It’s back to school season—and let’s be honest: life can get a little hectic around this time. This year, all four of my children will be attending school all day, with my youngest starting kindergarten this year. Cue the tears!
As summer comes to an end, our family is diving head-first into balancing work, homework, packing lunch, meal planning, carpooling, sports practices, as well as weekends packed full with games and school events. If you have young kids headed back to school like me, or maybe just little ones at home, you know that life is already busy enough—how do you have any time to think about a consistent skincare routine, let alone adding steps to treat and prevent aging?
Well, let’s start by breaking down the causes of aging. Technically speaking, there are two categories of aging skin: intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging (also known as premature aging). Intrinsic aging is mostly genetic—we usually notice these signs of aging at different degrees and rates based on our hereditary genes (thanks, mom and dad!). On the other hand, extrinsic aging includes factors that are mostly in our control, such as sun exposure, diet, sleep, stress, pollution and lifestyle habits.
Both types of aging may look the same—but only extrinsic (aka, premature aging) can be slowed by products we use and how we choose to live our lives. Here are some quick and easy tips to adjust your skincare routine and lifestyle to slow extrinsic aging or premature aging…
Pollution & Sun Damage
Pollution and sun damage are the most damaging sources of extrinsic aging. Not only can sunlight cause skin cancer—it can damage the skin’s elasticity and collagen fibers, resulting in fine lines, sagging skin, rough texture, hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Oxidative stress associated with pollution can also leave behind similar damage. Luckily, a well-balanced skincare routine can help prevent and reverse harm from these two signs of extrinsic aging. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
Step One: SPF
The first step is to ensure you’re using a daily, quality SPF 30 on your face. This is a must—whether a stand-alone sunscreen or one incorporated into your moisturizer or foundation. Here are some of my favorites!
Step Two: Antioxidant-Rich Day Serum
The second step is to add an antioxidant-rich day serum to your routine. Not only will it fight free radicals associated with pollution damage, it’ll help your sunscreen work better, too. Our day serum contains plant-based antioxidants, vitamin C, hydrating hyaluronic acid and plumping peptides to combat dehydration and skin sagging associated with aging.
Step Three: LED Light Therapy
The third step is to try LED light therapy. Specifically, red light uses strong wavelengths that penetrate deeply into the skin. Red light therapy may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promote healing, help to eliminate sun damage and improve overall appearance. Check out our spa partner Allvera Wellness to schedule your LED Light Therapy appointment today! Remember, best results are achieved with a series of treatments.
Step Four: Exfoliate
The fourth step is to exfoliate—but don’t overdo it! Harsh glycolic acid peels should only be administered by a trained esthetician. During a quarterly facial, he or she will be able to consider your skin’s hydration level, as well as the state of your skin barrier, and help you choose the right products. Check out our spa partner Skin Oasis for an advanced chemical peel and a skin assessment! This is the best way to use strong exfoliating acids without overdoing it. While at home, stick to a gentle blend of acids, such as fruit acids found in our Multitasker Night Serum. These are safe to use daily, with little to no dryness or irritation.
Step Five: Retinol
The fifth step is to consider adding retinol—but go slow! Most of us are unable to tolerate daily retinol usage, but adding it a few times a week can help improve skin turnover and collagen production. The best method is to mix a prescription-strength retinol with your moisturizer two to three times per week.
For those of us unable to tolerate retinol—especially those with sensitive skin or rosacea—consider adding a retinol eye cream only, specifically one with encapsulated retinol. The eye area is where most fine lines appear, so it’s a good place to start. You can also use it on areas of your face where you see other fine lines, such as around your mouth or forehead. Not to mention, an eye cream is usually formulated with many hydrating ingredients, which offsets irritation.
Other types of extrinsic aging include stress, diet, and sleeping habits. Each and every one of these can be controlled by adjusting your lifestyle—however, these tips can be more difficult to incorporate into your daily life versus making a few changes to your skincare routine. But even one or two adjustments can make a big difference for the health of your skin!
Stress can be difficult to manage. First, try dealing with things that cause you daily stress, such as purging or organizing your home. One great source for this is following our friend Tracy at the Lighthouse Co. She has all kinds of tips and tricks to help you do this—or, if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can hire her to get it done for you! Living in a clutter-free, well organized space can do wonders for stress management.
Another tip? Try minimizing your kids’ schedules and plan ahead with things like meal planning and packing lunches. Another great source is The Minimalist Mom’s Podcast, or if you haven’t listened to or read her book yet, Minimalist Moms: Living and Parenting with Simplicity is a must! Empowering yourself with knowledge is an easy way to deal with stress.
Finally, try adding a new mindful activity to your routine, such as yoga or meditation. Two of the best local places to check out in Columbus are Go Yoga Grandview and Modo Yoga Columbus—I’ve heard @courtney_mickleyhamm is an amazing instructor!
Diet is also difficult to manage, but planning ahead can help. Meal planning apps and grocery delivery have made this easier than ever before! I’ve personally tried to eat more simply these days. Reducing processed snacks while encouraging myself and my family to eat more real food has been a game-changer. We also rotate the same meals most weeks, which makes it easy to plan—especially when kids are coming and going from different practice times throughout the week. Other dietary tips are to reduce alcohol and sugar intake. I try to limit this to the weekends and special occasions, if I can.
Improving sleeping habits isn’t a walk in the park—start by staying consistent with bedtime and waking up. I also don’t look at my phone past 9pm, unless one of my kids is out doing something in the evening. I also find that getting regular exercise and fresh air helps me sleep better at night. I personally love to workout at Crossfit Grandview, but have heard amazing things about Lagree House!
Aging is a natural part of life, but there are some things we can do to slow it down. Fortunately, the things that improve our skin’s health can also improve our overall health and well being! What are some of your recommendations? Leave a comment below!