Whether we want to admit it or not, the aging process is natural, but we are still surrounded by anti-aging myths. The fact is that there are still no products on the market that can stop or drastically slow it down. But that doesn’t stop numerous companies from advertising their anti-aging products as solutions that make the skin appear significantly younger by removing wrinkles from the face or body.
There are also myths regarding prices, formulas and specific vitamins and minerals that cause a lot of confusion for customers. But before we can list these myths for you, we should help you understand how and why our skin ages and how those wrinkles come into being. So let’s start with that.
Skin Aging Facts You Have to Know
The skin is the largest organ, yet also one of the most delicate ones. It is prone to react to even the slightest of changes in both our bodies and the environment. The factors that create changes on the skin can be of mechanical, biological and environmental nature.
Both the internal and external factors will inevitably cause our skin to age and all we can do is help it come through these changes at a much more controlled pace. Let’s learn few things about our skin and get ready to bust some aging myths.
As you might already know, our skin is composed of three layers: subcutaneous, dermis and epidermis.
The epidermis is the top layer. While it provides water-resistance and toughness, it is also very rich in keratin. The dead cells of our skin are shed from the epidermis.
The second layer, the dermis, is composed of blood vessels, fats and, what’s most important for our discussion, elastin and collagen fibers. This layer is responsible for the elasticity of your skin.
The subcutaneous layer is mainly composed of fat, and its main roles are keeping us warm and keeping our internal organs in place.
Due to internal biological factors, there are several things that happen to our skin over time:
- The dermis produces approximately 1% less collagen each year after we turn 20.
- The wrinkling and sagging process accelerates as our skin gets less elastic and more brittle due to elastin and collagen fibers becoming thicker, clumped and loose.
- Over time, the exfoliation rate decreases by almost 30%, and the dead skin cells accumulate for longer periods of time.
- Fat cells in the dermis start to shrink, resulting in less moisture getting transferred to the epidermis from the dermis.
- In our 40s, collagen is no longer produced, and the remaining collagen and elastin fibers break and stiffen, and we start to get more and more lines and wrinkles.
- In our 50s the sebaceous (oil) glands decrease in size, and our skin becomes dry and more prone to damage. In women, lower estrogen levels caused by menopause lead to dry, thinner and more sensitive skin.
Environmental (external) factors also cause the skin to age. The epidermis becomes thicker, freckles and sunspots are formed, the skin loses collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans. It becomes wrinkled, rough and uneven in tone.
Free radicals are the main culprit to blame for this, and they are result of pollution, ultraviolet radiation, smoking and generally poor lifestyle choices. Many anti-aging myths are related to the effects of free radicals and antioxidants.
Myths About Anti-Aging Skin Care
Anti-aging myths regarding skincare are numerous. Some of them may cause you to experience severe problems with your skin. This is why you have to stay informed about what’s good and what’s bad for your skin. The most popular skincare anti-aging myths include:
Pain is Good, as It Means the Cure is Working
First of all, there is nothing to cure, and second of all, skin care should always be painless. Anti-aging skin care should not cause burns or sting, and if you experience any of these painful symptoms, stop using that skincare product and consult the dermatologist.
You should know that stinging skin is a symptom of dehydration, a severe one too, and dehydration is a factor that causes your skin to age faster in the first place.
A Healthy Diet is Irrelevant for Skin Health
This is so untrue. Diet habits are one of the most important factors that should always be revisited if you want to improve your skin and overall health. Our skin, just as every other organ in our bodies, depends on the nutrients that we take in from the food we eat.
If you have a balanced diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, you will help your skin fight the aging process from the inside. Some of the most powerful antioxidants are ingested with food like berries, and have a much better effect on skin than when they are applied topically in the form of a cream.
Skin Care is a Unisex and One-Size-Fits-All Type of Thing
When it comes to anti-aging myths, this one is the easiest to bust. As you saw above, our skin requires different care depending on age or circumstances. However, in many commercials there are a lot of skin care products being advertised as a one-size-fits-all type of solution.
Please be very cautious when you choose the products you put on your face. You will have to know your skin type and choose the cream according to your age, what you want to improve and whether you want to apply it during the day or at night. Daytime creams with Vitamin E, for instance, are a no-go, since the sun’s radiation dissolves Vitamin E and thus negates the effect of the cream you’ve put on.
Petroleum Jelly Helps with Wrinkles
Petroleum jelly is a good solution when you have a burn or minor scrape. But it won’t cure wrinkles. Its only effect is to make a solution with your natural skin oil, thus making it harder for it to evaporate. This allows the skin to heal faster.
Putting petroleum jelly on your face will only increase the chances of breakouts, and your wrinkles will simply look the same as before you applied petroleum jelly.
Myths About Anti-Aging Products
Here come a few anti-aging myths tied to different products.
Expensive Products Bring Better Results
Needless to say, the price tag is not generated only by the effect of the formula the product contains, but also by the brand and the intended target market. These same rules can be applied to any other commercial product.
This is why you should pay more attention to active ingredients instead of the price tag.
Anti-aging Hormones Can Reverse the Aging Process
There is no scientific evidence that can back up this claim. While human growth hormone therapy made it possible for pharmaceutical companies to create a $1,4 billion market, it still hasn’t been proven that these hormones do actually help us become younger.
There are even claims that “anti-aging hormones” contribute to and speed up the aging process, but these opinions aren’t scientifically backed either. This is why you should definitely do some digging and ask for a second opinion before you make any decisions regarding these products.
Products with Coconut Oil are the Best
The main question to answer here is: does coconut oil have anti-aging properties? It is widely advertised as a product that helps keep your skin soft and smooth. But when you hear that products with coconut oil are the best anti-aging product, know that it is a myth.
This is because these products are simply not the best. They are good only for those with normal skin, which is not too dry and not prone to clogged pores and breakouts. It is rich in fatty acids and if you put a product with a high concentration of coconut oil on any different type of skin, you will cause more harm than good.
That being said, it does have some anti-aging properties because it contains highly specific fatty acids that have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and it also contains Vitamin E, which is a powerful anti-oxidant.
Anti-Aging Creams are Dangerous
Are anti-aging creams dangerous? No, this is yet another anti-aging cream myth. However, you do have to check the labels to find a skincare product with safe and verified ingredients, and make sure that those ingredients really suit your own skin.
You have to know your skin and what types of conditions it is prone to. There is no such thing as a ‘cure’ for aging skin. Aging is a natural process and we can only slow it down a bit by providing our skin with what it needs and not engaging in harmful habits.
Anti-aging skin care products, including creams, can be dangerous only if sold by some anti-aging guru who doesn’t provide a list of ingredients on the label. This is why you should always purchase creams with ingredient labels on them.
I hope that busting these myths will help you in one way or another. At the end, I can do one more thing, which is to provide you with the names of active anti-aging substances whose anti-aging effects have been scientifically proven: retinol, peptides, alpha-hydroxy acids (lactic and glycolic acids), resveratrol (found in red wine) and antioxidants.