Let’s discuss top tips to optimise the skin care routine for us women over aged 50.
Hold on… is re-labelling needed? Perhaps we should call ourselves “over aged 30”? It’s sneaky but also true as we are indeed over aged 30.. just by two decades or more. Let’s ponder that a second. No, let's stick with being called “women over 50” because that’s the point of this feature. Let’s be proud of our well-maintained skin, whatever our age. Let’s ensure we all know the top tips to optimise our beautiful, healthy and maturing complexions.
We’ve all followed life-long quests searching for our Holy Grail of most preferred ways to clean, moisturise and protect our skin. Over time we’ve each discovered our own favourite products and our own techniques that we follow. But are we doing cleansing as best as we possibly could? Today, let’s discuss the most effective and important routines each of us should use to optimise what Mother Nature gave us.
Our attitude positioning:
For some of us, seeing our most recent photos brings feelings of dread…even horror. Gosh, I can empathise. I frequently have these exasperated conversations with myself whilst looking in a mirror. I moan “Really, is that another crease?” or “What’s with this hormone pimple? Can my skin be drinking all the moisturizer I slather on and still be so dry?”. A hysterical video to post on social media would be entitled “Mum’s expletives and mumblings when she’s inspecting her face!”. Please don’t give this idea to my kids.
Most of us see a changing face in our reflection. Our chins may sag, eyes furrow, and necks wrinkle. We may wonder if we’re destined for lives of Shar Pei faces and turkey necks. I notice I’m using my lighted magnification mirror much less frequently these days. Benign ignorance seems to be my strategy. But then I stop to check myself and remember: the skincare routine for this chapter in our lives shouldn’t ONLY be about looking younger.
Let’s remember we can’t arrest the ageing process. Lamenting the inevitable doesn’t help our face nor our attitude. Our skincare routine must be about accepting who we are currently and striving to be our best possible version of ourselves for now and for our future. Let’s welcome middle age with grace, positivity, and pride.
Let’s re-read this last paragraph again out loud. That’s what we should post on social media! Let’s give ourselves a little cheer, preferably with no wiggling of our unwanted parts.
Let’s slow down ageing:
That cheerleading aside, of course we don’t want our faces to look like raisins. We want to feel good on the inside and look the best as we can on the outside, for our own selves. We can’t stop ageing, but we can slow down its inevitability. We are so lucky to be in the position to benefit from all the discoveries of scientists and the generations of women who preceded us. There are now routines, products, and medical processes which our grandparents never had. We live in an exciting age to…age! Let’s use the power of our knowledge to embrace our middle age beauty.
While the luck of genes does play a large part in the youthful appearance of our skin, some Tender Loving Care and attention can improve upon what we inherited. Let’s discuss the top tips to include in our regular skin care routine to optimise our ageing complexions.
Top Tips to Optimise Our Skincare Routine
Sleep well and long. Let’s get those Zzzzs. Beauty sleep is not just a myth. Quality sleep is vital part of a successful beauty regime. During sleep we heal, restore, and eliminate toxins from the skin. If sleep is reduced or interrupted, so are the body’s ability to carry out these essential skin functions. Full sleep is attributed to fewer wrinkles, a glowing complexion and happier appearance, less-puffy eyes, healthier and fuller Hair.
Scientists have identified that we should strive for 7 to 10 hours a night of quality, uninterrupted sleep. A study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that people who slept that long had skin that was more moisturized and that could protect and heal itself better after being exposed to ultraviolet light compared to those who slept five hours or less. Here’s my problem: I rarely sleep more than 5 hours a night. I worked in an environment where pride was placed on running with little sleep. We all now know how short sighted that sentiment was. Most of my colleagues from the early stages of my first career are exhausted, ill ... or dead! I am definitely going to try to get more quality sleep.
Yet, we know everyone’s body clock varies. Let’s listen to ours and ensure our routine allows for our optimal good sleep. To enhance the quality of your sleep, remember to follow your daily-cleaning routine (discussed below), and use products that may enhance your sleep success, such as silk pillowcases, eye masks and even melatonin. (Please see my blog on Insomnia. https://bit.ly/InsomniaStopStressing).
