We mainly recognize skin aging through wrinkles and uneven complexion. The antidotes to both are — you guessed it — collagen and elastin: the molecules that keep our skin looking smooth, hydrated, and even.
Some of our collagen and elastin will always decrease over time, but there are plenty of environment-based damages to them that are within our control! If you avoid these five aging activities, you’ll be slowing down the aging process for your skin and protecting its youthful glow:
1. Skipping the Sunscreen
We’ve talked before about the importance of using sunscreen every day—but we’ve mostly focused on what it does and which ones are best for your skin. That info assumes that you’re using SPF every day no matter what!
But why should we use sunscreen? Time to get into the risks if we don’t…
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are present every day when the sun is up—even on overcast days when you can’t see it. UV rays damage the elastin in your skin. Elastin is the material that makes your skin firm and smooth, so without it, your skin will start to sag and wrinkles will appear.
We will always lose a certain amount of elastin over time as we age, but UV rays cause that process to accelerate—a lot!
Plus, there’s more: UV light is also responsible for creating liver spots, darkening scar tissue, and generally creating uneven complexion—all things we associate with an aging appearance. (No, thank you!) Last but not least, we also know that sun exposure without sunscreen can cause skin cancer.
So many reasons to make sure your sunscreen is on hand every day! Okay, but if you’re wondering how to get started with SPF (no, it is never too late to start wearing SPF), which medical-grade sunscreen is right for you? Here at Mint & 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.
2. No Nightly Wash
Sleeping with makeup or certain products on your face can cause clogged pores and skin irritation, but that’s just one reason to make sure you clean your face well before bed. The other is a group of molecules called “free radicals.”
Free radicals are around us all the time—we get exposed to them through air pollutants, pesticides, dust, household cleaners, and cigarette smoke. Why does that matter for our skin care? Free radicals break down collagen: the material that keeps your skin firm and healthy, and that, like elastin, we produce less and less as we age!
If you haven’t landed on a cleanser that makes you excited to lather up each night, check out our Gentle Cleanser for sensitive skin, or our Age Defense Cleanser to slough away dead skin cells, reviving dry and aging skin.
A certain amount of exposure to free radicals is unavoidable and normal. But when we skip washing the day off our face, we leave molecules on the skin that continue to break down our precious collagen. So make sure to wash up, even on late, tired nights!
3. Avoiding the Moisturizer
Moisturizer is as important as sunscreen for keeping skin firm, smooth, and healthy. Without it, our skin is more inclined to go dry and saggy, allowing wrinkles to form.
Knowing how important skin hydration is, we’ve got plenty of moisturizer options! The Mint & Needle HA Hydrator and Youth Serum work perfectly as a pair. For daytime application and sun protection, check out Hydrating UV Defense. And for maximum hydration combined with anti-aging treatment, try our Youth Serum.
It’s best to apply moisturizers when the skin is still damp, like after a shower. But you should make sure to apply one at least once in the morning before you leave the house and once in the evening before you go to bed.
There are plenty of reasons to avoid nicotine. The main one? It is one of those free radicals we mentioned above, so it’s a major enemy of collagen. Smokers generally end up with wrinkles around their mouths and eyes, thought to be caused by the combination of destroyed collagen and the repeated pursing position of the face while smoking.
Additionally, nicotine is a vasoconstrictor—a chemical that causes blood vessels to narrow and decrease blood flow. This means your skin (and all other organs in your body) is getting less oxygen and essential nutrients needed for repairing old cells and growing new ones. All of this adds up to smokers’ skin looking sometimes decades older than their actual age!
5. Using the Wrong Exfoliator
It makes sense that scraping the skin over and over again would cause it to break down and become wrinkled. Well, scrubbing your skin too hard with an exfoliator or using the wrong formula for your skin can have just that effect!
When using an exfoliator, consider whether your skin becomes inflamed, sore, or shows changes in texture afterward. If so, that exfoliator is too harsh for your skin and could be causing aging effects: drying out the skin, which leads to wrinkles and removing its natural protective layer, which leads to greater vulnerability to sun damage and free radicals.
Additionally, scrubbing too hard and exfoliating too often can lead to the same effects. So scrub gently every other day and exfoliate no more than once a week or once every other week, unless instructed otherwise by a professional.
Our Exfoliating Scrub is known for being both effective and gentle enough for sensitive, dry, or normal skin. For those with oily or more acne-prone skin, our Mini Peel Pads are a great addition to your exfoliating routine.
Losing collagen and elastin as we age is a normal process, and we can be proud of our appearance no matter when wrinkles start to appear. But things like sun damage, smoking, and over-exfoliating are so easy to avoid with the right routine and products—why not keep those extra influences away?