When it comes to the skincare industry, there is a lot of glam and pizzaz, and not all of it is based on science. Take a look at all the ads and claims, how many of those are demonstrably true? Then, if you go to a spa and see the treatments that are done and apply the same critique, the results might be even more depressing. In an essay published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researcher Ushma S. Neill recalls a funny event:
"I was having a very tranquil and restorative day, when I went in for my final treatment — a facial. The very chipper and cheerful esthetician began examining my skin and applying various creams, when I then heard her say something that nearly ruined my experience: she claimed that the topical treatment she was about to apply would, in her words, 'cleanse my liver.'"
Of course, the 'liver cleanse' is a myth far from biological truth, but it's very common spa and skincare contexts -- and this is just one example. The industry is riddled with small traps like this, which are often (but not always harmless).
Finding what truly works and what doesn't is not always easy, and things can be confusing. This is not meant to serve as an exhaustive guide to skincare or a map to finding the best approaches, but here are some general ideas that tend to work for women in their 50s and beyond.
Most women say they’ve never felt better than in their 50s when it comes to confidence and a sense of self. Unfortunately, they probably don’t feel the same when it comes to their bodies.Knees can act out, joints can ache, and the effects of menopause don’t make life easy. The body changes as it ages. From hormones creating havoc to puffy eyes, papery wrinkles below the eyes, and around the neck, those tell-tale signs of aging can be plentiful. But finding the right products for aging skin and adhering to a skincare regime will go a long way to minimizing the effects of those age-related skin woes.
Some tips are generally useful. For instance, many studies suggest that less acidic cleansers are best for sensitive skin -- so if this is the case for you, make sure to opt for something suitable. This is just one of the basics steps you can follow to take care of your skin as the years pass.
Here are a few more.
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Battle (and accept) hormonal changes
Hormonal changes are a given when that dreaded word – menopause – becomes a reality. Women have to deal with a slew of hormonal changes brought about by the onset of menopause. Dry, thirsty skin becomes the new normal, as lowered oestrogen levels equate to a reduction in the water retention capabilities of skin. Plus, as you age, your skin’s oil production decreases. Does this mean you should just reconcile yourself to papery skin and wrinkles? Not necessarily.
Speaking of which -- getting a good night’s sleep is also an essential factor – it has not been called “beauty sleep” for nothing. A little tip: sleep on your back rather than your sides or stomach if wrinkles are more prominent in the morning, those sleep postures can cause sleep wrinkles.
Follow the layering trickAnother step to maintain the elasticity of aging skin is to layer products – if you don’t already, now is the time to start using a serum under your moisturizer. A light serum acts as an additional layer, boosting nutrients to the skin in the form of specific nutrients with a targeted treatment for issues like dryness, fine lines, loss of firmness, and loss of brightness (like those dreaded age spots) of complexion.
Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, amino acids, peptides, retinol, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E -- each of which offer specific benefits that help minimize the effects of aging on one’s skin. Rehydrating your skin becomes increasingly important as you age.
Another common symptom of aging skin displays is loss of radiance and dullness. No one wants to have lacklustre skin with a grey pallor, which can make you look sickly and older than you are. The solution? Exfoliation – a good practice at any age, mature skin definitely will benefit from regular exfoliating. Aside from getting rid of dirt and particles and dull dead cells left on the skin’s surface, exfoliating improves circulation, another function that decreases as you age. Increased circulation means brighter and radiant skin, with oxygen and skin pleasing nutrients coming to the surface.
Now before you reach for that sugar or powdered shell scrub, keep in mind that aging skin is even more delicate, and should not be treated harshly. Scrubbing vigorously or with harsh particles can actually end up damaging skin and doing more harm than good. Instead opt for more gentle options like a muslin wash cloth –preferably warm. Choose products aimed for mature skin, like a gentle powder-based scrub with beneficial minerals. There are also numerous cleansers, balms and tonics to choose from. And if you can find a product with alpha hydroxyl acid, aka AHA or collagen, all the better.
Pay special attention to the eyes
For many, one of the first signs of aging skin is around the eyes. It loses its elasticity, and fine lines and wrinkles develop. Gone are the days when a restless or sleepless night won’t reflect on your face or a night of partying seems to resolve after a litre of water and a big greasy breakfast. The eyes give away your age. Aside from bags under the eyes and dark circles, you now also have to combat papery and extra sensitive under eye skin. And just lowering stress or getting a good night’s sleep no longer banishes those unforgiving lines and darkness.
Starting in your 40s and definitely as you hit 50 and beyond, investing in a good quality eye cream that will not just protect (but also firm and lift) is important. Continuous usage of eye cream will brighten – and tighten the under-eye area staving off those distinctive signs of age.