How to look 10 years younger

Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. 

Today, I am going to talk about something a little bit different. 

Before we get started, I would like to clarify that, as well as any other health related subject, dermatology has its own professionals. If you have a skin conditions that is bothering you and you are not sure what to do, I recommend you visit a dermatologist. Make an appointment and they will give you a routine or treatment that will work for you.

A few years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole of skincare. I have never had big fights with acne or any other skin related issue, but I did feel like there was always something going on: a little pimple, black heads, an area of my face noticeably dry or moist. Overall, my skin was fine, but not as good as it could be. 

For that reason, I started looking for more information about how to look after my skin to make it look better, and what I ended up finding was way more fascinating.

At that point, I was 22. Some dermatologists would say that with a good wash every morning and every night is enough at that age, but I wanted to know more.

In dermatology, there’s no “one size fits all”. In fact, there is a lot of controversy between dermatologists, as is the case in many other areas of health. Whenever I read a book, an article, or I listened to a podcast, they would always say “talk to a specialist” because that product or treatment might not work for you. Yet, what they all seemed to agree on is the importance of washing your face every morning and every night, and putting sunscreen on, no matter what season or part of the world you live in. The vast majority also say that a moisturiser is important, but there’s no perfect moment of the day to put it on for everyone.

Like I said, ask your professional.

Therefore, let’s talk about what they all agree on.

  1. Wash your face every morning and every night.

First, the soap we use to wash our hands is not appropriate for skincare, especially in regards to the face on the skin. Remember the pH scale from science class at school? The pH is a scale used to state the basicity or acidity of an aqueous substance. It goes from 0 to 14, being 0 the most acidic and 14 the most basic. In the middle we have the neutral element, pure water.

The pH used in body soaps is about 9 to 10, whereas our skin has a pH of between 4.7 to 5.7. This is considered acidic. If we use the soap with a pH of 9-10 what we are doing is dehydrating the skin, killing the natural oils of our skin. In response, our skin produces more oil to compensate this dehydration, resulting in acne, dry skin and rashes among other conditions . If you think that water is enough to clean our face, remember that pure water has a pH of 7, and tap water is around 7.5, even more basic.

The skin on our hands is much harder than the skin on our face, and is constantly exposed to bacteria. Furthermore, there are no sebaceous glands on the palms of our hands, whereas they cover our face and scalp. By the way, this is the reason you can’t grow hair on your palm.

A product for facial skincare will have a pH more like the skin on your face, maintain healthy levels of pH and not provoking changes that result in skin issues. The format you choose doesn’t really matter. Some prefer soap or foams and others prefer creams or oils. I personally prefer creams and foams because of the texture.

This is not a sponsorship, this is just my personal preference after years of testing

Second, we should wash our face both in the morning and at night. Most people understand that washing your face at night makes sense. After a day exposed to different factors, such as the Sun, sweat, pollution, dust, bacteria, dirt, and some people make-up, we need to get rid of all that. But it’s also very important to wash our face in the morning, to remove the leftovers of the products from the night before and because during the night our skin goes under a recovery process that results in waste substances, as well as dirt, sweat and bacteria.

It’s very important that we clean our face before we apply any product if we want this product to act correctly. 

2. Sunscreen

Apart from the fact that Sun exposure is the cause of 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers, it has been demonstrated that a lot of the signs of ageing are caused by the Sun exposure. To be precise, the UV exposure is responsible of about 80% of the visible signs of aging. 

This truck driver demonstrates the impact being exposed on sunlight on only one side of the face

There has been a debate between those worried about the non-melanoma skin cancers and the visible signs of aging and those worried about the lack of vitamin D. This vitamin is found in different sources, but the Sun is the main one. If we overprotect our skin, according to these specialists, we are not going to get the right amount of this vitamin in our system. Even though this is quite true, there’s no evidence that we need to sun-bake and leave our face unprotected to get vitamin D. 15 to 20 minutes of exposure every day in our arms has been demonstrated to be enough to get the amount of vitamin D needed.

Therefore, there’s a lot to win by simply applying sunscreen (and reapplying when needed). There are many adapted to the skin of our face, with a high spectrum of protection. Remember that the skin of our face is particularly sensitive, and it’s constantly expose (we need to, otherwise we couldn’t see, breath or use our mouth). This exposure also includes pollution and the fearsome blue light. 

After having read lots of articles and books that go into detail on the affects of blue light, this is the most critical information. Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum (this means, what the human eye can see). Humans main source of blue light is from Sun and there are a lot of physiological and hormonal reactions as the light is absorbed by the retina eyes which are key to staying awake during the day and maintaining healthy bodily functions. Furthermore, there are also reactions from our brain and skin. Focusing on our skin, different studies have shown that blue light may trigger changes in our skin cells. These changes can cause cell shrinkage which can then lead to cell death, speeding up the ageing process. Our laptops, phones and basically all the devices used every day by any person living in the “first world” transmit blue light, so even though you’re not leaving the house, you should put high spectrum sunscreen on.

To finish this point, don’t fool yourself by saying that it’s winter, or you live in Norway, so you don’t need Sun protection. Sunscreen might be the difference between “I am 50 but I look 40” and “I am 50 but I look 60”.

The more I read and the more I learn about it, the more I understand that looking after your skin goes beyond looking good now. It’s about not having skin-related issues and even psychological issues, given that we live in a world in which self-esteem relies somehow on physical appearance. Having a healthy-looking skin makes you feel better, whereas there are several people who don’t want to leave their homes when they have a skin problem. 

That’s it for today, if you like this subject, please do let me know and I will share more tips and ideas. If you like what I am doing, press like, leave a comment and follow me on Instagram.

See you next week!

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