Technology, climate change and a 24/7 lifestyle has given the term “modern aging” a whole new meaning. 

Environmental aggressors, technology and increased stress are the new skincare agers, showing up on your face one wrinkle at a time. “We are overworked, overstressed and our defense system is weakened,” affirms Regine Berthelot, director of spa education for Caudalie. “Our cells are not able to defend themselves.” At least not by themselves. So bigwig cosmetics companies have stepped up, creating skincare products to guard against, prevent further damage and repair your dermis from this daily assault. Here’s what you need to know to fight back.

ENVIRONMENTAL AGGRESSORS

Pollution, smog and the sun’s ultraviolet rays are part of our everyday lives. They’re difficult to avoid and can cause clogged pores, a dull complexion, constricted blood vessels and damaged cells, “accelerating the production of free radicals in the skin and depleting antioxidants,” says Leala McInerney, a corporate trainer for Dermalogica Canada. “This delays our skin’s ability to protect itself and triggers a breakdown of collagen

and elastin.” 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 every cell in our body, including our skin,” affirms Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, MD, FRCP, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and a dermatologist at the Bay Dermatology Centre. Products containing exfoliating charcoal and hydroxy acids and smoothing fruit enzyme-based antioxidants, like Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant ($79, dermalogica.ca) and NeoStrata Anti-Aging Peel Solution ($78, Shoppers Drug Mart) help to reduce inflammation, eliminate grime, pollution and dead skin cells and tackle free radicals, eradicating age spots and fine lines.

TECHNOLOGY

Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and even online shopping have all but taken over our desktop life. Well, at least 36.3 hours of it each month as noted in a recent study by the analytic firm comScore Canada. In fact, we’re spending more time surfing online than the average Canadian counts sheep and it’s catching up with us. “Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm,” explains McInerney. “This rhythm shows that our skin is at its best when we are sleeping—cells renew faster, which leads to a more youthful appearance.”

Extended online play and its subsequent eyestrain can also result
in crow’s feet, says Berthelot. “We are on computers and cellphones constantly and we’re damaging our eyes from the electromagnetic radiation, which causes squinting and frowning.” Incorporating anti-aging products boasting peptides and vitamins E and C like Caudalie Vine[Activ] Energizing and Smoothing Eye Cream ($48, Sephora) and Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift ($90, dermalogica.ca) banish lines and under-eye bags while infusing a healthy glow.

INCREASED STRESS

Our work, home and social lives have never been more jam-packed with activities and according to Statistics Canada, it’s stressing us out. “Fifty years ago, a woman’s main responsibility was to keep her household in order,” explains McInerney. “Now, not only are women doing this, but they are also running their businesses, maintaining their personal and professional relationships as well as creating new opportunities for themselves.” This 24/7 lifestyle can cause hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to spike, increasing skin inflammation, diminishing collagen production and promoting fine lines and wrinkles.

“The demands on kids to excel, parents to be superhuman and companies to out perform just continues to grow,” adds Dr. Skotnicki. “Stress leads to accelerated, individual cell aging and the fibroblasts that produce collagen and elastin in the skin age.” Using moisturizers rich
in amino-peptides like, Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Lotion ($85, Hudson’s Bay) and Olay’s Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream ($40, Shoppers Drug Mart) add much-needed elasticity and hydration in to the dermis, plumping the skin and smoothing fine lines into oblivion.