When it comes to skincare, we often talk about the skin barrier or epidermis, which is the outermost layer of your skin—and don’t get us wrong, it is incredibly important. But there’s another layer to your skin, a bit deeper down, that’s perhaps less discussed yet equally crucial to maintaining overall skin health: the dermis. This inner layer is what comprises skin density.
“Skin density is the combination of collagen and elastin, along with other lipids and amino acids, that create the matrix of the dermis,” explains Mercedes Taylor, cosmetic chemist and product innovator at Youth To The People. “As we age, we can lose the ability to biochemically create collagen, upwards of 1% loss per year.”
This natural loss of collagen, an essential protein that promotes skin strength, elasticity and hydration, can manifest in many ways.
“Skin that has lost its density has likely been experiencing signs of a breakdown in collagen, elastin, and overall skin structure resulting in sagging, fine lines and wrinkles,” says Laura Cline, director of education at Youth To The People. “Over time, we may see or feel that skin doesn’t have the same bounce and ability to retain moisture.”
There are also certain areas of the face that are more susceptible to showing signs of aging thanks to their naturally thin nature. This includes, most prominently, the eye area; the eyes are surrounded by the thinnest skin of the entire complexion, and therefore the dermis in this area is simply less dense to begin with.
Though we can’t exactly reverse the aging process (though goodness knows, I’ll always keep trying!), there are ways to help restore and maintain skin density over time, both internally and externally. Regarding the former, following a diet that promotes collagen retention—including consuming foods high in vitamin C and protein, and maintaining adequate hydration levels—can help bolster skin density. Equally as important is sunscreen, which you should apply every single day of the year, whether come rain or shine.
“UV radiation is the largest factor in skin’s aging process,” Taylor says, “so it’s always important to wear sunscreen to maintain skin’s density.”
If there is one key word to always keep in mind regarding skin health, regardless of your skin type or your age, it is this one: moisture. Topically, you’ll want to seek out products formulated with ingredients that help retain moisture.
“Regular use of skincare products formulated to lock in moisture and boost cell function to stimulate collagen and elastin will help aid in preventing premature aging,” Cline explains. “Plus, these targeted formulas will plump and firm skin that is already experiencing a loss of density.”
Using a quality facial moisturizer twice a day, every single day, is step one—try the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream during the colder months of the year (or if you have naturally dry skin), and the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream when the weather heats up (or if you have naturally oil-prone skin).
Step two in preventing the loss of skin density is to never neglect your eye area. As this is the thinnest skin on the face, and already at a deficit when it comes to density, it needs special attention and care in the form of a quality eye cream. One of the most important ingredients to seek out in an eye cream (and also facial moisturizer, for that matter) are ceramides, which are found in the Dream Eye Cream. These essential lipids make up more than half of skin’s outer layer, helping to fend off foreign invaders (pollutants, UV radiation, bacteria) and retain moisture.
Another category of ingredients to seek out? Antioxidants. A favorite is Goji Stem Cell extract, which comes from one of our favorite acai bowl ingredients, goji berries.
“Goji plants are superfoods that are native to Southeast Europe and Asia,” Cline says. The stem cells extracted from these berries actually help improve skin function, thereby also helping to “reduce the appearance of fine lines around the delicate eye area,” Cline says.
The Dream Eye Cream features a blend of both goji stem cell extract and fortifying ceramides. Tap it gently around the eye area as part of your nighttime routine to visibly smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firm the look of skin, hydrate while you sleep, and of course, restore skin density.
Learn more about the Dream Eye Cream here!