The quest to find the fountain of youth is a never-ending one. And while ageing is part and parcel of life, it doesn’t mean we should surrender to it completely. In fact, there are several zero-cost things you can do at home to delay the process to help you age gracefully.
Earlier today, Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Goh talked about slowing the signs of ageing with smart and surprisingly easy-to-follow tips with Angelique Teo on One FM 91.3.
FIND YOUR INNER ZEN
Being in a constant state of stress can aggravate skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. In a scientific study conducted by Avon Products, researchers found that stress can also disrupt the skin’s barrier functions and impair wound healing. Not all stress can be removed from our lives though, so we must learn to manage it. Exercise and meditation can help alleviate tension, as does journalling, which offers a cathartic way of letting things go.
As we age, skin’s cell turnover slows, so incorporate an exfoliating product into your skincare routine to help reveal the fresh new skin underneath. Exfoliators are broadly categorised into physical and chemical ones—the former includes loofahs and gritty scrubs while the latter are your acid-based ones. Physical exfoliators can disrupt the skin’s pH balance by removing the good bacteria, and trigger skin sensitivity problems such as eczema and rosacea. The harsher ones can even cause micro-tears in the skin. So if you have more delicate skin, opt for a chemical one instead, which uses mild acids such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids to gently dislodge the “glue” that holds dead surface skin cells together so that they can be shed naturally.
UP YOUR ANTIOXIDANTS
Urban living has its conveniences, but it also exposes us to higher levels of pollution, particularly those generated by cars. Airborne pollutants such as fine particulate matter can become trapped inside pores and trigger the formation of skin-ageing free radicals. Constant exposure to pollution also weakens collagen structures, leading to fine lines, while causing skin sensitivity and inflammation. To counter free-radical damage and combat the signs of ageing, look for products with antioxidants such as vitamin C, retinol, resveratrol and niacinamide.
Related article: The Best Anti-Ageing Creams Your Future Self Will Thank You For
We tend to stay away from facial oils as they can feel heavy on skin in our hot, humid weather. Those of us with sensitive or acne-prone skin may also be concerned about exacerbating these conditions. The good news is, there are a whole plethora of facial oils to suit different skin types. Facial oils in general are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which support the skin’s moisture barrier and help prevent water loss. Apart from locking in moisture, some, such as argan and jojoba, also have anti-inflammatory properties to quell redness and irritation. To ease into the habit of applying facial oils, use them at night when there are fewer products on your face. The texture won’t bother you as much and you can truly benefit from its emollient properties, especially if you sleep in an air-conditioned room.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is said to be the most beneficial form of exercise for your skin and overall health. In a study of 72 volunteers, researchers found an increase in mitochondrial capacity (a cell’s ability to produce energy) in those who did HIIT. The cellular boost was even higher for those aged between 65 and 80, which means it’s never too late to start your HIIT routine.
This most basic step can make or break your skincare routine. Always use a makeup remover prior to a cleanser—it can be an oil cleansing product capable of breaking down heavy foundations and sunscreens, or a bi-phase makeup remover specifically formulated for waterproof makeup. Once that’s out of the way, use a gentle face wash that wicks away the remaining oils and impurities without drying out skin. You know that “squeaky clean” feeling? You’d want to avoid that as it means your cleanser is too drying for your skin. Lastly, pat, not rub, the water away before proceeding with the rest of your routine.
DON’T SKIMP ON SLEEP
Long-term sleep deprivation can be bad for not just your health but also your skin. That’s because the body goes into recovery mode at night—making anti-inflammatory cytokines and increasing the production of human growth hormones. It is also when the skin’s natural reparative ability peaks. When you don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of rest, these processes get disrupted, bringing about health and skin issues. The skin absorbs nutrients in skincare better at night too, so make the most of it by using products fortified with the big guns of anti-ageing ingredients, such as retinol and glycolic acid.
LAY OFF THE SUGAR
We’re not hating on those who love ending their meals on a sweet note, but try to cut down on the excess sugar you don’t need. We’re talking about bubble tea, sweetened coffee and snacks your body can do without. Sugar damages the skin through a process called glycation, where it binds to collagen and stiffens it, causing otherwise elastic collagen fibres to become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging.