……..and what are the Effects of Aging on Your Skin?
No one in this world is exempt from aging.
Although many people would like to be and world-wide it is a billion dollar industry so it is a big deal.
Ageing starts the day you are born and how you age is dependent on how you treat your body as you go through life.
So if you want to have a fully functional body and still look good by the time you reach retirement age then you might like to consider Chungliang Al Huang’s take on body ageing; “Many people treat their bodies as if they were rented from Hertz……something they are using to get around in but nothing they genuinely care about understanding.”
As we progressively get older, each of us will go through the aging process a little differently, mainly as a result of our lifestyle habits. This brings about various symptoms that may show up in our body.
Some significant signs of aging include vision and hearing problems, weakness, sagging, wrinkling and discoloration of the skin.
When we are born, we’re born with smooth “baby skin,” but as we grow old, our skin goes through a lot of changes.
Skin Aging – as we age, 6 changes similar to the following occur naturally:
1. Skin develops lesions
2. Skin become rougher
3. Skin becomes more transparent due to the thinning of the epidermis.
4. Skin gets sagging due to the loss of the elastic tissue.
5. Skin is easier to bruise due to the thinner blood vessel walls
6. Skin becomes more fragile due to the flattening of the area where dermis and epidermis come together.
Also, there may be changes below the skin that become evident.
3 facial changes you may start to notice (with horror) as you age:
1. Bone loss – this happens mostly around the chin and mouth. It may become evident after the age of 60.
2. Loss of fat below the skin in the temples, cheeks, nose, chin and eye due to loosening skin and sunken eyes.
3. Cartlidge loss in the nose – this causes drooping of the nasal tip.
What is the Biggest Culprit in Skin Aging?
Do you know what the biggest culprit in aging skin is?
It’s the sun and that probably doesn’t surprise you.
As time passes, the sun’s ultraviolet light has a tendency to damage elastin.
When elastin fibers are damaged, this will cause skin to stretch, sag and lose its ability to go back to normal after it has stretched.
The skin may also tear and bruise more easily and take longer to heal.
Sun damage may not appear when you’re young, but it will show up as you age so it goes to show that wearing sun screen when you are young has some good effects when you age.
All in all, how your skin ages will all depend on various factors: your diet, lifestyle, doing strength training or not, heredity, and personal habits.
For example, if you smoke, your skin will age faster than others because smoking produces free radicals that damage those once-healthy oxygen molecules.
Other factors that contribute to aging of the skin include gravity, stress, obesity, daily facial movement, and believe it or not, your sleep position.
Skin Loses Elasticity
After the skin starts to lose its elasticity, facial movement lines will become more visible.
Lines may show up vertically on the skin above the root of your nose, horizontally on your forehead, or as tiny lines on the upper cheeks, temples and around your mouth.
Dry, Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin is also common in later life.
Many older people develop what is called “winter itch,” which happens when indoor air is dry. As you age, the loss of oil and sweat glands may make dry skin worse.
Anything that dries the skin, such as antiperspirants, soaps, hot baths and perfumes, will make the problem worse. If you have skin that is itchy and dry, you should visit a doctor, because this condition can cause irritability, affect your sleep, or be a symptom of a disease.
Can the Effects of Aging be Reversed?
The short answer to that question is “yes.”
That’s why so many people use a Retinol Moisturizer.
Skin damage that shows up because of aging can be reversed, but only up to a certain degree.
To be honest with you, despite the claims of marketers of skin products, there is no way you can completely bring back the radiance of young skin.
Even if this is done, the effect will be short-lived.
However, don’t let this get you down, because there is some good news – you can delay further damage from happening and improve the present health and skin condition.
While there are many ways and methods to do this, Retinol seems to be an ingredient that has gained a lot of momentum in the market place I have decided to introduce you to the benefits of retinol.
Its Discovery, its History and the Early Uses of Retinol.
Most people tend to think of Retinol as a type of Vitamin A.
So to understand what retinol is and how it can help your skin, you need to have an understanding of its background.
The predecessor of retinol, retinoic acid, developed a bad name for itself in the 1990’s and because of this, for many people, the “R” word conjures up images or red skin. I remember this side effect well.
So yes, there were some drawbacks – retinoic acid often causes dry, irritated skin – but retinol is a milder formula of the compound and as long as it’s used correctly, it can be beneficial.
Retinoic acid and retinol are in the same family of compounds known as retinoids.
Scientists have traced their history all the way back to ancient Egypt, where liver (it contains retinoids), was being used to treat night blindness.
