When it comes to keeping skin healthy, there is one thing we know for sure, and that’s that prevention and protection is key. While some ingredients do exist that can help to lessen the signs of ageing, the key, dermatologists say, is to use products such as antioxidants that do their absolute best to give the skin exactly what it needs to defend itself against ageing aggressors. The truth is though, these sorts of skincare teachings are relatively new. The industry is forever learning more about skin and the way that it functions, and it’s only in the last couple of decades that we even learned at-home skincare routines should involve more than a hydrating face cream.
Having said that, the largest factor to skin’s health and the way it ages is without a doubt genetics. While what we put onto our skin can certainly help, each of us will age differently, with the skin’s natural ageing timeline guaranteed to look vastly different from person to person. The one thing we know for sure? As we get older, all of the good stuff our body produces to keep our skin looking youthful and healthy starts to diminish. And while for most of our lives our skincare routines are based around fluctuating hormone levels, when we start to enter our 60s, everything changes.
Celebrity facialist and skin expert, Abi Oleck explains, “Many skin issues start to arise in our 60s due to the hormonal changes that occur post-menopause in women, particularly the drop in our master hormone, DHEA. By the time we reach 70, the amount of DHEA we have is 77% less than at 20. Similarly, in the post-menopausal years, oestrogen levels drop significantly.” So, what does this mean for our skin and how we look after it? Keep scrolling to discover the five simple skincare swaps every 60-something should make to keep skin healthy and glowing.
If you have spent most of your life struggling to control breakouts and oiliness, beware that your skin priorities will change as you enter your 60s. “Oestrogen has an influence on water retention, so a drop in levels after menopause means the amount of water in her tissues will decline. Plus, as oestrogen levels drop, so too does the production of hyaluronic acid,” says Oleck.
While it is not easily absorbed by the skin (the molecules are too ‘big’), using serums that contain hyaluronic acid will help to plump skin thanks to its water-retaining abilities. “It is important to incorporate humectants into skincare that allow moisture to be trapped in the skin. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is more able to penetrate deep into the epidermis to trap water and plump,” explains Dr Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon and aesthetics doctor at the Cadogan Clinic.
Hydration Is Key
Although hyaluronic acid has the power to retain moisture, it’s important to note that when we enter our 60s, the skin’s natural moisture levels drop significantly in other ways. “The production of sebum and total lipid content in the skin decrease. This means skin needs extra moisture and hydration through skincare,” says Dr Zamani. In order to keep the skin barrier hydrated and healthy, it is crucial to return the sorts of ingredients that need replenishing. “As we age, the lipid content decreases, so supplementing the skin with topical ceramides helps support the barrier and make sure it is able to function properly,” she explains. Incorporating a ceramide cream into your morning and evening skincare routine is the best way to keep skin hydrated, plump and healthy.
Get ready to rethink your exfoliation routine as you head into your 60s. While exfoliation is key to ensuring skin stays fresh and youthful-looking, the methods of doing so should be adapted as skin gets older. “As the skin ages, there is less need for ingredients that target sebum production, like salicylic acid,” warns Dr Zamani. Instead of physical exfoliants and acids that work to unclog pores and prevent oil production, look for alpha hydroxy acids to boost glow and luminosity. “The skin needs to be supported with potent actives that target pigmentation and stimulate cell turnover,” she adds.
Retinol Is A Must
While retinol (or vitamin A) usage is encouraged by experts from your 30s onwards, if you want skin to appear more youthful, it’s an absolute must in your 60s. With the post-menopausal reduction in DHEA, our skin sees a drastic reduction in collagen production and elastin, causing it to lose laxity and volume. “Vitamin A reverses the signs of ageing through helping to rebuild collagen. Retinol encourages skin renewal, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and imperfections while evening skin tone and improving moisture retention,” explains Abi. In essence, using retinol regularly in your 60s will help to tackle virtually every age-related concerned in one way or another.
As we get older, it’s easy to assume that skin becomes more resilient and tough, however that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, as we hit our 60s, the skin becomes increasingly more delicate. “As we age, we experience thinning of the skin, making it more prone to sensitivity, bruising and tearing. Cellular growth reduces and lipid production slows down, causing the skin’s protective layer to break down, allowing irritants and microbes to easily enter,” says Oleck. With this comes an increased risk of inflammation, redness and sensitivity, which can further exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles. To avoid upsetting your skin, opt for gentle, but hardworking formulas.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
Opening image: @hungvango