Getting older is inevitable (and, let's face it, far superior to the alternative). Sure, with age comes wisdom, but it also brings the less desirable physical signs of the time. The good news: You don't necessarily have to look your age if you don't want to. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and covering up from sun exposure will help stave off the effects of aging. And a full arsenal of natural skin care products can keep you looking younger longer. Here's how to outsmart these trouble spots.
The sign: "The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than the skin around the rest of your face," explains beauty expert Rachel Weingarten, author of Hello Gorgeous! (Collector's Press, 2006). As you age, the eye area thins even more, making crow's-feet and dark, undereye circles more prominent.
Natural solution: Try a gentle cream designed specifically for eyes, such as Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate. Made with organic grape and carrot juices, the lotion is stocked with essential fatty acids and vitamins B5 and K. Smooth it around your eyes—even on your eyelids and between your eyebrows—to minimize not just wrinkles but also pesky undereye circles and bags.
The sign: "Unstable molecules called free radicals cause a lot of damage, both inside and outside," says Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, a specialist in anti-aging therapies. Enter antioxidants, which scavenge the body's free radicals and minimize the harm—including those lines around your mouth. According to a Duke University study, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E counteract free radicals even when applied topically.
Natural solution: Use an antioxidant serum, such as Kiss My Face C the Change Ester C Serum. The light, lemon-scented cream gets its antioxidant power from organic herbs (horsetail, echinacea, lemongrass, and yarrow) and Ester C, a more potent, absorbable form of vitamin C.
The sign: Dark patches—often called liver spots—are areas of hyperpigmentation that form on your hands and face after years of exposure to the sun's UV rays. Treating affected areas with certain botanicals can lighten spots naturally, making them less noticeable.
Natural solution: Apply a spot-fading cream, such as TheraNeem Botanical Fading Cream. After a few months, you should see the lightening effect of the cream's herbs, including extracts of mallow, peppermint, cowslip primrose, lady's mantle, speedwell, lemon balm, and yarrow.
The sign: Dry, flaky skin is common with aging, particularly among those who eat poor-quality fats or are on low-fat diets. Keep the problem at bay by religiously applying moisturizer that contains natural, oil-derived fatty acids.
Natural solution: Use a daily moisturizer, such as Jason Ester-C Lotion, which includes fatty acids from sunflower seed oil and aloe vera for soothing effects. Light enough to apply in the morning and wear as a base under makeup.
The sign: Keeping fresh skin cells on the surface helps promote youthful glow, but the older you get, the slower your cell turnover becomes. "When you're 18, it only takes a few weeks for younger, fresher cells to come to the surface of your skin," says Weingarten. "When you're 38, it takes a lot longer." Older skin cells make for a dull look, but a natural scrub speeds turnover by sloughing off top layers and encouraging cell regeneration.
Natural solution: Try a skin scrub, such as Earth Therapeutics Green Tea Cellular Renewal Micro-Exfoliation Cream. Natural exfoliants slough off dead cells without irritation. Green tea, an antioxidant, also provides some UV protection.
The sign: Collagen, the major structural component of skin, deteriorates as you age, leaving skin less elastic. In a recent German study, researchers found that applying coenzyme Q10—a natural antioxidant in your body's cells—significantly reduced the appearance of wrinkles.
Natural solution: Use a firming lotion, such as Avalon Organics CoQ10 Ultimate Firming Body Lotion. The Co-Q10 helps boost your body's depleted antioxidant supply, and lavender and arnica act as anti-inflammatories.
A furrowed brow
The sign: "Hyaluronic acid is a component of the human body that helps you attract moisture to your skin and keep it in," says Weingarten. Although hyaluronic acid is used as a collagen filler in cosmetic procedures, a paraben-free nighttime cream with hyaluronic acid will similarly restore collagen and smooth your skin.
Natural solution: Try a hyaluronic acid cream, such as Derma E Hyaluronic Acid Night Crème Intensive Rehydrating Formula. Applying a powerful treatment cream at night allows it time to penetrate and hydrate deep wrinkles. Vitamins A and E also work on fine lines.
The sign: Because of collagen breakdown and environmental damage, the texture of your skin changes over time. But applying a botanical toner refreshes and invigorates your face, reducing the size of your pores and helping your skin look soft and smooth. Bonus: An alcohol-free toner also helps prep your skin to better absorb the creams and moisturizers you apply afterward.
Natural solution: Apply an anti-aging toner, such as Nature's Gate Tone Back the Clock Alcohol-Free Soothing Toner. Rosemary acts as a potent free radical scavenger, while aloe vera soothes.
Freelance writer Melody Warnick is a frequent contributor to Delicious Living.