In a two-part series, Deepa Desa enumerates simple ways to care for your skin. The first part shares the basics of skin hygiene which contribute towards a healthier skin
Our skin needs as much care as the food we put in our tummy and the effort we take to make our tresses shiny and healthy.
Everyone ages differently, but during your 60s and 70s, you may notice that your skin has changed in the following ways and is:
- Thinner and starting to look paper-like
- Developing more age spots, wrinkles, and creases
- Pigmentation and hyper-pigmentation
- Irritated easily
- More susceptible to skin infections
- Bruising more easily
- Sweating less
- Healing more slowly
You may experience a couple of these changes or more. Ageing brings about hormonal changes, additionally, medication, allergies, illnesses, stress and life in general can take a toll and show up on our skin in several ways. Just be aware of what’s happening to you skin and follow our simple tips to look after your skin. You know it’s time to go to a dermatologist when your skin is showing more signs of damage then the points mentioned above.
Far from advocating a 10-step Korean style routine, let’s look at a few simple ways to make sure your skin looks and feels good.
There’s a traditional-done-and-dusted 3 step routine in skincare:
Step 1: Cleanse
Step 2: Tone
Step 3: Moisturise
I’ve tweaked it a bit as follows:
Clean your Skin
Whether you’re a man or woman-its vitally important to have clean skin especially in our weather (think: hot sun, humidity, toxic smoke, pollutants etc.) conditions. You don’t have to use a fancy cleanser (note: please don’t use soaps which are not all-natural, as they strip your skin off oil and moisture). Gentle soaps with natural oils and cleansers like Cetaphil are safe.
Wash your skin with cold or cool or lukewarm water, as hot water also dries up your skin. Avoid rough loofahs or cloths. And don’t rub your skin dry, please! just gentle patting with a soft towel is good.
I suggest simple toners, like rose water, lavender water, and green tea water (yes, water steeped from green tea leaves is very good for skin, but it has a short shelf life, so you need to make fresh batches). Keep them cool in the fridge – you can use a spray bottle – and spray your skin, keeping your eyes closed, after a cleanse. Dab with your fingertips after spraying. A toner balances your skin and refreshes it as well.
Exfoliate (a process that removes dead skin cells) your skin once a week. You will find the gentlest exfoliators in your pantry. I found that a few products exfoliate and nourish at the same time. Do note that home remedies are a nice treat for your skin but they are not always the solution to any skin condition you may be experiencing.
A few DIY recipes to start you off:
- Mix a tsp of oatmeal, almond meal and dahi (yogurt-it has lactic acid-a natural exfoliator). Gently scrub in a circular upward motion with your fingertips, avoiding any sensitive area. Add half a tsp of honey and gently scrub once more. Leave for ten mins. Rinse off with lukewarm water. This is soothing for dry, sensitive skins.
- Papaya, lemon juice, honey, and turmeric oil/ powder; or papaya, aloe vera gel, half a tsp of apple cider vinegar and honey, also work nicely to brighten and nourish your skin. Make a paste. Leave for ten mins. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
- Coffee grounds, oatmeal powder, coconut oil and vanilla are also high in antioxidants and caffeine reduces puffiness. Mix all ingredients well apply on your skin. Leave for ten mins. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
If your skin is ultra – sensitive, do a patch test on your inner wrist area or jaw area first. Always moisturise with a light face oil or cream after a deep cleanse.
Dry weather, ACs, sun exposure, extreme cold, heaters are some detriments that zap our skin’s ability to retain moisture and deplete its skin barrier function. Which means, skin lipids dry up and cells get dehydrated and weakened. Protect your skin when you expose it to the elements by using a good sunscreen which has an in-built moisturiser. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 30 SPF – one that blocks UVA and UVB rays.
TIP: To avoid dry itchy skin, consider using a humidifier.
Be aware of the blue light from digital devices you use at home, including your led lighting, (we have a detailed article on its effects) and the damage it can do to you skin. Today many companies have products devoted to blue light protection.
Protect your hands by using gloves when gardening or washing up. Remember to use moisturiser generously and many times a day to soothe and moisture up your hands.
Seniors with very sensitive skin may need to use hypo-allergenic products which are fragrance-free and formulated for hypersensitive skin types. If your skin burns, itches, gets tomato – red around cheeks or certain areas every day and breaks out, you may want to visit a good dermatologist.
In our 60s, 70s and 80s, our skin gets thinner and more sensitive. Nourishing it daily with gentle and natural moisturiser is essential. Your skin barrier is made up of lipids (fats) and cells. This means your skin needs the necessary suppleness from natural oils, which it’s losing due to loss of skin lipids as we age. The water content in a moisturiser also adds hydration to you skin cells which helps your skin look plump and fresh.
Simple ways to moisturise are using pure cold pressed oils from coconut, olive, sweet almond, avocado. Shea butter, cocoa butter are also effective for sensitive skin types. You can add a blend of essential oils to augment the result and smell great as well. Creams that are rich in oil are also a good choice. More complex nourishing ingredients that can be included in oils and creams include ceramides, hyaluronic acid etc. *
The most effective way to use a moisturiser is when your skin is still damp. After a bath is the best time to use a natural oil on your face and body.
Part 2 will talk about anti-ageing ingredients that work well for your skin.
CAUTION: You increase your risk of slips and falls when you use bath oil in the bathing area, so it’s best to be seated outside the bathroom, if you are using an oil. Avoid standing on slippery surfaces and using a bath oil. Wear socks immediately to lock in the moisture and prevent slipping.
Reassess your lifestyle, to maintain health of your skin. Eat fresh produce and drink plenty of water and nourishing fluids. What you put into your body does reflect on the outside.
Stress shows up under our eyes and dulls our complexion. Treat yourself to a gentle professional facial massage occasionally. Get adequate quality sleep. Stay calm with meditation and chants or prayer if that works for you. Spend time in nature, it oxygenates your cells. Yoga and exercise pump blood flow to your cells giving you a healthy glow. Have a laugh, it makes your skin radiant!
Aim for better, healthier skin rather than younger skin. Besides if you skin looks healthy; you will automatically look younger. Though DNA does determine good skin, it goes beyond that. Your daily habits have a big impact on what you see in the mirror. Skincare can be simple, but it can also be dizzyingly confusing and complicated, with the number of products and procedures available today. Ultimately, caring for your skin is a personal affair, so choose a regime that makes you feel good about you.
The Most Effective Anti-Ageing Ingredients for Your Skin – Part 2. Watch out for it next Monday, December 28
If you have an enquiry about what’s written above or skin care in general, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Skin Care in the subject line