My skin rejuvenating game changers of 2023

This has been the year I’ve learned most to date about science-backed healthy aging as well as the best ways to rejuvenate our skin and keep it in good shape.

Unsurprisingly, these two things are inextricably linked!

So from growth factors in skincare, to the best devices, lifestyle changes and the free things we can do to reverse and slow some of the signs of aging, here’s a few highlights from what I learned in 2023.

Exosomes and growth factors

First-off, an area of skin and healthcare that is about to explode and that’s the use of exosomes and growth factors to reverse age-related damage.

Exosomes are something you’re going to hear more and more about when it comes to anti-aging.

They are little sphere-like sacs that contain growth factors and peptides which all form a crucial part of our cells communication and messaging system.

Like so many things, they decline as we age so our skin cells receive less input and slowly loses the ability to effectively renew and repair itself leading to those signs of aging we know so well.

So we’re seeing a flurry of new growth-factor-based products and treatments coming onto the market including micro-needling facials with growth factor serums.

Their use is a fairly new innovation in skin rejuvenation and therefore we don’t have a lot of long-term safety data about its use cosmetic use.

That makes some doctors and dermatologists a bit wary of these innovations, particularly the idea of injecting them.

But their use topically is becoming much more mainstream with no major safety concerns reported to date.

Estrogen for skin rejuvenation

The next skincare breakthrough I learned more about this year was the use of estrogen on our faces and necks.

I had a discussion on the channel with two doctors around the use of estrogen in skincare, because while there are benefits there are also risks.

The upshot is that insufficient levels of estrogen decrease the skin’s defences and it becomes thinner with decreased collagen and elasticity, and increased wrinkling and dryness.

Conversely, several studies link the increase in our levels of estrogen with improved collagen production and skin hydration and reduced inflammation.

Now we’re seeing people on TikTok applying low-dose creams to their faces in the belief that the effects will be localised.

But applying estrogen anywhere on the body is something you should speak to a doctor about first.

What you use and how much you use for anti-aging purposes should be weighed up against your overall health and hormone profile, and stage in life.

A young woman gets ready to workout at the gym

Weight lifting

Another big learning from this year is around the enormous whole-body benefits of weight lifting – including to our skin.

A new study suggests resistance training doesn’t just strengthen your muscles, but can strengthen the skin too, reducing the signs of aging.

Researchers in Japan reported that while both aerobic and resistance exercise have a positive impact on skin elasticity, resistance training in particular increases dermal thickness.

The researchers found resistance exercise caused the skin to behave more youthfully at a cellular level, including increased collagen production.

And the most pronounced effects were seen in people who lifted weights.

The theory is that weight training alters the circulating levels of cell signalling molecules and hormones delivering the anti-aging benefits. 

And it all adds to what is fast emerging as concrete science around the role muscle plays in aging.

In her book, Forever Strong, New York-based Dr Gabrielle Lyon argues that muscle is actually the organ of longevity.

She believes that loss of muscle mass is one of the greatest contributors to age-related disease, physical and mental decline.

Maysama's Pulsed Light Panel
Maysama’s Pulsed Red Light Panel

Red light

This was also the year I really got on board with red light therapy.

I’m a big believer in finding ways to gently stimulate and support our skin without putting it through its paces too much.

When it comes to anti-aging skincare and clinical or at-home treatments that can be a delicate balance.

And one of the gentlest yet most effective treatments around in my view is red light therapy.

It typically uses low-level wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to treat skin issues including wrinkles and scarring.

It’s thought to work by strengthening the mitochondria in our cells which play a vital role in supporting and boosting a cell’s energy.

But what we also know about red light is that too much of it is not necessarily a good thing and that it’s possible we can overdo it.

When I interviewed the scientist and founder of Maysama skincare, Bev May Sanderson, she said she believes the benefits of a red light mask or panel can be gained in just six minutes a day at home.

She points to studies suggesting red light emits a burst of free radicals (which are unstable molecules) that are initially helpful to the skin – but only up to a point.

Based on all this I now use Bev’s red light panel to treat my face and neck for six minutes every other day.

