincare products for aging skin. Try the Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion, which gives your skin the amino acids needed to produce more collagen. Another option is the NeoCutis Bio Cream Firm Riche. This soothing cream boosts your production of both collagen and elastin, another protein that affects your skin’s youthful elasticity.
Reducing Age Spots from Sun Damage
Age spots get their name for a reason: they tend to crop up more and more as we get older, so they’ve been deemed to be a sign of age. In reality, they don’t come from the ticking of time but from sun damage.
Your very intelligent body knows that the radiation from the sun is harmful. So, when you’re exposed to the sun, your pigment cells produce extra pigment to absorb more radiation and block it from reaching the critical deeper layers of your skin. Genius, right? That’s what happens when you get a tan.
Unfortunately, sometimes that extra pigment sticks around longer than it should and joins together in awkward cliques. These are age spots, also known as liver spots or, clinically, hyperpigmentation.
Aside from making sunscreen part of your daily habits so your age spots don’t get worse, you can actively fight back against existing age spots with the right anti-aging skincare products. For instance, GlyMed Plus’s Age Management Derma Pigment Skin Brightener can gradually break down age spots to even out your skin tone. The same is true for iS Clinical’s Brightening Complex.
Increasing Cell Turnover
What if I told you there was an entire younger face beneath your visible face, just waiting to make its way forward? That’s actually true in a way.
As I’d mentioned before, every cell in your body is constantly being discarded and regenerated. Your skin cells are no exception.
On a continuous basis, your body is shedding some of the damaged surface cells and making way for the already-created younger cells below. Because those fresh cells have fewer wrinkles and less sun damage, the more quickly and efficiently you shed the surface cells, the more youthful you’ll look.
If there’s a hack for looking younger (one that doesn’t involve weird things like taping your skin back or caking on enough makeup to literally fill in your wrinkles), it’s hydration. Just look at a grape compared to a raisin. All that’s changed is that the raisin has been dried out, and its skin has gone from smooth and taut to wrinkled and ridged.
Your skin reacts in a similar way. When it’s well-hydrated, it has youthful volume so it’s plumper and smoother. When it’s dehydrated, it shrivels up a bit which makes wrinkles deeper and more prominent.
While collagen growth, cell turnover, and age spot reduction are all long-term anti-aging strategies, hydration is a short-term fix that complements their efforts. It doesn’t necessarily prevent or slow aging itself, but it helps you look as young as possible on a daily basis.
That’s why so many anti-aging products focus on hydration or incorporate hydration along with other rejuvenating strategies. The PCA Skin Hydrating Serum is a fast and efficient way to boost hydration and plump your skin, while the iS Clinical Youth Intensive Crème combines moisturization with collagen restoration.
The Key to Looking Younger: The Right Products
It’s always disheartening to look in the mirror and feel the energy drain out of you because you realize that you look older than you feel. If you’ve decided that enough is enough, look for skincare products specifically designed to restore your youth through any (or all) of the techniques above. Remember that they’ll take some time before you start to see results, but give them a chance and then sit back and enjoy your refreshed reflection.