Aging, a Fact of Life
Skin aging is a fact of life. We can choose to deny it, revolt against it, bargain with it, go into depression over it, or ultimately reach acceptance of it. Wherever you may be in the skin aging grief cycle, your cold, cruel logical brain is right to tell you that this is a fact of life, period. Hopefully by the end of this, that same logical brain will also have a plan.
Let us start with another truth of life: aging does not have to be, and is often not, the nightmarish scenario the young amongst us fear. Every stage of life brings its skin discomforts and challenges at different stages in our lives, and sometimes they reoccur for very different reasons. About you acne, dryness, eczema or dermatitis we have not forgotten 😊
Here is what happens as we grow wiser
As we age, our skin experiences several transformations. The outer skin layer (epidermis) thins, and the number of pigment-containing cells decrease in number. Our skin loses elasticity and the sebaceous glands produce less oil especially in post-menopausal women. The subcutaneous fat layer also thins significantly. As a result, we should expect our skin to grow thinner, paler, spottier and more susceptible to wrinkles, breaking, and all kinds of spots, blemishes and growths. Environmental factors such as pollution, changing temperatures, exposure to the sun, and, yes, soaps and beauty products exacerbate skin decay.
Your logical brain has probably identified the possible areas of intervention to keep your skin health and glow as it ages gracefully:
- Keep the skin clean, with natural and organic cleansers and makeup removers that do not contain parabens and phthalates and excessive lists of chemical ingredients. Keep it simple!
- Supplement the skin with moisturizing agents to restore some elasticity
- Supplement your skin with natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents
The elephant in the room
As it is the case with most modern cosmetics, formulae can successfully address one or more of the above but end up introducing unintended damage. Industrial models based on mass production and cost-cutting are too often detrimental to the end product. More often than not, a single natural, organic ingredient is more expensive than a combination of three or more chemicals combined to recreate its effects. What side effects these introduce independently and in combination is often left to your body to discover.
Argan Oil, a very honorable mention
Natural products are definitely the way to go. However there are very few to address aging skin issues with no side effects to speak of more effectively than Moroccan Argan Oil. If you have heard of Moroccan oil, Moroccan gold oil, Moroccan liquid gold (Yes, it attracts orientalist clichés 😊), then you have heard of Argan oil. There are a lot of claims about Argan. Here are a few backed by research:
- Argan oil leads to a significant increase in the elasticity of the skin. It therefore provides an effective anti-aging treatment (see article by Kenza Qiraouani Boucetta, Zoubida Charrouf,Hassan Aguenaou, Abdelfattah Derouiche, and Yahya Bensouda)
- Argan oil is loaded with unsaturated fatty acids. Oleic and linoleic acids represent the majority (up to 49% oleic and up to 36% linoleic). When applied regularly, Argan helps with the impacts of aging. Regular use leads to less pronounced wrinkles (see article by Dom Guillaume, and Zoubaida Charrouof)
- Argan is such a good moisturizer it helps ward off nasty dry skin conditions such as Dermatitis or Eczema (see article by Dom Guillaume, and Zoubaida Charrouof)
- Argan Oil has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in vitamin E, or tocopherol, a fat-soluble vitamin and a potent antioxidant that reduces the damaging effects of free radicals (see study by Rocío Marfil, Rafael Giménez, Olga Martínez, Paula R. Bouzas, José A. Rufián‐Henares, Marta Mesías, and Carmen Cabrera‐Vique)
Things to keep in mind about Argan oil
Argan oil products can be found online and sometimes in stores near you. Definitely go for 100% organic argan oil. Argan is of moderate viscosity that is between the thickness of olive oil and avocado oil. So beware of anything that is too thick or too thin. It is normal, and in fact preferrable, for Argan oil to have a nutty smell. It is not unpleasant at all and it dissipates rather quickly. Some manufacturers further process the oil to make it odorless. This process tends to takes away from the oil’s potency.
Finally, the Argan forest in Morocco is limited in size and is affected by desertification and over-exploitation. Recent efforts to maintain this natural heritage are showing promise. Nonetheless, Argan oil remains a rare commodity, so expect it to be a bit expensive. Depending on the quality of the bottling, the organic certifications, and the brand name, expect to pay anywhere between 30 to 50 USD (sometimes more) for 2 FL OZ. Generally speaking, for over 40 dollars, you may be over-paying and for less than 30 (barring occasional sales), you may be compromising.
A Shameless Plug
Corporels.com sources pure certified 100% USDA Cold Pressed Organic Argan Oil products bottled in the USA in premium glass bottles and available for a reasonable price (25% off currently).
As proud partners of CarbonFund.org, Corporels commits to planting a tree with every purchase. Corporels also supports Argan Care, a Not-For-Profit Organization that works hard to preserve the Argan forest for future generations and empower the local community in Morocco, women in particular.