Tips for Skin Wellness
The skin is the largest organ in the body and makes up 15 per cent of the body’s weight.
To understand how the skin changes after the age of 50 it is important to understand that amongst skin’s several functions a key one being that it acts as a barrier preventing irritants and allergens penetrating the body and contributing to the immune function.
COVID-19 has brought a tsunami of stress, and this is emerging as another important driver for skin conditions in people of all ages.
Scientists are still unravelling the complex brain-skin connections and pathways which can activate a cascade of negative hormonal and inflammatory changes. But there is now no doubt that stress can trigger, or exacerbate, skin flare-ups1.
Skincare tips for caring for mature skin
Skin is the largest organ in the human body and it is one of the first things that people notice, often determining our age, if we are healthy, tired etc. However, approximately a quarter of the UK population sees a GP every year about a skin issue and skin disease is the second most common disease in adults2, with eczema and psoriasis two of the most common skin conditions for which people seek help.
GP, Dr Nisa Aslam shares with us some top tips on how to appropriately look after our skin in order to help maintain its health through the years.
Caring for mature skin requires a great deal of care – both in the choice of preparation and its careful use
As the skin matures and changes, the skin barrier function weakens, Dr Aslam explains. This disturbs the ability of the skin to prevent water loss and maintain equilibrium – known as the skin balance. Water loss and compromised skin balance can lead to dry, rough skin which can feel like sandpaper to touch. Dry skin is thin and fragile and allows irritants, allergens, and infectious agents such as bacteria and fungi to penetrate the skin causing inflammation and infection. Exposure of the skin to too much sun damage over the years can also contribute to dry skin and wrinkles.
The menopause and associated hormonal changes, particularly lower levels of oestrogen, has a significant impact on the skin contributing to wrinkling, sagging and thinning. Some fat under the skin is lost and the skin’s elasticity drops. That, combined with dryness caused also by hormonal changes, leading to less active oil glands in the skin, can cause sagging — especially around the neck, jawline, and cheeks — and fine lines and wrinkles.
Be clear on the difference between hydrating the skin and moisturising it. Hydrators are formulated to give skin a boost of hydration, while the main job of a moisturiser is to create a barrier to prevent or slow down the loss of moisture.
Drink plenty of fluid. Enjoy tea of all kinds – black tea, green tea, herbal teas. They contribute to hydration and contain antioxidants
A moisturiser is beneficial for slowing down the loss of moisture by creating a barrier after applying a hydrator.
Focus on hydrating the face, jawline and neck twice a day to minimise wrinkles. Look for a product designed to reduce lines and sagging. Protect your skin when exposed to sun with a high SPF product (30 or higher).
Don’t forget your hands. Protect them with moisturiser. Wear gloves when doing housework especially when using household cleaners.
Eat a healthy diet containing brightly coloured fruit and vegetables for antioxidants. Collagen gives the skin its youthful plumpness and keeps the skin tight. As oestrogen levels drop, so does the collagen in the skin. Eating foods or taking a supplement with antioxidants (carotenoids, vitamins C and E) may help make your skin stronger and tighter from the inside out.
Exercise to boost the circulation. The extra blood flow and oxygen to the skin can make it look healthier and brighter.
Try meditation or yoga to help relax. Stress can make the skin drier and more sensitive. You can also forget your skin care routine if you are stressed!
Get enough sleep!
Don’t forget: tackling skin troubles such as eczema and psoriasis starts with steps to avoid irritants and protect the skin barrier with emollients and moisturisers.
That means helping to reduce itching, protecting the skin from infection and irritants and reducing dryness. NICE — the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence — recommends a stepwise approach with treatments tailored to the severity of the skin issue as prescribed by a healthcare professional knowledgeable in the field such as GP or dermatologist.
1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082169/ [last accessed 18 Aug 2021]
2 BAD – Quality Standards for Dermatology Document