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate:. Studies have revealed staying hydrated by drinking water provides huge benefits to our skin. This flushes out toxins, helps increase elasticity in the skin and reduces swelling and puffiness in our faces. Who knew?!? When skin looks puffy, it is retaining water to protect us from dehydration. Staying hydrated can also delay skin’s sagging and reduce premature appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This also applies to the wrinkles in our arms and legs when we have saggy skin after weight loss. Who also knew that? Really, what do we have to lose? Let’s drink some water now for healthier skin. Slurp.
Many complain that water can taste boring. I actually don't love it. Let’s remember the trick of placing a varying herb or fruit in our water containers can make all the difference. Fresh ginger, lemon, limes, berries are all popular. Don’t forget citrus fruits can replenish elastin in your skin, the antioxidant powers of fresh berries and herbs like ginseng and cinnamon, and that cucumbers can help in boosting skin elastin. Why not add them to our daily water bottles?
Exercise: I know, we’ve all been told ad nauseum to exercise for our health. But did you know that exercise also makes us look younger? It boosts blood circulation and helps keep the skin firm. Spare a few minutes in the day for healthy skin and a healthy body. (Please see my Blog on exercise tips. https://bit.ly/7TipsBeHealthier).
Cleanse and tone daily…really!: This rudimentary process is fundamental for good skin care. Mature skin should be treated with a mild, non-irritating cleanser that won’t strip the skin of its natural oils or irritate dry and sensitive skin. It’s best to use a cleanser that provides a good barrier protection with skin-protective ingredients like ceramides (see more below). Another tip: Know that dermatologists usually recommend an oil cleanser to remove makeup, a cream cleanser, then use a lukewarm water to rinse, and pat skin dry with a soft cloth.
I have interviewed Jo-Ann Lebby, Owner of Goddess Retreat Beauty Room and top rated Facialist in South London. Jo recommends using a toner after every cleanse to help maintain the pH balance of skin after cleansing. The toner supplies an extra layer of moisture and “acts as a carrier” for the skin-care steps that come next. The results are worth the investment.
Do exfoliate, but infrequently and cautiously: We all know that exfoliation removes the dead skin cells which in turn encourages new cell growth, resulting in a healthy, more youthful looking glow. However, there’s a catch….
The problem is as we age, our skin thins so exfoliation can be more damaging than beneficial. Exfoliations create micro-tears in the skin and mature skin becomes drier and is less able to repair itself. For this reason, dermatologists advise caution when exfoliating as we get older.
Let’s remember these two important tips:
1) Only exfoliate once a week at most.
2) The Three Times Gentle rule: Use GENTLE products. I personally love natural apricot pip-based pulp products. Let’s use a GENTLE facial brush or soft warm cloth with physical scrubs. Let’s carefully rub in GENTLE circles, not pulling against our skin too much.
Jo explains both physical scrubs and chemical exfoliants (AHAs and BHAs) may be used on mature skin—but again, proceed with caution as our skin in thinner. AHA Glycolic is strongest, Mandelic or Lactic acids are a gentler alternative for chemical exfoliation for more sensitive skin. Salicylic Acid is great for adult acne. Let’s also remember to check ingredients before we buy.
Moisturise! Yes, Yes, Yes! But when and with what type of product? Here are some useful tips to answer these valid questions.
When?: Did you know scientists believe the best time to moisturise is right after we bathe because our skin absorbs more moisturiser when it is damp? Well, there you go!
With what?: This response carries two tips...
First, let’s make sure the lotion we use is the correct type and intensity for our skin. If we have oily skin, let’s not use a moisturiser for dry skin. If we have a tendency towards blemishes, use a lighter lotion. Dermatologists advise this basic and important step is often overlooked in lieu of trend following.
Next, let’s make sure we are choosing lotions that are oil free, non-comedogenic (won’t clog our pores), allergy and dermatologist tested. Also, let’s pick ones that includes vitamins, such as Anti-Oxidant Vitamins C and E help protect new skin and fight skin damage. Vitamin A and Vitamin B5 are also important as they increase firmness and build moisture levels.
Hyaluronic acid and ceramides are two skin care ingredients that have had a lot of buzz in the press, and this is for good reason: they are important for maintaining the health and hydration of our mature skin. The catch is the production of these key substances in the skin decreases as we age. This can result in dull, dry skin and fine lines and wrinkles are often more noticeable when skin is dry. Locking in moisture may minimize the appearance of these lines and both these ingredients help do so. They have tangible anti-aging effects.
