You wake up tired, your skin crumpled from the lines of your pillowcase. More visible wrinkles, a less defined jawline, droopy features which are only growing larger… The loosening of your skin has always been inevitable, and it’s not always good for your self-esteem! You wouldn’t object to a little pick-me-up for your skin, but toxic petroleum-based creams or cosmetic surgery just don’t seem like the right choice. Good news! Plant oils can provide a natural hydrating and toning effect.
But what’s happening to my skin?
Sooner or later, it happens to all of us. Our skin relaxes and gravity does its thing. Our face loses its youthful glow, our facial features begin to droop. Yikes. The reason? Our muscular tone weakens, our natural oils shift and the skin’s structure changes. When we get older, due to hormonal changes, our fibroblasts become scarce and their activity slows down. What on earth is a fibroblast? It’s the cell that produces the main components of our skin: collagen and elastin. In other words, the proteins that support the firmness and elasticity of our muscular tissues. And if this wasn’t enough, the quantity of hyaluronic acid in the skin drops off. This complex carbohydrate functions at once as a water reserve and as a sort of elastic cement between skin cells. Essentially, it also contributes to the tone, the smoothness, and the roundness of the skin.
What’s more, the blood supply to our skin worsens, our sebum production declines and our cell reproduction slows down. The result: the outer layer of the skin ages and thins, it is less protected, and it struggles to stay hydrated. This is again aggravated by the diminution of melanocytes, which protect our skin from UV rays. Wonderful!
External factors can speed up this process. An unbalanced diet, particularly one rich in refined sugar, caffeine or alcohol abuse, dramatic weight loss or gain, stress, smoking or overexposure to UV can all deteriorate the skin’s ability to synthesise collagen and elastin.
But regardless of our lifestyle choices, we’re not all created equal – the genetic lottery counts for a lot, especially when it comes to the premature drying and aging of female skin. If the process of the skin getting older kicks off for everyone at the age of 25, its effects will be visible before the age of 30 for some, but not before 50 or menopause for others. From then on, nobody can avoid it…
Can skincare products negate the effects of aging?
It’s a universal and unavoidable process. But it’s not always easy to accept in a society that values youthful appearances. The skincare industry is well aware: anti-aging products are the hit products, and often amongst the most expensive. They take up a whole market to themselves, feeding into the obsession with growing younger with the use of hyaluronic acid, Q10, gel botox, meteorite extract, lifting effects or any other revolutionary ingredient. Renaissance, youth activator, revitalizer: brands are competing for originality. Millions of consumers buy into this market, with its false marketing messages, erase your wrinkles, gain 15 years, get your 20-year-old face back. While the majority of their active ingredients like hyaluronic acid is composed of molecules too large to even penetrate the skin! And if they don’t do much good, these conventional creams risk harming you: full of endocrine disruptors and other substances, allergenic at best, including even the biggest luxury skincare brands.
How about facelifts and injections? Effective but costly, not devoid of risks and secondary effects, with a more or less natural result, especially with such a harsh contrast between the face and the body. Well, it’s a personal choice…
Aside from these extreme solutions, are we condemned to watch our face age and do nothing about it? Of course not! If you’re looking to help your skin protect itself from the effects of time, give it back its structure and its sparkle, without necessarily chasing an impossible image of youth, there are natural, effective and gentle alternatives: fabulous plant oils. Just remember to choose high-quality products – pure, organic and cold-pressed is best.
Which oils should I use to re-hydrate my skin?
Oils rich in Omega-6, particularly in linoleic acid, are a perfect compliment to mature skin. This fatty acid that isn’t synthesised naturally is essential for the cohesion of cells and the toning of the skin. It is used in the composition of ceramides which make up the natural cement of our skin and play a crucial role in the skin’s protective layer. It’s also important for making up for deficiencies in hyaluronic acid which can only be animal or synthetic. For this reason, evening primrose oil is great to restructure and reduce wrinkles. Argan oil, nourishing and full of antioxidants, revitalizes and tones your skin. The oil of the Hawaiian Kukui nut is a wonderful tool to give the face’s shape more definition.
Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, are also very effective for rebuilding the elasticity and hydrating mature skin. These oils stimulate collagen and thicken the skin by boosting cell renewal, preventing wrinkles. You’ll find these retinoids in Sacha Inchi or rosehip oils. Vitamin A is an antioxidant, like vitamin E, and is particularly useful to fight off signs of aging.
Finally, there are phytosterols. Similarly to skin sterols, these are restorers: they regenerate the skin, encouraging elasticity and reinforcing its hydrolipid film (its hydration). Phytosterols can be found in cherry or sesame oils. They’re also present in shea butter which ticks all the boxes when it comes to skin hydration: vitamins A, D, E, F, essential fatty acids and also natural latex.
But if we had to pick our top 3 natural anti-aging ingredients, we’d first have to pick grape oil: this plant oil extracted from the grape pips, rich in linoleic acid and vitamin E, restructures and regenerates in reinforcing the hydrolipidic film and protecting the cell membranes by its powerful antioxidant action. Next, it’s daisy oil, excellent for firming up and sculpting your skin, and prevents your skin from sagging by toning blood vessels and tightening muscle tissues. Finally, Barbary fig oil, which is particularly strengthening and regenerative, and is considered the most effective natural anti-aging ingredient. Thanks to its extremely high vitamin E, Omega-6 and sterol content, this oil is a powerful antioxidant, toner, softener, and regenerator – all within the first few weeks of use. Super moisturizing, it softens the skin and helps it retain moisture.
Which routine should I adopt to keep my skin younger for longer?
Our skin has many different needs, and incorporating these oils into your routine allows these needs to be met. According to your needs and preferences, you can look for them in an anti-aging cream, or in a mix that you can use to enrich your moisturizer.
What routine do we suggest? In the morning, add 2 or 3 drops of our Regenerating & Revitalising Plant Oil Composition to your daily moisturizer. In the evening, apply our Age Out – it’s at night time when cell reproduction is most active, so your skin will reap the most benefits. Apply your products in gentle circular motions for 2 minutes, after having thoroughly washed your skin. This circular motion will stimulate collagen production and your facial muscles. This is all you need to hydrate and firm up your skin.
When should we start these preventative measures? It varies from person to person according to your skin type, your lifestyle and your genetic baggage – observe how those around you have aged, you can probably expect the same for yourself. The most important thing is to wash and hydrate your skin rigorously from the age of 20, even earlier, especially if you’re on anti-acne medicine. This is the short-term secret to bright and hydrated skin, but also a more long-term way to minimize the effects of aging.
Finally, take care to protect yourself from UV, which accelerates aging and thanks to which mature skin is more at risk of damage. And, of course, ensure that your diet is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Above all, keep in mind that your skin aging is a normal, natural process and that it is (unfortunately) completely, totally unavoidable. Plant oils are a great tool to hydrate, plump and give a little pick-me-up to your skin. But they can’t stop time from passing. And they aren’t intended to make you younger, but more as a tool to make your skin healthier as you grow older – in accepting these natural changes, being kind to ourselves and not forgetting to enjoy ourselves! A good mood and positivity are the most important tools for a firm, hydrated and rejuvenated skin.
This post is also available in french.