by Abigail O'Brien
|Posted on June 27, 2018 at 9:40 AM|
Skin health at every age.
Time waits for no one and the obsession the media has with youth as the only beauty ideal is always going to make us have negative feelings towards the inevitable physical changes to our appearance as we get older.
An alternative view is “pro-age” and I believe this creates a far healthier mind-set towards how we respond to the image we see in the mirror every day. Our confidence in what we see reflected can be seriously knocked when we compare ourselves to those airbrushed images we are bombarded with on-line, in magazines and through the beauty ideal endorsed by the fashion industry. It is changing somewhat with people like Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, seeming to rejoice in their maturity but we have a long way to go.
So, what can we do? My own special interest is in skincare. I believe that taking care of our skin and maintaining its health is the secret to looking our best as we age. The beauty industry has seen many changes over the past 25 years and the improvement in skincare formulations has been remarkable. We now know, through clinical research that skin cells have specific needs to remain healthy. We can respond to these needs in a way that makes a significant improvement to how the skin functions, both in its role as an organ of defence and to its outward appearance. It needs vitamins A,C & E replaced daily as U.V. light, stress and pollution depletes these essential nutrients. These vitamins are known as anti-oxidants and they assist the body’s natural capacity to repair the damage caused by all the stress we humans are exposed to. We also know the importance of protecting our skin from U.V. light as this is the single most damaging thing we are exposed to every day.
In addition it is important to ensure we have a sufficient intake of the essential fatty acids, omegas 3,6 & 9(EFA’s). These are supplied by oily fish plus nuts and seeds and need to be eaten regularly. These are crucial for our general health not just for skin as they are known to reduce inflammation in the body and are connected with all inflammatory health issues ranging from joint pain to dementia. Most of the people I meet through my work are not getting close to enough in their diet and need to add a supplement or to include mackerel, salmon, sardines and fresh tuna three times per week plus a daily portion of nuts and seeds. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this. Most of the skin problems I see daily could be improved by adding EFA’s. Years ago people habitually took a supplement of cod liver oil and there seemed to be wisdom about the body’s need for fish oil. Cod liver oil isn’t so popular now due to marine pollution but there are many good quality supplements available which contain oil from a safe, reliable source.
The hormonal changes that women endure as they go through menopause have always been associated negatively with the ageing process. One of the commonly known effects is osteoporosis and is due to a change in how our body absorbs calcium. This also has an effect on our skin as many of the factors involved in keeping the skin strong and resilient depend on adequate calcium availability from the diet.
We can also assist the improvements to the health and appearance of the skin by using the correct topical skincare regime. Cleansing is an important first skin care step. As we get older our skin gets drier and can benefit from extra moisture. The key is using a cleanser that's right for drier skin. Opt for a creamy formula that hydrates instead of foam or gel cleansers, which can strip moisture away. Using a moisturiser every day that is formulated with the essential vitamins and anti-oxidants that our skin needs to function makes a significant improvement and helps to maintain and increase collagen production which declines with age.
Finally, finding a form of exercise that we love can make a huge improvement. Exercise does more than just tone your muscles. It helps skin in two ways. First, it relieves stress. Exercise also boosts circulation, which begins to slow with age. The extra oxygen and blood flow can help your skin look brighter and healthier.
Every age has its beauty and by taking proper care of ourselves through exercise, good nutrition and quality skincare products, we will ensure we continue to look our very best.