13 August 2020

Skinning the issue

Looking the age we feel is a goal many aspire to. But while genetics plays a significant part in how well our skin looks after the age of 60, there are many things we can do to assist the process.

Looking the age we feel is a goal many aspire to. But while genetics plays a significant part in how well our skin looks after the age of 60, there are many things we can do to assist the process.

Dermal therapist Meg Hawkins, owner of Hobart’s The Skincare Clinic, is another who believes that while the ageing process is inevitable, having a healthy attitude towards our physical appearances is half the battle.


Understanding the causes

Before undertaking a regular skincare routine, it’s important to understand the toll that menopause, dehydration and UV exposure may already have taken on older skin, Meg says.

She says sagging jawlines, wrinkles and loss of tone are mostly as a result of chemical changes that happen within our bodies when menopause occurs. With the decline of oestrogen levels, collagen and elastin production drops dramatically as does oil production, leaving the skin significantly drier.

“Your skin appears dull because of the build-up of dead cells on the surface of the skin. As you advance into your 70s, 80s and 90s these will become more pronounced and you may also notice that your skin becomes more fragile and sensitive with an increase in blotchiness. You bruise more easily, you sweat less and you heal more slowly.” 

Meg says the other factor which controls the breakdown of collagen is UV exposure and the resilience of the skin to repair itself. UV is the biggest factor in ageing our skin.

Men who believe it is only women who benefit from a regimented skincare routine may be surprised to learn that the men’s skin care market is projected to top $60 billion by 2020.

While this is primarily driven by younger men interested in facial creams, masks and serums, it’s not just those in their 20s or 30s who stand to benefit from introducing such products into their daily maintenance schedule to reduce the impact ageing has on their skin.


The way forward

Meg says whether you have cared for your skin all your life or chosen to ignore it, it’s never too late to begin a healthy skincare regimen. The first step to improving tone and texture is to de-stress the skin which in turn will decrease inflammation, increase blood flow and stimulate cellular repair.

This allows water to be retained and the skin to begin to function as nature intended, she says.
This begins with you learning to manage your own stress, ensuring you receive sufficient sleep every night, and undertaking regular exercise.

The next step is to take an honest look at your diet by decreasing sugars and limiting your alcohol and processed foods consumption while upping your intake of oily fish and greens. Nor does it hurt to increase your intake of specific foods that can help you to achieve naturally radiant skin such as dark chocolate, coconut oil and red capsicum.

Drinking at least two litres of water each day daily will help rehydrate the skin by assisting your digestive system flush out toxins from the body. It also assists to combat a variety of skin issues including psoriasis and eczema.

Using a high factor sunscreen every day not only helps protect your skin from harmful UV rays but will also help retain current collagen levels.

Meg says when it comes to third party skincare products the best thing you can do for your skin is to remove any products with nasty chemicals and fragrances from your skincare shelf along with harsh scrubs and products containing strip the skin. 

Meg suggests you choose product ranges with delivery systems attached to their ingredients, so you know “the goodies are reaching the correct area in your skin”. Moisturisers should contain high levels of Shea butter, fatty acids or ceramides while soaps should be avoided at all costs, she says.

“You want to choose products which will not dry your skin out. Normal soaps are a good example of this along with many shower and bath gels. Bath gels can also increase the chance of slipping whilst wet. Have a play around and choose products for sensitive skins.”