Retinol was broken down by oxygen and sunlight and this led to the development of retinoic acid.
The first study that involved retinoids was published in 1943 when it was used to treat acne problems. In 1958, Tretinoin, the retinoid that is used today, was first used for skin conditions. Then, during the 1980s, people started using it as an anti-aging treatment.
More recent studies have been conducted and due to the discoveries, experts were able to develop more stable forms, which are now available in topical applications.
Today, you can find products with milder retinol containing compounds, over the counter, but ones like tretinoin can only be obtained with a prescription from your doctor.
Results from tests show that a Retinol Moisturizer can protect the skin from dark spots, while it rejuvenates the surface of the skin.
Many people turn to prescription based treatments containing retinol, because they believe the stronger formula will achieve better results. But in all actuality, the lower strength retinol will be just as effective and will have fewer side effects. So in this case, it is where the saying “less is more” comes into play.
What are the Effects of Retinol on the Skin?
This is where we take a look at some of the common retinol side effects – I’m going to tell you what to expect and give you some pointers on how to deal with them.
Mind you, what to expect will all depend on how your skin reacts, but if you use a quality product that has retinol in the right dose and formulation for your skin then you can expect some of the following:
These side effects may only be temporary and have a tendency to improve within 2-6 weeks, depending on your skin type. As long as your skin is able to build tolerance, you’ll receive some pretty good benefits in the long term. But as always, if you are concerned then go and see your doctor.
Retinol Cream Side Effects
1. Dry Skin and Slight Flaking
When using retinol, this will increase turnover of skin cells. This means the top layer of your skin will be turning over at a faster rate. The dead skin cells remain on the surface of your skin and this is where the flaking comes from.
Continuing to use retinol will improve this side effect. During this time, don’t try to use a harsh exfoliant, because this will only irritate the skin further.
Dealing with Dry and Slight Flaking
Using a good hydrating mask three times a week will help. You may also choose to use a good day time moisturizer along with the hydrating mask.
Some people apply a dab of Vaseline before they go to bed (do this after the product has soaked into your skin). Mind you, you have some that will tell you that Vaseline blocks pores, but this is a myth because the molecules are too big.
As long as you properly clean your face when you wake up, there shouldn’t be a problem with using Vaseline before bed.
You may experience redness that is accompanied with a feeling of hotness on the skin. The redness may start as soon as you apply it or develop later after you have used it various times.
Dealing with Redness
In order to lessen the redness, it is important that you don’t apply retinol to your skin after a hot shower or after you exercise (when your face is still hot).
Heat can make it worse, so avoid heat as much as possible while you’re getting your skin used to using the product.
3. Uncomfortable Tightness
Bear in mind I said “uncomfortable,” because a tight feeling in the skin isn’t always a bad thing. Don’t worry, because this side effect isn’t overly bad – it just may feel as if your skin is being pulled in.
Dealing with Uncomfortable Tightness
The uncomfortable tightness can be relieved by using a soothing moisturizer or applying Vaseline to your face at night.
Many people report slight itching, especially in the cheek area. This is caused by the speed up of cell turnover. Do you know how wounds itch when they’re healing? It’s kind of like that.
Dealing with the Itching
Personally, I never have been much good at ignoring itching skin, but it is important that you don’t scratch because during this time, your skin is already sensitive.
If you absolutely have to scratch the itch, do it gently – for example, I sometimes use my fingertips (not the nails) when I have an itch or alternatively, pat it with a cool hand towel or face washer for a few minutes
You can also use soothing moisturizer to help relieve this symptom. My doctor put me onto a good one but it is prescription only where I live.
Not everyone will experience a breakout, but this can happen when sebum production and skin cell turnover increases – this can lead to blocked pores.
Dealing with Breakouts
If you normally have acne, you may be more likely to experience a breakout. Even if you have skin that is normally clear, don’t be surprised if you have some breakouts when you first start using it.
When Side Effects from Retinol Aren’t Normal What Should You Do?
There may be some times where the side effects are more severe. They can be similar to the ones I mentioned above, but more extreme, with severe irritation, redness and sensitivity.
It could well be because your skin isn’t able to tolerate Retinol.
If you are using a high quality Retinol product and building it up slowly, but your skin still isn’t able to tolerate it, you may want to speak with a dermatologist.
The dermatologist will be able to tell you if a prescription of Vitamin A would be the best approach for you.
Irritation to the eyes from using Retinol.
This is something that could also happen. If this symptom shows up, again, you should stop using the product and visit your doctor. Mind you, when you apply the product, make sure you don’t apply it to the eye area.