Use face oils: Using face oils for added moisturising is now popular. Benefits include sealing in moisture and reducing enlarged pores and the appearance of wrinkles. Used as part of your morning or night-time routine, for a facial massage (see below), or added to your serum, face oils can be beneficial in moisturising the outer layer of our skin.
Remember Retinol! We can’t have a discussion of skin care routine for over 50s without mentioning Retinol. Unlike some other skin care products, Retinol is one of the only proven ingredients in skincare to truly help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Its other benefits include brightening dull skin, shrinking large pores, treating acne, and fading dark spots.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that stimulates cell turnover. Consistent use of retinol products works by penetrating the lower layer of skin where it stimulates elastin and collagen production- all while we sleep. That gives the skin the plump look and reduces the fine lines and large pores.
This trend started in the 1990s and has spread to include numerous make up and skincare products. Prescription Retin A can be obtained from your dermatologist or Retinols are available at shops and online.
Be aware that Retinols can cause irritation, peeling and do make skin sensitive to UV rays so they should only be applied at night. As everyone’s skin is different, when first using retinols only use 1-2 times per week until your skin gets used to it. Start with a low percentage for sensitive skin and, if after a month of no irritation, move up slightly if needed. Remember also, not all Retinols are equal. Read the ingredients to find out what strength is in your purchase and make sure retinol is near the top of the list.
Slather sunscreen: This is often viewed as the most important step in an optimal skincare routine. We really must apply sunscreen on our face, neck, décolletage and hands every day, 12 months a year! Even if it’s a cloudy day as the sun during daylight could still damage our skin.
UV rays are the biggest ager and older skin is thinner and very susceptible. We may not be able to erase the damage from sun worship in our youth (who else used baby oil and the reflector screens to optimise the sun’s rays?), but we can and should control our exposure now.
We should select a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Wear it every day, put it on after your makeup. To cut down on skincare steps, Jo recommends using a tinted sunscreen or foundation which includes a high SPF.
Remember regular facial massages: Let’s pamper ourselves! Let’s give ourselves a facial massage as needed but at least every week. It works to reduce fluid build-up, improve blood flow, cell turnover, tissue toning, and boost collagen production. Massage with your favourite facial oil. This is perfect relaxing technique before bed (remember the first tip on this list: good sleep!).
Follow these tips for a fabulous self-facial: Knead and contour the facial muscles, moving along the jawline and upward toward the highs of the cheekbones, under-eye region, and across the forehead towards the temples. Rub one way on top of the cheek bones in the outer direction towards your ears to guide to the lymph nodes for drainage.
And more… Wrinkles and lines are an inevitable part of ageing and women have varying ways we deal with that fact. Some choose medical intervention, such as Botox, fillers or even surgery, to hide or reduce age’s affects. Be aware that there are many new treatments that are alternatives to injectables such as radio frequency, micro-needling, plasma pen and laser rejuvenation that could be an option for those of us not wanting to risk injectables.
Other women view wrinkles as evidence of our experiences and that we should wear them with pride. Some may prefer not to use these expensive, temporary options that may result in a not good look. Britt Ekland shared recently the horror results of her fillers. Whatever path we pick, remember we have a right to our personal choice.
I personally subscribe to the philosophy of there’s nothing wrong with showing our age with a couple lines, hopefully smile lines. I want all my expressions to show on my forehead. Yet, I also live by the adage that we all should do what makes us feel great about who we are. Let’s follow our routine for ourselves, not for the outside world. Just like buying that new dress—get it for how you feel when you wear it. Saunter and walk proud…all with a little sass. Smile with your lined face or "botox-ed" face…just smile.
Ok, everyone. Let’s tick off these tips to optimise what Mother Nature gave us! Let’s get cleansing, … gently!
As always, I hope this feature was informative and I would love to hear any thoughts, additions, and comments you may have. Thanks, everyone!
Sources. Thanks to the following sources for my research and inspiration: Cerave.com.au Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid: Their role in Achieving Beautiful Skin; https://www.samhealth.org/about-samaritan/news-search/2019/05/29/importance-of-sleep-to-your-appearance-and-skin ; Honeygood.com; interviews, https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/beauty-sleep#1