How does our skin change as we get older?
- The rate at which we create new skin cells slows down from around 27 days to over 50 days. This can lead to drier and more dull skin as dead skin cells can stick together and hang around on the skin’s surface for longer before being sloughed off
- Other changes include wrinkles and thinner skin (especially on our face, neck, hands and feet) plus less elasticity, firmness, sun damage and slower skin healing (whether from blemishes or damage)
What is this caused by?
Skin ageing is caused by the accumulation of damage to our skin over our lifetime – genetics, environment, changing hormones, our health and lifestyle factors can all accelerate or reduce the impact of damage and therefore how well our skin ages.
- As we enter our 40’s our oestrogen and testosterone levels start to change & initially this may mean we get spots for the first time since we were younger, as hormones levels “bounce” around and can be caused by relative androgen (testosterone) dominance so maintaining that hormone balance is key
- As oestrogen drops we start to lose it’s protective nature and this can accelerate loss of collagen and elastin
- As testosterone starts to dwindle we may lose some of the oily protection it stimulated, leading to drier skin
- Too much UV damages skin cells DNA as they are being created leading to lack of firmness and elasticity
- Smoking increases toxins in the skin cells and reduces nutrients available to new skin cells
- Consuming sugar and processed carbs leads to the production of Advanced Glycation End products. AGEs build up in the skin tissue and lead to wrinkles and discolouration
- Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate our skin
- A sedentary lifestyle can mean we have less nutrients being transported to new cells as they are being made, resulting in slower cell renewal, repair and waste removal. This can mean more dead skin cells, slower healing and duller skin
How can we take control?
Our skin reflects our overall health and wellbeing so it’s really important that all our systems – detox, digestion, immune and cardiovascular systems are working optimally through nutrition, movement and stress management. We can then remove waste, absorb and transport nutrients around our body and adapt and recover from infections, allergens and injuries quickly.
Our diets and hydration are also influential. Below shows the key vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need to include to promote healthier skin.
|Essential for the production of collagen: no vitamin C, no collagen
|All colourful fruit and veg. Include cruciferous veg for extra collagen support
|Helps control the rate of keratin accumulation in the skin. A lack of this vitamin can result in dry, rough skin
|Eggs, oily fish, nuts and seeds, liver, dairy products, orange veg, green leafy veg
|Essential for the production of new skin cells. A lack of zinc can lead to poor healing
|Meat and seafood, legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy and eggs
|Omega 3 and 6
|Form part of skin cell membrane
|Oily fish, nuts and seeds, organic and free-range meat and dairy
|Helps protect us from sun damage and the effect of toxins in the environment; can improve cell function as well
|Seafood, green veg, nuts and seeds
|One of the most important actions we can take is drink plenty of water
|Low Toxic skincare routine
About 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed – it’s essential then that we use products which are safe, contain ingredients which are known to promote healthy skin, protect us and safely remove dead skin cells
Check out the “Think Dirty” app for advice on safe skincare, cosmetics and household products
Four top tips for skin care for a 40’sWoman?
- Drink plenty of water and try to reduce the amount of caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks you consume. I always have a big glass of water in front of me when I’m working to remind me!
- Make sure you include healthy fats in your diet – fat is in the membrane of every cell in our body, is essential for making hormones and ensuring that our nerves and brain work optimally. Get yours from oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut oil, butter, eggs and chia seeds
- Eat the rainbow every day – eating a wide variety of plants whether it’s fruit and veg, nuts and seeds or herbs and spices will mean you get thousands of phytonutrients alongside essential vitamins and minerals. As well as keeping your skin glowing there’s growing evidence that for women in our 40’s and beyond they can help support our resilience and stress management capacity
- Not nutrition related but always use a warm flannel to remove your cleanser daily, and ensure that cleanser is creamy. But always change the flannel regularly and be gentle, don’t drag the skin