When it comes to the skin, an enduring issue in just about every country of the world is the visible effects of ageing. As we age, each of us have or will at some point stress about a new wrinkle that wasn’t there yesterday, or a patch of stubborn dry skin that just won’t go away. All of this doesn’t only challenge how we look after our skin, it can also have an effect on our emotional wellbeing as we may experience feelings of anxiety or stress over how our skin looks or feels. That is why a positive outlook- the ability to stay strong in our skin- is as important as the products we use.
The skin and ageing
Our skin becomes thinner as we age, and as a result loses elasticity and the ability to retain moisture, leading to wrinkles, sagging and dryness1. The rate at which skin cells replace themselves, called cellular turnover, also decreases as we age2 so we end up with cells that aren’t quite as good at retaining moisture or acting as a taut, cohesive barrier. Even the skin on our lips can’t escape the ravages of time; ageing lips lose elasticity, change colour and lose more moisture to the environment3. The weakness and thinness of ageing skin also makes it more prone to damage such as skin tears4, so effective management strategies are crucial.
So what can we do to offset the effects of ageing skin? Here are a few tips to help you cope with ageing and stay strong in your skin.
1. Use moisturisers – keeping your skin hydrated is just about the best thing you can do for ageing skin5. Obviously, ageing cannot be slowed or reversed, but a good moisturiser can help to manage the most concerning effects of ageing, such as skin dryness, elasticity and tone.
2. Don’t use soap – The skin is naturally slightly acidic, with a pH of around 4, whereas soap is alkaline, with a pH of around 9-10, so it can actually damage and irritate the skin6, exacerbating the effects of ageing. Opt for pH balanced soap substitutes instead.
3. Avoid products with common irritants – common skincare ingredients such as fragrance and colour have long been known to be irritating, especially for sensitive skin7,8. Look for moisturisers and cleansers that lack these types of ingredients and are made specifically for sensitive skin.
4. Avoid sun exposure whenever possible – UV radiation is a major source of premature ageing9, so it is important to practice good sun safety. This includes the use of very high (SPF 50+) sunscreens and seeking shade. Some moisturisers even offer SPF, so you can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak!
5. Accept that ageing is inevitable – This may be easier said than done, but accepting ageing is going to happen no matter what you do can be a huge help, especially if you are prone to focusing on it. Ageing is a natural, beautiful process, so embrace it!