Skin ageing may seem like a distant reality until it makes its appearance with a few fine lines or dryness. While it is impossible to stop the process, we can control or postpone it to an extent.
Here, experts tell us how.
What changes after 40?
Dr Deepika Lunawat, consultant Dermatologist, Mahi Clinic and Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai says, “As one ages the fat under one’s skin and around muscles starts to melt and change, leading to the formation of wrinkles and folds and on our skin.”
There is also dryness, wrinkles and fine lines, discolouration and loose skin. “Another is adult acne, mostly caused due to hormonal imbalance,” she explains. Several factors including genetics, overall health and how well you have been taking care of your skin from the time you were much younger, contribute to this.
Food also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin. “Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to glycation of the skin. This means the sugar can attach to proteins and lead to fluid retention which can lead to wrinkles. Food cooked at very high temperature like barbeque also creates such an effect,” explains Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietician at Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru. Include vegetables, fruits and nuts in your diet.
Adding lemon and aloe vera juice to your water can help to maintain a natural glow. “Lime is rich in vitamin C and potassium that helps to control the extra fluid retention on one’s face and helps to control the puffiness. Aloe Vera is also rich in minerals and potassium. It is important to maintain good gut health as an issue there can result in breakouts on the skin,” she says.
“After 40, the production of collagen and elastin (both proteins that provide structure) also come down. There can also be a mild loss of muscle mass that leads to the drooping of the face,” adds Dr Manveen Kaur, consultant dermatologist, Dr Kaur’s Skin and Cosmetic Clinic, Coimbatore. Some of the ingredients that can help in the development of collagen are vitamin D3, A, C, and E.
Omega-3 fats and evening primrose oil supplements can help in collagen production and hydration. Do check with your doctor about this though.
Hydrating the skin is important, so drink water as per your body weight, height, the weather, and thirst (for an adult this usually works out to at least a litre-and-a-half). Start the day with a creamy, rich cleanser. “This will not strip the skin of moisture or natural oils,” says Dr Lunawat. Also, apply moisturising lotion during the day and before going to bed.
Suparna Trikha, who advocates for kitchen-cabinet beauty, suggests using products containing shea butter or cocoa butter. Remember your lips, hands and feet. “With age, our feet get dry and develop cracks on the heels. Exfoliation after soaking it in warm soapy water helps. Always remember to moisturise the feet after this step,” says Dr Kaur.
Hormonal imbalances or sun damage of the skin can lead to discolouration or pigmentation. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or above while stepping out and remember to reapply it after three to four hours. Suparna recommends a natural face mask to control discolouration. She says, “Take two teaspoons of almond powder and one teaspoon of dried orange peel powder; mix with one teaspoon of oatmeal, one teaspoon of grated potato, half a teaspoon of lemon and enough full-fat cream milk to make a thick paste. Allow it to sit on your face till it is semi-dry. Then, massage it in a circular motion with some full-fat cream milk and wash it off.”
Dr Apratim Goel, Dermatologist, Cutis Skin Solution, Mumbai expains, “Almond powder has vitamin E and C while orange peel is rich in vitamin C and has retinol. Oatmeal is both moisturising and exfoliating while potato helps with removing dullness.”
Vitamin C, E and ferulic acid are rich in antioxidants that help to neutralise free radicals (these can trigger a number of diseases, including cancer). “While serums containing these ingredients can be used during the day, anti-ageing creams containing retinol, hyaluronic acid, peptide can be used at night,” explains Dr Lunawat.
She reminds us about under-eye care. “The skin here is thin and needs good attention. Do not forget to use these products in these areas as well,” she adds.