Skin is the first part of your body to show age. You might notice wrinkles, age spots, dryness and sagging. Your skin also becomes thinner and loses fat, making it less plump and smooth. While age-related changes are inevitable, they are not universally embraced. A desire for younger looking skin can be satisfied with healthy lifestyle choices and good skin care.
Your skin is responsible for many roles. It protects you from the environment, helps control your body temperature, fluid and electrolyte balance, and contains nerve receptors that allow you to feel sensations such as touch, pain and pressure. Thus, it is extremely important that we take good care of our skin and make wise decisions to protect it
To understand changes in your skin as you age, it is important to understand what your skin is made up of. Your skin has many layers, which can be divided into three main parts:
- The uppermost layer, known as the epidermis, contains skin cells, pigment and proteins. With age, this area tends to thin and the pigment-containing cells decrease. Thus ageing skin appears thinner, more pale and clear
- The layer under the epidermis (the middle layer), is known as the dermis, and contains blood and lymph vessels, nerves, sweat glands and oil glands. With age, blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile which could lead to bruising or bleeding under the skin
- Additionally, oil glands produce less oil, thus resulting in dryness and itchy skin.
- The inner layer under the dermis, is known as subcutaneous layer. This layer contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, blood vessels and fat to help with insulation and padding. With age, this fatty layer thins. As a result, this increases your risk of skin injury and reduces your ability to maintain body temperature
- Each layer of your skin also contains connective tissue with collagen fibres (for support) and elastin fibres (for flexibility and strength). With age, changes in the connective tissue reduce your skin’s strength and elasticity, thus giving a leathery, weather-beaten appearance
Reduce the signs of ageing
Luckily, it’s not all bad news for your skin. There is a range of things that you can do to care for your skin and reduce the signs of ageing
Try to reduce the factors that may speed up the skin ageing process
Limit sun exposure. Sun exposure accelerates the ageing of your skin. You can protect yourself by staying out of the sun when it is the strongest, using sunscreen with an SPF 30+ (e.g. Hamilton Everyday Face or Avene Very High Protection SPF 30+ Sunscreen Cream), wearing protective clothing and avoiding sunlamps and tanning beds
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking promotes skin wrinkling and is thought to accelerate the damage caused by sun exposure. Advantage Pharmacies offer a range of products and advice to help you quit smoking for good
Moisturise regularly. Dry skin is more likely to show fine lines and wrinkles. If you have dry skin, try to moisturise at least twice a day or as required. For your body, try to use products (such as DermaVeen Moisturising Cream or Lotion) that are gentle on your skin and contain an ingredient, such as natural colloidal oatmeal, which is soothing and very hydrating. For delicate facial skin, there are a range of anti-aging products (such as Trilogy Age Proof Nutrients Plus Firming Serum and Olay Micro Sculpting Cream) that can gently hydrate and firm your skin to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and help restore a more radiant complexion
Gentle skincare. Age-related dryness can be further exacerbated by skin irritants such as perfumed soaps, heavily chlorinated swimming pools and long, hot showers. Try to avoid soap on your skin. Soap-free bars or washes (such as DermaVeen Soap-Free Wash, Hamilton Wash or Avene Cold Cream Ultra Rich Soap Free Cleansing Bar) are a better choice. During dry, winter months a humidifier (such as the Ultrasonic Anion Aroma Diffuser) may assist in hydrating dry skin
Good nutrition and adequate fluids. Nutritional deficiencies and dehydration could have a big impact on your skin. Try to ensure that you are including a wide range of fruit, vegetables and whole-grains in your daily diet. Limit foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt. Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day