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How Well Do You Know Yourself?

Turning 30 is a big event for most women — especially when it comes to your skin

American humourist Melanie White drily observed, “I don’t feel any different now that I’m 30 – maybe a little more winded after blowing out all my candles.”

Perhaps it’s all in the mind, but there are birthdays that just seem different. And 30 is one of them. ‘Life,’ as some say, ‘not only begins at 30, it begins to show’. 

The jokes make us smile, but most of us are also prepared to admit that we do begin to notice lines and wrinkles that we would prefer would be a little less obvious. Is it a coincidence? Is it simply because we’re aware that the feckless twenties are gone? We decided to ask an expert. 

Dr Travis Badenhorst is a scientist at Snowberry, vice-president of the NZ Society of Cosmetic Chemists, and leader of the team which spent five years at the University of Auckland developing world-first technology for the transfer of essential skin peptides. 

Our skin, says Dr Badenhorst, goes through several stages from birth to old age and one of the most significant changes occurs around age 30.

Picture / Supplied

If we imagine the skin’s dermis as being like a kind of mesh, then when we are young, that mesh is very dense, but as we age, it becomes progressively thinner and weaker. 

The mesh itself is comprised of proteins called collagen and elastin and in the spaces within the mesh, there are numerous ‘globules’ that help to support the collagen and elastin, called glycans.

It is because young skin has a great deal of collagen, elastin and glycans, that it is plump and smooth. However, when our skin produces less of these structural proteins, the skin becomes thinner and begins to sag.

This process of reduced production of collagen, elastin and glycans, accelerates at around age 30. This corresponds with reduced production of the tiny protein ‘messengers’ in our skin called peptides which instruct skin cells to produce collagen, elastin and glycans.

As if this natural decline wasn’t enough, Dr Badenhorst says that we also contribute to the thinning of the mesh (the skin’s cellular matrix) with self-inflicted damage. And this, he advises, is what leads to premature ageing of our skin. In other words, without care, our skin will appear to be older than it really is. 

Most damage is caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. But smoking, excessive alcohol and sugar, a diet lacking in natural anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids – mainly from fruit and vegetables – and too little exercise, also contribute. And the impact? An increase in the depth of lines and wrinkles, the skin reddening and brown spots or melasma. 

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What to do? According to Dr Badenhorst, skin at any age can retain the ‘radiance’ that makes it beautiful. But we should think about our lifestyle, from as early as our teens, as an important part of avoiding premature ageing of skin. We can also apply skin care products that are proven to help boost and support the skin’s cellular matrix.

This does require very sophisticated skin science, and is why Snowberry’s New Radiance Face Serum with CuPEP™ was the only anti-wrinkle serum on earth invited to be presented to the 23rd World Congress of Dermatology.

But beware, he cautions, there are many anti-ageing skin care products that make collagen-boosting claims that have little or no scientific validity. If in doubt, look for a gold standard clinical trial. It is the only standard of evidence accepted by dermatologists.

So, turning 30? Life is just beginning. And your skin can always be beautiful. But, advises Dr Badenhorst, to avoid premature ageing of skin, we do need to understand how it is changing and how to give it the help it needs.    

  • For more about Snowberry and how to look after your skin, visit Snowberry.co.nz
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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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