Minted Beauties know that aging is a natural process. Those wrinkles mean more wisdom, more memories, and more time spent with loved ones!
But there are some ways our skin shows age that are advanced by other processes, regardless of how old we are. For example, UV rays and air pollutants speed up the process of skin aging. Likewise, if our skin doesn’t get enough of certain compounds, like Vitamins A and C, we can see increased wrinkles and uneven complexions.
So, what can we control in the world of anti-aging? Let’s find out!
Medical Grade Sunscreens
You’ve probably heard that sunscreen is key to preventing skin aging—but why is that? One answer is that the ingredients in sunscreen protect your skin from UV rays, which cause wrinkles, sun spots, darkening of certain areas (or “hyperpigmentation”), and even skin cancer. (No thank you!)
The thing about those anti-UV ingredients is that they’re not the same in all sunscreens. The FDA only requires that sunscreens contain 70% pure ingredients, whereas medical-grade sunscreens should be 99.9% pure ingredients. That extra concentration makes a big difference for preventing skin damage.
Sunscreen neutralizes UV rays by converting them into heat via a chemical reaction or by reflecting the rays so they can’t penetrate the skin. (Click here to learn more about the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens.) Either way, that protection has a few major benefits for the skin:
UV rays break down collagen—the compound that keeps your skin elastic, firm, and wrinkle-free. As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen, so this is one way that the sun literally speeds up the aging process.
Exposure to UV rays causes the skin to overproduce melanin, which increases hyperpigmentation and causes sun spots. Sunscreens prevent overproduction; you may still have a light tan from some melanin, but with proper use, you should be sunspot-free.
A subset of rays called UVB rays can change the genetic material of a cell, increasing the likelihood that those cells will mutate improperly during future cell divisions. Regular daily use of sunscreen can decrease your risk of skin cancer by 40 or 50% (skincancer.org).
So which medical-grade sunscreen is right for you? Here at Mint and Needle, we offer two SPF 40+ sunscreens: Oil-Free UV Defense and for drier skin, Hydrating UV Defense. Both prevent collagen breakdown, melanin overproduction, and cell damage.
Vitamin A naturally appears in our diets mainly in vegetables: spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and red bell peppers all contain it. But it can be difficult to get enough of this vitamin to see positive effects in our skin.
For skin health, Vitamin A can be distilled into a group of compounds called retinoids. When retinoids are absorbed into our skin, they increase cell turnover—meaning they encourage dead cells to fall away and new cells to form. This makes our skin look brighter and healthier. (Yes please!)
Retinoids also increase production of collagen, which as we said is very important for keeping skin elastic and looking young! For best results, use Vitamin A products consistently and before bedtime, because our cell turnover process generally happens while we sleep.
Antioxidants break down molecules called “free radicals” that bind to the skin and cause collagen breakdown. Some examples of free radicals are air pollution, UV rays, and chemicals from your own body’s processes, like your metabolism. Basically, free radicals may be unavoidable, but their effects aren’t!
Antioxidants can also come through our diets from foods like blueberries, artichokes, kale, beets, and even dark chocolate. Important antioxidants for skin health include Vitamins A, C, and E, but Vitamin C is a big favorite.
Vitamin C is a one-stop shop for anti-aging benefits: it further protects the skin from UV rays, brightens up dark spots, and boosts collagen production—so many of our goals wrapped in one! It is particularly known for those brightening effects. With consistent use for several weeks, Vitamin C lightens dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
Note: It’s not generally recommended to use both Vitamins A and C at the same time if you have particularly sensitive skin. The combination can irritate the skin instead.
Glycolic and Lactic Acids
Glycolic acid is very useful as a cleanser because it can remove a whole layer of skin without scrubbing. It dissolves the top layer of skin cells and oil, while also increasing collagen production: again, smoother, more elastic skin. Some studies report that it can also lighten sun spots and hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays.
Lactic acid is also great for increasing cell turnover and eliminating dead cells in the skin’s top layer. It is a little gentler than glycolic acid, so if you find that a glycolic treatment irritates your skin, try a lactic acid product instead.
Both glycolic and lactic acids exfoliate your pores to keep them clean, healthy, and minimized so they don’t interrupt your even complexion. They also can increase the presence of hyaluronic acid in the skin, which is important for keeping the skin moisturized.
Or, for a more customized treatment with these ingredients, you might love the effects of a medical grade chemical peel. Each peel is mixed for your unique skincare needs, making sure we cleanse, lighten, and repair in just the right way for you.
Aging Confidently and GracefullyWe all deserve to feel our best—and our most confident—as we experience all the wonderful things that come with age. Whether you’re going on a trip you’ve been saving up for, headed to work to get that next promotion, or meeting someone special, that glance in the mirror should reflect all the energy and life you feel inside. Wherever you are in your aging journey, our Anti-Aging Collection and our Age Defense Regimen is here to help!