Healthy Skin in your 50’s
Menopause officially starts one year after your last period and with it brings a few unwelcome changes to your skin and hair. The reason is simply that your levels of estrogen, the female hormone, is dropping which can cause sagging, especially around the cheeks, jawline and neck and because your body stops making as much collagen – more lines and wrinkles take hold! If that wasn’t enough …we also lose some fat under the Dermis and your skin’s elasticity drops. So here are a few changes that may happen to your skin and suggestions on how to cope with skin in your 50’s :)
Sun damage is going to show up now with age spots and larger areas of darker skin can appear on your face, neck, chest and hands. Skin cancer and pre-cancerous skin growths are more common now.
What can you do to protect your skin?
* Apply sunscreen every day before you go outside. You have to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 and apply it to all the skin that is on show
* This will help fade age spots, prevent new ones from forming and reduce your risk of skin cancer
* I would recommend an appointment to have a skin cancer screening as your risk of getting skin cancer increases with age. The earlier you find skin cancer and pre-cancerous growths, the more treatable they are
I am talking from my own personal experience of having a couple of Basal Cell Carcinomas, or BCC’s, removed and now have regular check ups.
Collagen is diminishing now and skin is losing it’s firmness and begins to sag. Jowls appear and permanent lines now show from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth. Wrinkles that only appeared when you smiled, now have become visible all the time. Bags may now appear under your eyes and large open pores appear from nowhere! Do you know that women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first 5 years of menopause. After that, the decline is more gradual. Women lose about 2% of their collagen every year for the next 20 years.
What can you do for ageing, sagging skin?
* You must protect your skin from the sun as the sun is causing 80% of the ageing! Applying sunscreen every day will reduce visible wrinkles and prevent new wrinkles
* Start using a skincare product that contains retinol which is going to speed up your skin renewal system and give you fresher, younger skin
* Consider using skincare products with peptides which can increase the collagen in your skin
* Vitamin C stimulates collagen so lookout for the vitamin C serums
Spots and acne can appear for some women as the oestrogen levels drop before and during menopause.
What can you do for menopausal acne?
* Use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid which will help unclog the pores
* Avoid acne products that can dry your skin as this can worsen acne. Remember your skin is thinner now so teenage acne products are too harsh
* Make an appointment with a qualified Aesthetician to have a prescribed facial.
Sensitised Skin can be a problem around age 50 as the pH level of our skin changes. Skin can become more sensitive and if you suffer already from eczema or rosacea – this could worsen.
What can you do if your skin becomes more sensitive?
* Use skincare products that are fragrance-free
* Never use soap on your face as most soaps are alkaline and will dry your skin more
* Have a red light therapy facial to heal and calm skin
Do you bruise easily now?
As Oestrogen levels falls, your skin becomes thinner. Thin skin bruises more easily.
What can you do:
* Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF30. Although sunscreen cannot thicken your skin, it will prevent further thinning. Apply sunscreen to your face, neck, hands and any other area that isn’t shielded by clothing. And do this every day – even in winter.
Has dry and/or itchy skin become your skin concern?
In menopause, skin loses it’s ability to stimulate the formation of skin-smoothing collagen and oils. That changing ratio of hormones in your body, don’t just slow down your oil production, they also reduce your body’s ability to retain moisturise. You might have a parched T-zone or flakey elbows but dry and itchy skin can appear anywhere on the body.
What can you do:
*3 words – Essential fatty acids, like the omega 3s found in salmon, walnuts and eggs. Focus on these ‘smart fats’ to help produce your skin’s protective oil barrier which is vital in keeping your skin hydrated. Sardines, soy, safflower oil and flax – all have these essential fatty acids or I like to think of them as the skins’ building blocks
*Wash with a ph balanced cleanser – remember soaps are alkaline and therefore will dry your skin
* Apply moisturisers with hyaluronic acid or glycerin as ingredients
* Apply baby oil before having your bath or shower – this will prevent dry and itchy skin
* Find a good moisturising face mask and use a couple of times a week