I remember, as a very little girl, when visited my grandmother I used to see this very old lady, a neighbor of my grandma’s. I was always scared of her, because her face looked unfriendly (only later I understood it was just very, very wrinkled and she rarely smiled) and her hands-better say the skin on her hands-it looked as if an over sized glove has dried out on it to the stage of a thin crumpled paper. It was scary for me at those times. And let me say it still is, but in terms of a fear my skin might become like that some day.
If you are close to or over 60, you will inevitably notice your skin has changed. Mature skin shows signs of aging. Less elastin and collagen production causes skin to be thin and loose, so it easily forms lines and wrinkles and even pronounced expression lines. It lost most of its flexibility and elasticity. Moisture production in the skin is also reduced, so it gets drier and drier as you get older. Age spots also might form on skin that has had years of sun exposure, where melanin becomes clumped. The once smooth youthful skin threatens to turn into something very opposite. Most of us do not really feel comfortable with the changes, as the glow now seems a distant memory in many cases. Without a proper skin care suitable for older women, the mature skin becomes more fragile, easily bruises, which is an additional source of displeasure.
I Can Accept My Age, and I’m Proud of It!
Well, of course, you are! But, be honest, are you that comfortable looking at your face in the mirror?
Most of us focus on what happens physically. Skin sags. Wrinkles appear. Body skin starts to resemble parchment paper. Where does it leave our self-confidence?
Self-esteem requires us to take loving, positive action on our own behalf. Good hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular physical activity are equally important when you’re 60 as when you were 20. Feeling good about how you look like can help to feel better about who you are.
You are certainly aware that It is impossible to have a skin you had in your 20s decades later, so, after you’ve made peace with the thought, you’ll have to go for the next best, i.e. to have the best possible looks for your actual age. You can do a lot about it with not that much of effort.
So, I’ll Just Buy the Best Moisturiser for Aging Skin and Use It…?
Well, if you read on, you’ll find out it’s so much more than just using a cream. Beauty comes from the inside-very frequently used and very true sentence. Also, not just in terms of inner beauty. Skin changes, aging in particular, can be affected in two ways. One comes as a result of aging of all organs, and as the skin is one of them, it is affected by biological change, as any other organ. Being our largest and most exposed organ it is highly affected by external factors and environmental influence, too.
The negative effect of inadequate hydration and nutrition on skin aging is obvious, you would say. Still, many women (and men) do practically nothing to improve it. When your body gets dehydrated, it will try to keep up the necessary liquid concentration in blood, therefore it will pull water from your tissues, including your skin. Have you ever seen a slightly deflated balloon? Having enough moisture helps plump up your skin, blowing out wrinkles.
So, your first concern is to drink enough water. (At least 6-8 glasses per day) Not soda or similar, but water, as sugary drinks have no positive impact on the skin, but on the contrary. When you consume lots of sugar, levels of blood sugar are constantly high. Then, sugar molecules permanently bond to the collagen in the skin, causing a chemical reaction which leaves the skin more stiff and inflexible, leading to premature aging making skin tougher and more wrinkled, with lots of lines or even saggy.
While our body process alcohol, it is releasing a byproduct which is toxic to body tissues. This leaves skin dehydrated, so excess intake should be avoided, as well as too much caffeine, which is a known diuretic.
Your next concern, as you may assume, is your healthy nutrition, as discussed in a previous article. Balancing your diet and eating the right quantity of fruits and veggies (all the healthy nutrients, vitamins with it) is just as important for your skin as it is for your overall health. You’ll certainly want to provide high levels of vitamins – A, C, D and E in particular, to be able to fight free radicals, food rich in fibers and essential fatty acids. Fruit and vegetables consumption certainly is one of the most healthy and safe ways of maintaining a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin.
Skin grows more in our sleep. We grow almost 30 times more skin while asleep than when awake. Having good sleep is extremely important for your skin. Dark circles and bags under your eyes after a poor night’s sleep? The circles are the close to thin skin positioned, more visible blood vessels, increased as a result of prompting by more cortisol which your body produces to boost energy levels after insufficient sleep. Bags are a little result of more fatty tissue at an older age and also more fluid, retained by the body if tired. So, now you understand why you should take care of having enough sleep.
Frequent losing and regaining weight always have ruinous consequences on your skin quality in the long run. If you need to lose weight do it in a slower pace, over a longer period and accompanied by exercising and massages in order to save the quality and firmness of your body’s outer package.
