With life expectancy exceeding 80 years in both Australia and New Zealand, we’re supremely lucky to live longer than ever before. Getting older naturally brings changes in our skin, including a loss of elasticity, blotchiness, fine lines and wrinkles. And let’s face it, most of us are keen to age gracefully and look our best.
In this blog, we break down the crème de la crème of evidence-based therapies you can apply, practice and eat to feel comfortable in your skin. Let’s dive in!
1. Eat more plants!
Plant foods contain a plethora of beautifying components. For instance, polyphenols (antioxidant compounds found in plants) may be able to delay skin cell senescence and reduce the visible signs of ageing. Eat a rainbow of polyphenol-rich fruits, vegetables and cereals every day. Excellent choices include apples, berries, grapes, green tea, oats and flaxseed – yum!
You might also want to grab some carotenoid-rich carrots. Carotenoids lend the skin a yellow-orange colour which makes you appear healthier. They also accumulate in the upper layers of the skin and help to protect against oxidative damage from environmental factors such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation and air pollution. Don’t forget that carotenoids are fat soluble, so add some healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil or hemp seeds to your meals to enhance absorption. Salmon is a great source of both carotenoids (astaxanthin) and omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s a win-win for your skin.
Feeling more beautiful can be as easy as small dietary changes. A recent study concluded that the simple addition of one avocado per day for eight weeks significantly increased forehead elasticity and skin firmness in a group of 39 women. Who’s ready for some guacamole?
2. Illuminate your skin with LED
You’ve surely seen the light emitting diode (LED) devices trending on TikTok and Instagram – people looking slightly scary wearing masks that illuminate their faces with a red or blue glow. Though more research is warranted on the effects of at-home devices versus in-clinic sessions, clinical trials do support the trend. Red LED has been shown to increase collagen density, decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even reduce acne. This is great news since those pesky pimples stick around or re-appear for 50% of women aged 20 to 29 and 26% of those aged 40 to 49. Bye blemishes, hello glowing skin!
3. Carve out chill time
Stress sucks! Stress and related hormones like cortisol do a number on your skin, increasing inflammation, reducing wound healing and impairing the skin barrier. This makes finding ways to manage your stress essential for dewy skin. You’re probably aware that exercise helps to soothe stress and improve emotional wellbeing, but did you know that physical activity has also been linked with increased moisture in the skin? While clinical trials on the impact of relaxation therapies on the skin are lacking, there’s no doubt in our minds that stress management strategies like movement, meditation and yoga should form an important part of your healthy skin routine.
4. Try a collagen supplement
Ageing is marked by a progressive loss of collagen from the skin – around 1% each year. Good news: research suggests that ingesting hydrolysed collagen* can both increase the body’s collagen production and reduce the visible signs of ageing. In a group of 114 women aged 45 to 65, 2.5 grams per day of VERISOL® collagen peptides for eight weeks significantly decreased eye wrinkles and increased levels of procollagen and elastin in the skin. In another trial, 2 grams per day of collagen peptides significantly improved skin hydration, elasticity and eye wrinkle volume in 84 adults after 12 weeks.
When looking for a collagen supplement for skin health, make sure it’s high in type I collagen as this is the most abundant form in the skin. Try adding collagen protein to your daily coffee, matcha or smoothie (bonus points if you pop in some berries for an extra polyphenol hit!). Or, consider a collagen supplement that also contains skin beautifying nutrients like hyaluronic acid, which has been shown to moisturise skin from the inside out, improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Remember to slip, slop, slap!
Although frolicking in the sun undoubtedly feels great, the sad truth is that in addition to its well-known link with skin cancer, UV radiation degrades collagen in the skin. In fact, UV exposure accounts for an astounding 80% of the visible signs of ageing†. Yikes! Although it’s hard to avoid the sun’s rays in Australia and New Zealand, you can be sun smart by wearing sunscreen when the UV index is 3 or above, covering up with a hat and sunglasses and seeking shade. You can use the SunSmart app to check the UV index in your area.
Loving the skin you’re in
It’s important to keep in mind that getting older is a privilege, and signs of ageing including fine lines and wrinkles are simply hallmarks of the life you’ve lived. All the tips we’ve covered in this blog have benefits that run more than skin deep, supporting overall health and making you feel well. And when you feel good inside it shows!
* The collagen tested in clinical trials and most supplements is made from cow or pig bones/skin, or fish skin so unfortunately is not suitable for our vegan and vegetarian friends.
† In Caucasian populations.