Since I wrote No-Nonsense Beauty Book, I followed the anti-aging skin care rules– I used scrubbing grains to exfoliate the skin surface, slathered on sunscreen, and avoided the two biggest beauty killers, namely smoking and excess alcohol. It seemed to work for years — and then it didn’t . While I didn’t develop fine lines, crows feet and brown patches, I suddenly looked pretty old. My skin was pale and sagged along the jawline. I felt a bit betrayed. I spent all those years limiting my time at the beach and passing on that second glass of wine. And now there were clear signs of facial aging. What I learned was that pale and droopy skin are two characteristic signs of internal aging. This means that the decline in hormones as well as a slowdown of blood flow and cell growth, all signs of natural aging, were driving the changes in my skin. My pattern of aging — pallor but no freckles and folds rather than wrinkles– are typical of a 55+ women who avoided sun exposure. So my precautions were not totally useless.
External aging is due to exposure to the sun and environmentl pollution. Also known as photoaging, sun -damaged skin is thicker, with enlarged pores and a coarse texture. The surface is wrinkled with numerous brown patches and spots. When not tanned, the skin is sallow and dotted with small red lines (burst blood vessels) Not infrequently there are plenty of brown spots, some of which can develop into a skin cancer. If you spent many happy hours in the sun and/or in a tanning bed, this type of damage can appear by age 40.
The years are not kind to sun damaged skin. When your biological clock passes 55, hormonal changes arrive, bringing with them deep lines, folds and wrinkles. That’s the bad news. The good news? There are now really effective anti-aging tools to restore health and beauty to even the most damged skin. You won’t look 25 again, but don’t worry, you’ll be very happy with the result. The challenge is picking the right tools.
Close-Up: MMPi ( matrix metalloproteinases)
What a mouthful! This is a cosmetic ingredient with a complicated back story. MMPs are a group of enzymes in the body that clean-up cell debris. They destroy old damaged collagen and elastin to encourage new production of healthy tissue. In the body they are controlled by enzymes that inhibit their production. These are known as MMPi with the “i” meaning inhibit However, certain factors such as sunlight and pollution can over stimulate production of these clean-up enzymes. The result? Destruction of healthy collagen and elastin. Are you still with me here? The idea here is that adding MMPi’s to an anti-aging product can prevent natural destruction of the skin to protect the strength and elasticity of the skin. Laboratory studies have shown this to work, but many experts want to see more research.