If you haven’t yet, do stop smoking for the sake of your skin. Tobacco smoke, besides being harmful for your lungs when you inhale it, contains toxins which wrap your face and can lead to dull and dry complexion, loss of skin’s firmness, let alone premature lines and wrinkles and leathery skin.
Being overly exposed to sun is bad for the skin at any age, but especially at age when the skin is more vulnerable already. Sun protection will be a good idea, as it will help to prevent blotches and age spots on skin. It will also reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, which we will discuss in a separate article. Even if applying a good, water-resistant sunscreen, with at least SPF 30 to all skin that clothing won’t cover while you’re outside, you should keep in mind that it is not a 100% protection and keep more in the shadow than out under harmful rays.
Bar soap is overly aggressive on your skin. Try replacing it with a soft, creamy, gentle cleanser. Fragrance free, the best. Perfumes and any skin care product containing fragrance might irritate your skin and enhance risk of having dry, itchy skin as a result.
Avoid totally or at least shorten soaking in a bath tub, having a not too long shower instead. Applying body moisturizer immediately after would be wise. Whenever you can, use only warm, not hot water. Hot water dries out the skin by depriving the skin of its protective barrier–natural oiliness. Speaking of-if you do hand dish washing, do it only if wearing gloves and for short time. You should also wear gloves at all times while working with cleaners, or other potentially harmful household chemicals.
Avoid being in spaces where the air is overly dry (air-conditioned or heated), or at least use a skin moisturizer regularly. For extended staying in a dry air environment, a humidifier can be useful.
Finally, do not overlook the importance of periodic skin examination for signs of skin cancer, as it can develop really fast, especially after 50. American Academy of Dermatology posted a video you can watch about how to examine your skin. (we’ll have a detailed discussion on skin conditions in a later post).
What If You’ve Neglected Skin Care Until Now-Starting in Your 60s
Well, if you want to prevent appearance of more signs of aging, you’ll need to learn some very basic steps. You’ll also need to be able to pick the products that will suit your skin and your wallet.
First, do not be fooled by the price-“more money-better quality” philosophy does not necessary apply here. You can find a good product at any price range. Try to stick to natural skin care products containing herbs, coconut oil, olive oil or if you have a good source of naturally gained Shea butter or argan oil.
Second, do not expect a major improvement over the night, and do not expect at all a newborn baby skin or appearance. Be realistic in your expectations. You are not having a face lift, you are just finally nourishing your skin with the right nutrients.
Be sure not to forget your neck and decollete. I like to think of my hands, as well. (I’ll never forget a photo of Cher showing an incredibly young face at her 60s, but moving her hair from her face by a 60-year-old looking hand.-I like her songs and films, btw.)
You’ll always want to start the morning with a splash of pure warm water on your face. If you have been already using cosmetic products, you might want to introduce some changes to your usual products:
-replace your foamy cleanser and reach for a nourishing cream cleanser. Do the cleansing on your neck and decollete, too. When choosing a cream cleanser, I usually check the ingredients list for: sulfate-, silicone-, petroleum- and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) free, but containing either glycerin, squalane, coconut oil, fatty alcohols, Shea butter, or some other emollient and humectant.
-use a gentle facial exfoliator once or twice a week to allow your radiant-looking skin emerge under the dead skin cells. The same goes to your lips, as well. You may need to use a separate lip exfoliator, if your facial one is not also suitable for lips. For a mature skin, physical exfoliator is too aggressive as it physically rubs off the dead skin layer. Chemical exfoliants, i.e. acids in them dissolve the bond holding the dead skin cells on, immediately removing old, dull skin, exfoliating and rejuvenating. In the long run, acids stimulate production of collagen and reveal younger, more radiant skin over time. When I choose an exfoliator I look for ingredients to not contain sulfate, silicone, petroleum or PUFAs, but to be made with salicylic-, lactic-, glycolic acids, fruit enzymes. If I had a sensitive skin, I would do a patch test before I use it on my face.
-decide on a good replenishing serum. For the morning your best choice is a hyaluronic acid serum which is able to penetrate the furthermost layers of skin, intensively hydrating the skin, capable of reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring sugar molecule found abundantly in the human body, in the connecting tissues, joints, skin, eyes, hair. It can attract and retain water 1000 times its weight which results in hydrated and glowing skin. Apply on a clean, but damp skin, after cleansing. HA is gentle and does not irritate skin, including sensitive. Choosing one, I searched the labels for natural hyaluronic acid, up to 1%, plus added vitamin C. As you already noticed I prefer products that are free of alcohol, sulfate, silicone, petroleum, paraben and fragrance or PUFAs.
