How to care for ageing skin
We’re all aware of how repeated expressions and gravity can cause wrinkles to appear on the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. That’s why Botox is so popular. However, as we reach our forties a whole host of changes in our biology start to affect our skin tone, elasticity and vibrancy. Whilst this all adds up to the unavoidable ageing process there’s a lot we can do to keep our skin healthy and youthful for longer.
How does skin age?
Fluctuations in hormone levels leading up to perimenopause and menopause, exert qualitative changes in our skin structure. Skin cell turnover extends from 21-28 days in the young adult, to 28-42 days in middle age. Skin cell turnover refers to the constant shedding of dead skin cells and replacement with younger skin cells. As this slows, the outer layer of the skin becomes thicker and drier and the skin looks dull and uneven.
Reducing levels of oestrogen also have an effect. There is a reduction in the manufacture of collagen and elastin fibres in the skin, resulting in reduced plumpness and bounce of the skin, giving tell tale jowls, and sagging, and making the hands look more veiny and thin.
Sebaceous glands are less stimulated as the skin becomes thinner, resulting for most women in dry, dehydrated skin, and increased lines around the eyes and mouth. If, however, you are prone to adult acne, sebum production may become thicker, making skin more oily and acne prone.
Thinner skin also has fewer blood vessels, leading to less oxygenation to nourish the skin.
Hot flushes expand small blood vessels and can cause breakage and in some cases exacerbate rosacea. And the lymphatic system starts to slow down, causing puffiness and putting elastin fibres under strain, contributing to their break down.
What can we do to manage mature skin?
We can do a lot to maintain skin integrity. Lifestyle choices become increasingly important in maintaining skin health. The most important things we can do are;
Avoid Sun. Protect skin from the effects of UV damage by wearing sunblock daily on face, hands, décolletage and not forgetting the ears!, and avoiding pollutants such as cigarette smoke. Remember, whilst UVB rays are obvious because they burn the skin, UVA rays are present every day even in this country, and they age the skin.
Hydrate. Keep skin well hydrated by drinking lots of water and green tea, and avoiding the dehydrating effects of too much alcohol.
A balanced diet ensure you get plenty of essential fatty acids – found in nuts, seeds, avocado and fish.
Exercise. If you’ve never managed to have a regular exercise regime, try to start it now. (Think 20/20/20, e.g. never sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time, walk for 20 minutes a day, and exercise hard for 20 seconds twice a day (see BBCs’ Horizon – The Truth About Exercise http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cywtq).
Skin care. Invest in good quality skin care products;
- Cosmeceuticals and prescription skin care ranges have much greater concentration of active ingredients than the skin care ranges available at department stores.
- Skin peels if you are a regular user of botox or fillers, consider for a change having some skin peels to reveal fresher skin with young, dewy skin cells, where wrinkles appear tightened.
- Dermal needling invest in a series of dermal needling treatments which will stimulate your skin to produce new collagen, elastin and fibroblasts, giving a healthier and more youthful effect.
Act now! It’s much more effective to start these treatments whilst your skin still has a relatively healthy matrix, than wait until it is very thin and wrinkled, and try to turn the clock back. You’ll find you like the effects of Botox and filler much more when they are carried out on more youthful, brighter skin.