Skin ageing happens partly because of the lifestyles we lead. Here are some steps you can take to help manage and treat sensitive ageing skin.
WHY DOES SKIN AGE?
Skin ageing happens partly because of the lifestyles we lead. Over time, the skin’s surface becomes rougher, dryer and less elastic due to environmental effects like UVA rays in sunlight, pollution and habits like smoking, drinking alcohol and poor diet. Brown spots and uneven pigmentation appear as a result of sun exposure.
Skin naturally alters as it ages too, regardless of lifestyle. Skin can become dryer with age because of declining levels of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring water-holding molecule which helps to retain collagen, increase moisture and retain the skin’s elasticity and plumpness. The production of Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) also slows down. This lipid-like substance found naturally in the cells of the body, functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage from free radicals.
As a result of all these changes, skin can also lose its plumpness and firmness as fat deposits are depleted and collagen production slows down. Wrinkles, dark spots, loss of firmness and uneven skin tone are all visible signs of your skin’s ageing process.
HOW DOES AGEING AFFECT SENSITIVITY?
As skin ages the epidermis thins, lipid synthesis is reduced and skin becomes drier and less elastic. As a result the skin’s barrier function is reduced and it is much less able to protect itself from damage. These factors often mean skin becomes more sensitive and hyper-reactive to its environment, displaying visible signs of sensitivity including red, flaky, spotty, inflamed and tender skin. It may also feel itchy, hot and uncomfortable.
THE CHALLENGE OF ANTI-AGEING FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
To reduce the appearance of the signs of ageing, and protect skin from future sun damage, there’s a huge range of effective products to choose from.
However, if skin is sensitive, it can be tricky to find the products that work best. While there are powerful anti-ageing ingredients out there, some of the most effective formulations can trigger flaking, burning and irritation in even the most tolerant skin and may not be suited to sensitive skin at all. These anti-ageing ingredients include the vitamin A derivative Retin-A, Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHA’s) and glycolic acids, which all have an exfoliating action on the skin. Though a two-week adjustment period is often enough for skin to get used to these products, very sensitive skin may never be able to tolerate them in high doses.
However, with careful editing, there are still plenty of effective anti-ageing options even for delicate skin.
TIGHTEN AND BRIGHTEN WITH RETINOL SKINCARE
Vitamin A derived retinol is considered one of the best anti-ageing skin care ingredients as it helps increase collagen production and cell turnover resulting in tighter-looking skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It also helps to reduce the appearance of dark spots for a brighter looking complexion. However it can cause irritation, especially when first used. Those with sensitive skin should gradually build up product use over a few weeks and expect some redness and irritation at first before the skin gets used to the formulation. La Roche Posay formulates anti ageing products for sensitive skin, such as Redermic R, which contains 0.3 % retinol is specially adapted for use even on sensitive skin.
EVEN SKIN-TONE AND REDUCE DARK SPOTS
Uneven skin tone and age spots are a clear sign of mature skin, just as wrinkles are. La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Serum, which is specially formulated for sensitive skin, features a high concentration of lip-hydroxy-acid (LHA™) for gentle exfoliation, while ferulic acid, ginkgo and PhE-resorcinol target pigmentation in the skin for a smoother, more even-looking complexion.
Sun is the number one cause of premature ageing and as skin thins with age it becomes more important than ever to protect it daily (even when cloudy) from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. As skin is also likely to dry out as it matures, it’s import ant to find a sunscreen that works for sensitive skin and has strong emollient properties. Anthelios XL Comfort Cream SPF 50+ has both a very high broad-spectrum protection and is specially developed with dry, sensitive skin in mind.
Using skincare for sensitive skin and anti-ageing products as part of a daily routine
No matter how much a product suits, it can’t perform well in isolation. Anti-ageing products should always be used as part of a regular skincare routine. For maximum benefit, skin should be thoroughly cleansed morning and evening before product or a treatment is applied.
ANTI-AGEING INSIDE AND OUT
The correct products can have some stunning results on the visible signs of ageing and skin sensitivity. However a holistic approach to skin health that also takes in some simple lifestyle changes, is likely to enhance these benefits greatly.
- Increase fluid intake - Sensitive skin is often caused because the skin becomes dehydrated, meaning that it’s not able to function as a barrier effectively. Continued exposure to the sun, exercise, alcohol consumption and stress will all serve to dehydrate skin further, especially as it ages. Drink at least eight glasses of pure, filtered water daily to help your body detoxify and retain moisture.
- Reduce stress – prolonged periods of stress, often accompanied by poor nutrition and reduced fluid intake are known to inhibit the natural functions of the skin, meaning that it is unable to repair itself properly.
- Sleep - the simple act of getting a good night’s sleep can greatly increase the appearance of youthful skin as the body needs this quiet time to repair and rejuvenate.
- Increase fitness levels – Regular exercise encourages more oxygen to circulate in the cells which has a rejuvenating effect on skin.
- Eat healthily - A diet enriched with plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables along with lean protein and omega 3’s from oily fish, seeds and nuts, will all help the skin to repair and rejuvenate.