-as a next step, you’ll want a moisturizer that’s designed to stimulate skin cell renewal and revive your skin tone. You’ll want to apply it also to your neck and decollete. When choosing one, go for one with sunscreen, at least 30SPF. It has to be of broad spectrum coverage and offer water resistance. I tend to avoid the “one for all skin types” product, as in my opinion nothing can equally well work for an oily and a dry, or sensitive skin. Aiming for the one which clearly states my skin type. As I have dry skin I’m always looking for something thick what will lock in moisture with a thick ointment. For normal skin, I’d choose cream, as they are thinner and help hydrate. If I had an oily skin, I’d go for a lotion. Anyway, I’d be looking for ingredients like pentapeptides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, and urea also help attract water to skin, while lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum lock in moisture.
-before you go for your make up, you’ll want to use an eye-cream that will diminish visible dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, and under-eye bags, if any. When I choose one, I look for ingredients like vitamin C, E and ferulic acid. hyaluronic acid or ceramides, peptides for my under-eye bags. These will increase collagen and elastin production and firm a sagging skin. For lighting up dark circles, I’ll choose a product containing niacinamide or kojic acid.
No matter how tired you are and how reluctant you are after a long day to do additional errands as taking care of your skin, It is a highly bad idea to go to bed with your make up, or even only with the layer of micro dust on your face. So, pull yourself together and let’s see what you need to do:
-in the evening, you’ll again want to wash your face. You really do not want all the dirt of the day go with you to bed. You can use pure warm water, or even better, a gentle micellar water to remove your makeup. Follow with your cream cleanser for a deeper clean. Tap dry your skin before moving on to the next point.
-your next step should be a retinol serum. Retinol is a natural derivative of vitamin A and can be found as retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, and tretinoin It will make the top layer of skin to turn over faster, helping so to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, will give the skin a fantastic glow and help manage acne and uneven skin tone. I use it in the evening after cleansing, on a dry skin, right before my nighttime moisturizer. When I first started using it, I was carefully using it only twice a week, slowly increasing frequency until I achieved five days a week without any irritation.
When choosing one, I look first for an opaque packaging, as retinol can be highly affected by light. Oxygen and heat are also enemies, so I look for an airless container. As for the label, I check strengths. The most common are 1%, 0.5%, 0.3% and 0.25%. When only starting using it, you should go for the lower concentration. If the product doesn’t specify the percentage of retinol on the label, I do not bother at all, as they are usually too low to be effective on their own, but need to be combined with other products to show an improvement of the skin. Other ingredients may be added, as antioxidants, peptides and emollients for even better results. I also want my retinol serum NOT to contain sulfate, silicone, petroleum, PUFAs or dyes.
-then use a nighttime moisturizer. As retinol dries out my already dry skin, I’m very careful to use heavier nighttime moisturizer. I do not use my day moisturizer, as they are different. Nighttime is the time when skin has a chance to restore, so I go for a good night cream. Night creams provide intense hydration and concentrated ingredients to fight signs of aging while you sleep. They are thicker than daytime moisturizers, usually contain exfoliators, like glycolic acid, and hydrators to replenish moisture lost during the day (allowing you to wake up looking less tired and puffy). Some contain even retinol, which is only to be applied at night. When choosing one, I look for one designed for my type of skin and with essential oils, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, retinol and ceramides, maybe an antioxidant, like resveratrol. As I tend to have some extra redness, similar to rosacea, I also look for niacinamide on the label.
So, now you have your schedule and a few tips on how to start if you are at the beginning, or how to switch in accordance with your age if you are used to using cosmetic products already.
Your skin may and will change with age. But remember, now you have an arsenal of things you can do to help.
A balanced, active lifestyle, nutritious diet, consistent proper skin care regimen and positive attitude in life will all do the trick and give you a good complexion. And, as we said at the beginning: beauty comes from the inside-with a little help from the outside, as you know by now.
I’d like to read in the comments your experiences, your thoughts. Also, fell free to leave a question, if you have any, and I’ll try to give you an answer, to the best of my knowledge.
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