5 ways to age gracefully

01 September 2016


"At 50,” George Orwell famously exclaimed, “Everyone has the face he deserves.” The writer might be known for his frankness—but this time he missed the mark. As we age, poor skin isn’t always the fault of late nights and bad deeds. It can often come down to things we can’t help: the climate, our genes. Other times it’s as simple as curling up each night in a comfortable-but-damaging position, or using alcohol-filled skin products that promise the world (and leave us dry).

In celebration of good, glowing skin, we’ve collated the biggest offenders that accelerate ageing, and the simple ways to combat them.

1. Alcohol in skin care

Just as drinking too much alcohol ages skin, so does using skin care products that contain alcohol. 

The only difference between the two is that using skin care made with alcohol is ageing your skin from the outside. It dries out the top layer of the skin making it look dull and tired.  In some skin types it can cause breakouts and acne even though alcohol is sometimes used in products to treat these conditions.

Why do many skin care products contain alcohol if it’s so unhelpful for our skin? Our opinion is that this is simply a quick and easy way of making plant extracts.  And alcohol is cheap so manufacturing costs are kept low.

Disappointingly many certified organic skin care products use alcohol as a main ingredient. Yes, alcohol can be classed as ‘organic’. And it’s ‘natural’ because it’s made from fermented fruits, vegetables or grains. But that doesn’t make it nutritive and enriching for the skin. It's still pure alcohol and still causes drying damage to skin.

Types of  alcohol in skin care products

  1. Alcohol Denat. - the general term for denatured alcohol. Denat is short for 'Denatured' which means that a small amount of a denaturant is added to the ethanol to make it taste bad. This is a legal requirement in many countries including Australia when alcohol is used in skin care (because it isn't food, a beverage or an oral drug).
  2. SD ALCOHOL 40 - SD stands for Specific Denatured alcohol, again a mixture of ethanol with a denaturing agent. 
  3. The 'organic skin care type of alcohol' - ethanol made from fermented fruits, vegetables and grains).

Cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are not alcohol but instead are 'fatty alcohols'. This can sound confusing but they are in fact ethanol free. The highest quality of these fatty alcohols are made from white of coconut.

2. Cleansing with harsh ingredients

Harsh ingredients will age your skin. Take cleansers for example.  Some beauty advice says to use ‘enzymes’ in cleansers to better remove makeup, dirt and oil at the end of the day.

‘Enzymes’ are supposed to be from fruit extracts and may sound healthy – after all it’s fruit, right?

In reality these are more likely to be harsh factory-made ingredients that strip nutrients from skin.  Exactly the opposite of what Simplicité’s Plant Gel Cleansers and Sundew Cleansing Milk do.

Instead choose a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser that will effectively cleanse the skin but not strip it in the process. A gentle, natural cleanser is also able to be used around the eyes without causing burning or irritation.

3. Your sleep position

Getting enough sleep is essential for healthy looking skin but here’s how you may be ageing your skin while you sleep.

If you snooze on one side with your face scrunched into the pillow it’s highly likely that you’re fostering unnecessary lines and wrinkles on that side of your face, especially if you’ve been sleeping in that position for years. It takes effort to change this habit but to do so will be worthwhile. Try sleeping on your back or alternating sides so you’re not always lying on the one side of your face.

It can be helpful to invest in a silk pillowslip. Not only is sleeping on silk good for keeping your hair un-mussed overnight but by doing this you will also wake up with smooth, not-scrunched-up skin.

4. Drying makeup

When you have fresh and vibrant looking skin you don’t want to use makeup that turns it into just the opposite – dry and dull looking. Makeup should complement your skin, not cover it up.  If you feel that you need to cover up your skin with foundation, think about using natural skin care products that work. Doing this will improve your skin so you wont want or need to apply so much cover-up. Confidence in how your skin looks means you don’t need to use excessive makeup.

Some mineral powder foundations can make even the best skin look dry. If you’re noticing this problem, try other brands and find one that enhances your skin rather than dulling the complexion. The best mineral makeup should ideally give a delicate, light look and can be 'built up' for a more dense coverage.