Collagen peptides and hyaluronic acid

This year I also started taking collagen powder and a hyaluronic acid supplement for my skin.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is used to make connective tissue. That’s why it’s so important to the strength of our bones, skin, muscles and cartilage.

But our bodies gradually make less of it as we age.

Now it appears through recent studies that hydrolysed collagen, extracted peptides of a lower molecular weight, can be better absorbed by our bodies.

A Korean study published last year found that after 12 weeks of supplementation with collagen peptides of lower molecular weight, with half of participants taking just 1 gram of collagen peptides daily alongside a placebo group, those taking the supplements had markedly reduced wrinkling.

I also take a hyaluronic acid capsule every day because of the science behind it with studies showing significant improvements in skin health.

There are several studies showing hyaluronic acid does make it past the digestive system to our skin resulting in significant decreases in wrinkles compared with placebo groups.

High molecular hyaluronic acid has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects so you’re getting more than just aesthetic benefits.

At home anti-aging tools

Skin & muscle stimulation

This year I also learned more about the best ways of boosting blood flow to skin on our faces and necks and toning our muscles.

My preferred ways for doing that are either through microcurrent or the totally free way, by hand through massage.

Recently we heard on this channel from Canadian esthetician Lee Medeiros who told how following an unusual massage technique had tightened the loose skin on her neck taking it from turkey to toned.

It involved buffing her neck for up to 3 minutes a day with a tightly rolled towel soaked in salted water.

We also got a demo from brilliant facial massage specialist Clare Maclean who took us through some face lifting massage techniques.

These are movements we can use on ourselves for both toning and lymphatic drainage.

For those short on time and often in a hurry, like me, a microcurrent device is a great solution, although I do try to avoid ones that give off a very strong current.

I use the ZIIP Halo microcurrent device which incorporates a mix of nano and microcurrent to give you a gentle but effective facial workout. You can use code ZIIPCLARE for a 15% discount on this device.

Nanocurrent is smaller than microcurrent and the theory is that it can promote changes at a cellular level delivering more gradual results that also support your skin health.

And whether you’re using facial massage or a microcurrent device, the effects are very similar.

We’re boosting the supply of oxygen to our skin cells which improves productivity, including production of that all important collagen, and we’re also helping to keep our muscles toned and tight.


2023 was the year I went a little easier on my retinoid use, switching from the potent and powerful tretinoin to a gentler but inexpensive retinaldehyde.

Why? Because even though I wasn’t using the highest-strength tretinoin formula I was still experiencing bouts of dryness on my skin with longer-term use that, no matter what I tried, persisted and made my skin look older because it was lacking hydration.

On the channel I’ve interviewed advocates of tretinoin for long-term use and those who believe it’s not the gold standard of skincare for every user.

Like you, I’ve seen the incredible skin smoothing results attributed to tretinoin by some well-known skincare influencers and I believe that it really can deliver great results for those whose skin tolerates it well.

But I also believe those users who say it’s done their skin more harm than good and that’s because our skin is different and therefore it reacts differently to skincare actives.

So it’s not a case of them using it wrongly, it’s just not right for everyone in my opinion.

And I thought dermatologist Dr Fayne Frey made that point really well in our interview earlier this year where she said the real skincare fountain of youth is.. sunscreen.

My approach to skincare actives and supplements is to look at the minimum doses I can use to give me the benefits rather than the maximum I can possibly tolerate which is what increases the chances of unwanted side effects.

Diet & lifestyle

If we want to keep our skin healthy and bouncy and continue to look and feel energised then we need to look beyond skincare to the core essentials.

That means we need to eat a diet made up of natural wholefoods, avoiding processed stuff in the main and trying to minimise our sugar intake (something that is still a work in progress for me I will not lie).

And we should aim to get adequate amounts of protein in our diet too to help keep our muscle strength.

We also need adequate sleep, and regular exercise that includes a little aerobic training and making sure we are lifting heavy things to maintain muscle strength as we age.

All of that is going to show on your skin and I always say that when you look at the influencers and celebrities who have amazing skin in their later years, you’re looking at a lifestyle package and not just skincare.

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