As we age our skin transitions through a number of phases as a result of the natural ageing process, hormonal changes, the impact of lifestyle and the environment. With the current lockdown giving us a bit of a breather, now is a great time to take a look at how best to care for your skin through the decades
Leading Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetic Doctor Dr Ophelia Veraitch who is based at renowned Harley Street clinic, The Cranley Clinic, examines these changes and gives skincare tips to accompany each decade.
‘During your mid 20s your skin begins to slow down the rate at which is turns over new cells, as cell production slows down. It’s also during this decade that your skin starts to lose its natural elasticity,’ explains Dr Veraitch.
‘Diet is also a big factor in skin health at this age because for most people it’s during this time of their life that they’re having more fast-food than ever, resulting in body, and skin, missing out on the essential nutrients it needs for repair and growth.’
How to care for your skin in your twenties:
-Start to use retinol to boost the collagen and prevent the signs of premature ageing. It not only reduces the fine lines, but it can help to reduce pore size helping to give the appearance of smoother skin.
– Introduce a SPF of at least 30 to your daily skincare routine, even during the winter months. This protects the skin from UVB rays which contribute to the premature ageing of the skin.
-Try and eat a diet rich in protein, fruit and vegetables, and Omega-3 fatty acids in order to keep skin at its optimum health. Alternatively, if you know that your diet is lacking in some areas, there are a huge range of vitamins tailored specifically to skin health on the market. These can help give your skin the nutrients it needs.
It’s during your 30s that your cells begin to manifest the first changes of ageing. A decrease in collagen leads to a loss of volume on the face and we also begin to see the formation of fine lines around the mouth, eyes and forehead.
This decade is also the most popular decade for British women to have a baby, and there are huge implications for skin. ‘People often talk of a pregnancy glow,’ explains Dr Veraitch. ‘This is largely down to the increase in blood flow to the skin’. However, the flip-side is ‘pregnancy spots’ or melasma caused by an increased production of oestrogen and progesterone. During pregnancy pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis can also worsen.
How to care for your skin in your 30s:
– ‘Upgrade to a medical-grade skincare regimen that includes a Vitamin C serum in the morning. This highly potent antioxidant prevents free radical damage that can lead to signs of premature ageing’
– ‘An SPF 50 daycream with UVA and UVB protection with help protect you for the harmful ageing effects of ultraviolet radiation.’
– ‘Invest in a retinol to use at night for its anti-ageing properties and to address pigmentation.’
‘The forties is the decade when things start to slow down,’ explains Dr Veraitch ‘Especially your lymphatic system which is responsible for draining the toxins from your skin. This can lead to puffiness, often in the eye and cheek areas.’
The decline in sebum production also means that your skin is less protected and more vulnerable to damage from environmental factors such as sunlight and pollution.
Hormone changes in this decade result in a decline in oestrogen, and with it the skin loses its tautness appearing more saggy and wrinkly.
Also at this age years of excessive drinking, smoking or sun exposure can begin to catch up with your skin, resulting in broken red blood vessels on the face which create a ruddy appearance. Similarly smoking can not only create more pronounced lines around the mouth but also dull the skin.
How to care for your skin in your 40s:
– ‘Cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking and eating a well-balanced diet are all important in looking after our skin .’
‘Continue with using an antioxidant such as Vitamin C in the mornings, an SPF 50 daycream and a retinol at night’.
– ‘Medical grade chemical peels and facials such as Hydrafacial are great to help restore the skin’s hydration and luminosity’.
– ‘Consider injectable treatments such as Botoxilium toxin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines. Fillers can also address loss of volume. Newer injectable treatments such as Profhilo is an injectable hyaluronic acid based product for treating skin laxity, boosting and hydrating the skin, and remodelling the ageing and sagging tissue.’
– ‘Laser treatments can help even out colour changes in the skin and treat skin laxity’.
Skin pigmentation abnormalities are a common occurrence in this decade, as are age spots which may appear on hands and arms as well as face. Gone are the days of being seemingly unaffected by sun exposure, at this age, even the most minor sun exposure can create dark spots on the skin. Thin red lines, or spider veins, may also appear, often as a result of sun damage. As you get older the stores of fat under your skin tend to deplete, as does the collagen and elastin. This combination not only makes your sun more sensitive to sun damage but also means broken capillaries and visible blood vessels are often caused from normal wear and tear too.
Additionally pores can become more pronounced in appearance, and the lack of collagen and elastin can lead to skin that is loose with obvious wrinkles.
Possibly the biggest change in this decade though is the eyes, which see eyelids become heavy and more hooded as the skin becomes less elastic.
Seismic hormone changes are taking place around this age too due to the onset of perimenopause and menopause. Reduced oestrogen means the skin is drier and it becomes more fragile as a result. It can break more easily causing cuts and scabs.
Also as your levels of female hormones fall you will probably see unwanted hair under your chin and along your jawline or above your lip.
The hormone changes at this age are also often to blame for some women developing acne.
How to care for your skin in your 50s:
‘Using a regular moisturiser such as Cetraben ointmment on the body is fantastic way of maintaining the skin barrier and battling dryness’
– Vitamin A retinol-based products are great for rejuvenating the skin, and if applied regularly can even help to increase the production of new skin cells and collagen.
-Chemical peels can help even out the complexion, and help with enlarged pores, redness and pigmentation.
– ‘Lasers therapies can address redness, skin laxity and pigmentation. It can also be a good option for facial hair removal, especially as waxing can be too damaging on delicate skin at this age’.
– ‘In skilled hands a combination of injectables such as Botoxilium toxin and fillers can help take years of your appearance.’
‘During your 60s you’ll notice that skin becomes drier and thinner and is stating to look paper-like in places,’ explains Dr Veraitch. ‘While the good news is that this means you’ll be less likely to suffer from breakouts, the bad news is that this leaves your skin more fragile and at greater risk of bruising easily. It’s a time where you begin to suffer from more skin infections and irritations, not to mention the increase in wrinkles.’
How to care for your skin in your 60s:
-Penetration of topical ingredients improves as our skin thins so it’s a good time to invest in products with active proteins like growth factor peptides.
-Whilst it’s OK to continue using retinol, it’s sensible to switch to a lower concentration formula to account for the fact that your skin is thinning and will absorb ingredients more easily.
– Limit any existing age spots you have on the face and hands from getting bigger by ensuring that you use sunscreen daily on any areas of the skin that are exposed.
(Main Image Photo Credit: Silviarita, Pixabay)