5. Sunscreens that congest

Thick and greasy sunscreen - ugh!

It’s more than just the discomfort factor. Thick sunscreens are usually zinc or titanium based and they can congest skin unless meticulous attention is paid to cleaning the pores after each and every use. Congested skin accelerates skin ageing.

It is possible to prevent zinc-based sunscreens from blocking pores by exfoliating after each and every use.

But be sure to use an effective, gentle exfoliator. Otherwise you’ll be adding ‘stripped skin’ to the list of skin problems! 

Another problem is that the 'invisible' type of zinc sunscreens congest skin at a much deeper level, where it's not possible to exfoliate and clear this.

Protecting against the sun is vitally important and we can be smarter in our sunscreen choices. Try avoiding zinc-based sunscreen in the first place – at least avoid using it all over the face, unless you’re at an outdoor sporting event in an intense Australian summer.

That's because zinc-based sunscreens are best reserved for the nose and lips if you plan to be in direct sun for several hours – cricket anyone? It is then highly advisable afterwards to follow the cleansing routine described above. (exfoliate, exfoliate...) Otherwise dry skin problems or blackheads and pimples will be sure to follow.

Try our Simplicité Great Outdoors Moisturiser SPF15 which smooths easily over the skin, absorbs like a moisturiser, and effectively protects in most sun exposure situations. Best of all, it keeps skin happy and healthy - and clear of congestion.

Comments (7)

Alison Rooney on September 06, 2016

My husband is a teacher and spends a lot of time outdoors. We discovered Simplicite Great Outdoors Moisturiser SPF 15 many years ago (along with all the other wonderful Simplicite products). It is such a great sunscreen/moisturiser and protects Mark’s fair skin all day long without feeling greasy or clogging up the skin. We have tried other natural sun-screens but nothing compares to this – we love it.

Desley on September 06, 2016

I have started using the Mandarin body butter and have found it beautiful it absorbs really well and stays softer longer

Pippa on September 05, 2016

You are SO right about the sleep position idea. I noticed women with those deep lines on their décolletage and was determined to avoid that so I taught myself to sleep on my back and just turn my head and neck. It took a couple of months but my vanity is a very motivating force! I also notice a very particular crease in the face caused by sleeping with your face ‘mooshed’ into the pillow – a line that runs from the outer corner of the eye toward the nose. To prevent that you need to sleep with with your cheek near the edge of the pillow so it can’t sink in. Glad you mentioned the idea.

Robin Lyons on September 05, 2016

Hi Annalies, you’re correct, satin is a synthetic material. I did mean silk only for silk pillowcases.
Re nano particles in sunscreen, we do not use these. This is because we believe nano particles congest the skin at a deep level.
Re ingredients in sunscreen, please look at the website pages for the Great Outdoors Moisturiser with Sunscreen and Alba White Day Moisturiser – it’s all listed and explained and please email us through the contact page if you would like more information.

Annalies on September 04, 2016

When you say silk pillow case, do you mean satin? Or do you mean pure silk? Satin pillowcases have always been the ones talked about over the years but I don’t like the synthetic material they’re made of. Also, what ingredient do you use in your sunscreen to block out the sun? There is a lot of talk and research going on around nano zince and nano titanium dioxide being used in facial suncreens and BB creams; some say they’re good, some not.

Esther on September 02, 2016

I wholeheartedly agree with the last point on sunscreen. As a fellow pale Brisbanite I know how bad the sun can be for my skin. But I had no idea the damage I was causing my skin using a thick, greasy sunscreen. I couldn’t work out why my skin was breaking out and reddening from protecting myself from the sun. Using Simplicite’s sunscreen has made an incredible difference to my skin. Not only does it absorb quickly and hydrates but it smells so so good too! I’ve also found it work as an excellent primer under my foundation.

Kim London on September 02, 2016

Simplicite Great Outdoors Moisturiser SPF 15 will change your mind about sun protection. Non-greasy, smells wonderful, it’s been our go to product since we were lucky enough to discover it in QLD many years ago.

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