SEBUM (oil) production drops in your 40s, which is great if you have oily skin, but also means you will need a good moisturiser to replenish moisture loss.
Avoid heavy petroleum-based products that clog the pores. Loss of fat in the subcutaneous layer leaves your skin more fragile, and the dermis continues to lose its elasticity. The stratum corneum starts to become even thicker, because dead skin cells hang around for longer as cell renewal slows down even further.
If you have not started already, get into the habit of exfoliating regularly with a good quality facial scrub twice a week.
Start using products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that help strip the dead outer epidermal cells away, leaving your face looking fresher. It is very important you use an SPF while using these products.
As deeper wrinkles start to form, it is best to treat your skin to professional peels containing glycolic, saliycilic acid and a pure form of Vitamin A which will help reduce the signs of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
Layering the skin with serums and protecting it with a suitable moisturiser is very important.
IN YOUR 50S
The pigment cells in the epidermis called melanocytes often clump together to form brown age spots. Sebum (oil) production shrinks further, the stratum corneum continues to thicken and collagen decreases even further. Decreased oestrogen levels after the menopause mean that skin loses its plumpness and tone, which can leave it dry, itchy and more sensitive to allergens.
Mature skin is more fragile and it is physically less sensitive too, and so more vulnerable to bruising and tearing. On top of this, it takes much longer to heal itself. Blood vessels are easily broken, and warts and other skin growths become more prevalent in your 50s.
Take extra care with your skin at this stage. Stick to a good cleansing and exfoliating regime, avoiding irritants and astringents such as alcohol. Use a good moisturiser with a built-in SPF, and keep out of the sun. Continue using products with AHAs and enjoy professional peels to keep skin looking fresh. Remember, as our skin ages, wrinkles are both natural and normal. A lived-in face has as much character and beauty as a youthful one.
Mary Ferry is the proprietor of the Genesis Skin Care & Laser Clinic in Upper Dore, Bunbeg. Tel 07495 32575, www.genesissalon.ie. If you have a query you would like answered in Mary’s column confidentially, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org