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How to Keep Aging Skin Healthy
Don’t wait until you’ve reached a ‘certain age’. You need to know how to take care of aging skin long before signs of age begin to appear. Here’s a guide on how skin ages from 20 to 70+, and how to keep it healthy throughout.
When Does Aging Begin?
By your mid-20s at the latest you'll start to notice the appearance of fine lines around your eyes. This didn't happen overnight, even if it seems that way. It began when you were about 20. This is when collagen fibers start to diminish at a rate of one percent per year, or faster if you're not in the habit of wearing sun protection.
That's why you should think about anti-aging skin care before you enter your 20s.
Start with a Basic Skin Care Routine
Early signs of aging can be minimized with a simple skin care routine; cleanse your face twice daily with a soap-free cleanser, use a non-astringent toner, and moisturize always.
There are moisturizers for every skin type, including the oily and acne prone.
When you apply face cream, massage upwardly and outwardly. This 'trains' facial skin to defy gravity, which delays the onset of sagging and wrinkling.
Another anti-aging trick is to pat the face with a facial cleansing sponge along the jawline, along the eyebrows, above the bridge of the nose, and along the nasolabial folds. This helps prevent the formation of jowls and frown lines.
A moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is a must, even when it's cloudy. And time has proven that women who have always worn a hat and sunglasses on summery days are those who retain a good skin quality well into old age.
Whether an eye cream is necessary remains controversial.
A regular moisturizer is probably more sensible, with an eye serum applied beneath it to treat problems like dark circles, swelling or wrinkling.
The trouble with eye creams is that they tend not to be substantial enough to protect the delicate eye area from the elements, nor from the drying effect of central heating and air conditioning.
Use hand cream as often as possible, especially after contact with soap and detergents, and always wear gloves in cold weather.
Slackening and Creasing
If you haven't taken good care of your skin, you'll start to notice a slight slackening of your facial contours by 30, and the lines around your eyes and nasolabial folds will be quite prominent.
Change of Skin Tone
Something you can't do anything about is a change of skin tone. Because the body produces about 20 percent less pigment, you won't look as radiant as you used to without makeup. You'll also burn more easily in the sun, and tanning evenly will become more difficult.
Shifts in hormonal balance after 30 or 40 may cause facial hair to appear on the upper lip, chin and neck. Light skinned women can bleach unwanted hair to make it invisible. Darker skinned women should remove by epilation or laser.
By 40 you'll have at least 20 percent fewer collagen fibers than you did at 20, causing your contours to give way to gravity. You'll also notice a depletion of the fatty tissue that plump skin up to keep it looking smooth. Serums worn beneath moisturizer can counteract this.
Because dermal cell reproduction slows down, your skin will be more prone to dryness. If you enjoy hot showers and foam baths, you could end up with eczema. Start using a body lotion if you're not already.
Circulation isn't as efficient as it used to be, especially if you smoke. Make sure you get plenty of fresh air and exercise, and massage your body daily from the shoulders down with a bath brush. This also helps prevent cellulitis.
By 50, unless you've been kind to your skin, you'll notice the appearance of age spots on your hands, as well as ever deepening facial wrinkles and sagging contours.
And even if you've treated your skin well, they'll be no mistaking that it's all downhill from now on. The hormonal reorganization that takes place during the middle years causes poor sebum quality, enlarged pores and dry skin. You'll also perspire less; this combined with poor sebum quality means a weakening of the skin's natural protective barrier, which is basically a mixture of sebum and sweat.
Improving Skin Texture
To shrink pores, apply serum with retinol or an alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic or salicylic acid. These have a peeling effect and thicken skin.
To keep moisture locked into your skin, use a rich moisturizer with a high SPF.
A foundation primer can instantly improve skin texture and the appearance of enlarged pores.
If you're not using retinol or an alpha hydroxy acid, apply an enzyme peel once a week.
For a mechanical peel, use a facial scrub with jojoba beads. Unlike solid granules, whether natural or synthetic, these slough away dead cells without harming the skin.
Cleansing Mature Skin
Because almond oil can repair and imitate the skin's natural barrier, it's an ideal cleanser for mature skin. It dislodges even the most stubborn grime and makeup, including waterproof mascara. This is how it's done:
- Massage two teaspoons of almond oil into your face.
- Apply a little water and work up to an emulsion.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Dry your face with a cotton pad.
Your skin can only just produce enough new cells to make up for the amount shed, which is why it may start to look very dry and thin by 60. The protective barrier will also have further diminished, leaving skin vulnerable to bacteria and infection. And the fact that you no longer find sunburn and harsh astringents painful indicates that your skin's warning system is failing.
Continue use of serums, rich moisturizers, almond oil and sunscreen.
Your body wash, deodorant and toner should be formulated for sensitive skin to avoid the possibility of adverse reactions that could go unnoticed.
If you've looked after yourself over the decades, you'll receive many compliments on how young you look for your age—that is, of course, if you choose to reveal how old you are. Keep up the good work!
Additional problems you're likely to encounter are calluses of the feet, knees and elbows, blackheads around the nose, and warts on the face, hands and under the arms. Visit a beautician and/or dermatologist regularly to keep this under control.
Ten Tips to Keep Aging Skin Healthy
- Always wear moisturizer, no matter what your skin type.
- Use only non-astringent toners.
- Make sure your day cream has a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15.
- Bathe only in lukewarm water, whether in the tub or the shower.
- Avoid soap-based products.
- Apply hand cream as often as possible and wear gloves in cold weather.
- Massage your body daily from the shoulders down with a bath brush to aid circulation and prevent cellulitis.
- Massage your face upwardly and outwardly when applying skin care cosmetics.
- Don't smoke.
- Alcoholic beverages dehydrate the skin and enlarge pores—keep to a minimum.
First image by Theanh0104 (http://mrg.bz/VDjFCt)
Second image by Stux (https://pixabay.com/en/cream-skin-care-eye-cream-194116/)
Third Image by Maegan Tintari (CC BY 2.0) [retouched]
© 2010 Jayne Lancer