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Alternative Aging

Want to look your best, but don’t want to go under the knife? No problem. Join the non-invasive anti-aging ranks…
By Adriana Ermter
Have you ever wondered what other people think when they look at themselves in the mirror? Are they mentally high-fiving themselves for looking great, or are they cringing while they fumble to find the biggest pair of sunglasses they own? Chances are, both. But here’s where it gets interesting. According to a March 2017 report published by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of non-surgical procedures (a.k.a. no knives) increased by seven per cent in 2016, and was 38 percent higher than in 2012.
Clearly, Don’t get us wrong, looking young and radiant is still coveted, but the way we realize it is changing. Many are now joining the rising non-invasive age-erasing trend by seeking alternative ways to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles and to achieve the firmer, plumper, tighter skin associated with the proverbial fountain of youth. The answer: easy-to-access over-the-counter creams, face masks, serums and more.
“Cosmetics companies have stepped up, creating skincare products to guard against aging and to prevent further damage from pollution, smog and the sun’s ultraviolet rays and repair the dermis,” affirms Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and a dermatologist at the Bay Dermatology Centre. “Men and women alike are overworked and overstressed, and our defence system is weakened, so our skin cells are not able to defend themselves” – at least, not without the right products. So bigwigs like The Ordinary, Indeed Laboratories, Dermalogica, NeoStrata and more are mix-mastering their way to create everyday prevention, protection and treatment opportunities that don’t require stepping inside a cosmetic surgeon’s office.
The age factor
No one wants to get older, and yet aging is inevitable. Pollution, smog, and the sun’s UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) ultraviolet rays are a given. They’re difficult to avoid and can cause clogged pores, a dull complexion, constricted blood vessels and damaged cells; accelerate the production of free radicals in the skin; and deplete collagen and antioxidants. While the body creates antioxidants to help prevent cellular damage, regular access to environmental stressors often results in age spots and wrinkles. “It happens with every breath we take; oxygen radicals age in every cell in our body, including our skin,” says Dr. Skotnicki.
The alternative solution
Products are quickly becoming the alternative anti-aging solution. Those containing exfoliating charcoal and hydroxy acids as well as smoothing fruit enzyme-based antioxidants, like Dermalogica’s Daily Superfoliant ($83, available at and NeoStrata’s Anti-Aging Peel Solution (from $78, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), promise to help reduce inflammation; eliminate grime, pollution and dead skin cells; and tackle free radicals, eradicating age spots and fine lines. And everyone is promoting moisturization.
While hydration is the first step in skin defence to reduce premature aging, the right infusion of vitamins is key in helping you get the results you need. Toronto-based Indeed Laboratories’ Vitamin c24 ($25, available at Shoppers Drug Mart) contains the purest form of vitamin C (22% L-ascorbic acid) to help protect your skin from damage caused by environmental stressors, while keeping your face baby-soft and smooth. “Wearing an SPF, like our InDefense30 ($20, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), is also a non-negotiable in order to defend from harmful UVA/UVB rays,” says Dimitra Davidson, Indeed’s president and COO.
If you want to maintain optimum skin care without ever needing the assistance of a Botox of filler-filled syringe, it’s crucial to use mild formulations of lactic and hyaluronic acids and retinol. They absorb into your skin slowly, rejuvenating moisture and removing dead skin cells. Additionally, products containing hyaluronic acid encourage skin cell renewal and water retention.
How do they work? As your skin ages, it becomes drier and its ability to retain water lessens, resulting in diminished firmness and fine lines. Face products containing hyaluronic acid can rehydrate your skin, giving it a plumper appearance; as well, they can protect it from the environment, sun exposure and harsh chemicals; and help you postpone the necessity of taking a more invasive route such as an eyelift or a vampire facial.
Acne-prone? No problem. Retinol-based skin care can help fight pimples and blackheads, while simultaneously reducing wrinkles, stimulating collagen and promoting cellular turnover.
Lactic and hyaluronic acids and retinol all even out skin tone and increase blood flow to the skin, making products like The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5 ($7, available at Sephora) and Indeed Laboratories’ bakuchiol reface pads ($20, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), a natural retinol alternative, safe and convenient to use – not to mention an affordable alternative to more traditional treatments like facelifts and collagen injections.
“By creating products with results-driven formulas, we are able to give consumers an option if they don’t feel comfortable with invasive treatments,” says Davidson. “We believe our products are essential for daily maintenance, even for those individuals using invasive treatments. While some seek out invasive treatment in hopes of altering something, everyday products are a way of helping your skin do what it is meant to do naturally.”

ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.

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