How Retinol can affect Dark Spots, Wrinkles and Fine Lines?
As I said earlier, we must all go through the process of aging and as we age, there are various symptoms that will show up on our body.
Some significant signs of aging include: hearing loss, vision problems, weakness, the symptoms of sarcopenia, wrinkling, sagging and discoloration of the skin.
It is well documented that the food we eat and the environment we live in can greatly affect our overall health and longevity and it will most probably show its effects on your skin.
If you have dark spots, wrinkles and fine lines, you may want to take a close look at Retinol. I also recommend you have a chat with some other people who have used retinol based products and find out what their experience has been like.
How Retinoids can Benefit Skin Imperfections Caused by Aging.
At first, retinoic acid, a derivative of retinol, was used to treat acne.
Then dermatologists discovered that it could be used to treat much more than acne – they found it could eliminate wrinkles and dark spots that show up on the skin.
How Does Retinol Work on the Skin?
Retinol works on the skin by speeding up the process of skin renewal.
When applied correctly, it thickens the skin’s surface and hinders with the process of collagen breakdown. It then peels off the layer of the skin with dark spots and stops melanin formation.
Various studies have indicated that retinoic acid or tretinoin make the skin produce more collagen, prevents collagen breakdown and plumps up the wrinkles.
Good Sources of Retinol
Retinol has so many benefits to offer, so you may want to consider getting enough of it in your daily diet.
While retinol is amazing for the skin, it doesn’t stop there – it promotes strong bones a well as vision. So now I’m going to introduce you to some foods that are rich in retinol.
Milk is a rich source of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A. The amount of retinol found in milk is affected by the fat content – the higher the fat content, the lower the vitamin A.
2. Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry contain a good source of retinol in varying amounts. These foods are good sources of B vitamins, protein, vitamin E, iron, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin A. For example, a 3.5 ounce serving of chicken has 201 International Units of retinol, while a 3.5 ounce serving of duck contains 210 International Units of vitamin A.
Cheese is another good source of retinol – the retinol content of cheese will all depend on the kind. 4 ounces of cottage cheese that has been made with 2 percent milk fat will contain 84 International Units of retinol. While a 4 ounce serving of cheddar cheese contains 566 International Units of retinol.
4. Vitamin A is available in 2 forms – beta-carotene and retinol.
Beta-carotene can be found in fruits and vegetables, while Retinol is found in animal products. If you’re looking for the most readily absorbed form of vitamin A, then Retinol is what you’re looking for.
Mind you, beta-carotene isn’t as readily absorbed, but your body can convert it into retinol.
Tomato, pumpkin, kale, melon, mango, broccoli, papaya, grapefruit, squash, peppers, carrots, guava and spinach are some examples of foods that are also rich in the beta-carotene form of vitamin A.
Applying Retinol and Using It Long Term
When applying Retinol to your skin, it is important that you use no more than a pea-sized amount each day. This rule applies to both prescription and over-the-counter retinol products.
If you use more than the recommended dosage, it could very easily irritate your skin.
I would recommend that before you use a retinol product, you should do a skin allergy test to see how your skin is going to react.
When you first start using the product, gradually apply the retinol cream to your skin every other night, and then once your skin has adjusted, apply it every night.
During the first couple of weeks of retinol use, you may notice some side effects.
These side effects include redness, irritation, a burning sensation, peeling and dryness.
You need to apply it on clean, dry skin and never use it in combination with other products that contain benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, sulfur and salicylic as this can cause skin irritation.
I have come across many people who swear by the effectiveness of retinol for skin renewal or as one lady said to me, “it’s my preferred anti-aging cream”.
From my research, it appears that it takes three to six months of regular use of retinoids before improvements in wrinkles are apparent and optimal results can be achieved in just six to twelve months from the regular use of retinol.
But one tip for you that seems to be consistent across the board is that when using retinol to prevent skin aging, you must make a lifetime commitment because discontinuing it could cause the reappearance of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
The other thing I have proven to be a marvelous anti-ageing cure is Active Ageing.
If you are interested in anti-aging and getting rid of a few facial wrinkles then here is some further informative reading for you from Harvard Medical School in this article titled “Do retinoids really reduce wrinkles“.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. If you feel Retinol is not the magic elixir to tame your aging skin then check out Mission Impossible – affordable anti-aging products that are supposedly REALLY meant to work. But please don’t shoot the messenger :-).
P.P.S. Help a friend…….like and share. Thanks.