Any woman over 40 can attest to the fact that growing older makes for some strange bedfellows.
First comes the wrinkles – quietly, and sneakily – like an intruder scurrying over your face, leaving tiny ridges in its wake. In tandem arrives a snail-like metabolism, decreased energy, increased fat storage, and changing hair colour. Phew!
But skin-deep changes aside, ageing also heralds a period of immense personal, spiritual, and deeper growth.
Do you really want to give up your increased appreciation for life, bucketloads of wisdom, countless memorable experiences, and a laissez-faire attitude towards life’s ‘rules,’ (baggy shirts to the grocery, yes please!) for the naivete of youth? I think not!
Luckily, you can have your cake and eat it too! Personal growth doesn’t have to come at the cost of your skin or your body; not if you’re proactive from the very beginning. How wonderful would it be to enter mid-life with self-love, care, acceptance, and great skin to boot!
Understanding ageing skin is no rocket science. As your body ages, your skin’s ability to produce key substances like collagen and elastin (both responsible for your skin’s elasticity and flexibility) resulting in wrinkles, crows feet, and other symptoms.
All this goes to say that despite your skin’s innate defenses against ageing – and there are a ton – you have to play an active role in maintaining it in the long run.
Prolonged exposure to the sun, dust, and other environmental pollutants only expedite the process. And let’s not even get started on what smoking and a bad diet do.
Dermatologists and aestheticians alike preach one fundamental rule – start early! Great skin in your 40s is more than likely the result of due diligence in your 20s.
If you’re just starting out, remember that consistency is key. Keep at it, and your skin will thank you. And while flawless skin doesn’t happen overnight, you can start working on it today, no matter what your age.
Here’s what you need to do every day, week, and month, to get radiant skin in the second chapter of your life.
What To Do Every Day
The basic tenet to great skin is to keep it constantly hydrated and sheltered from the sun. By that we don’t mean bathing your skin with water or carrying an umbrella at all times (In fact, turns out excessive washing can actually dry out your skin and exacerbate any underlying skin problems). Instead, these two daily steps to better skin boil down to small lifestyle changes that ultimately make a huge difference in the long run.
If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it’s that skincare is suncare. You cannot have good skin without a good SPF. Invest in one that’s suitable for your skin, and use it daily. We won’t bog you down with the details, but sun damage is the root cause of wrinkles, lines, discolouration, and signs of aging, not to mention it’s also the source of skin cancer.
Long story short, NEVER skip your sunscreen.
The second part of getting better skin daily is to hydrate it. This can be as simple as implementing a proper daily or nightly regiment to help purify, tone, and moisturise. Skincare may seem like a luxury when you are short on time, but trust us when we say that you must make time to take care of your skin.
You don’t have to take it to the extreme and embark on the extensive – though very well-renowned – eight to ten step Korean skincare routine, but you can start with the basics.
Here’s a basic five step skin routine you can implement every night to help nourish your skin.
STEP 1: Cleanse
Invest in a good, gentle makeup remover or a miscellar water, and using cotton pads, gently wipe away any remnants from your face.
Then, using face wash compatible with your skin texture and type, gently lather, apply, and rinse.
STEP 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliating removes dry skin and help open up your pores. While there are numerous commercial exfoliators available on the market, many contain plastic microbeads that are harmful to the environment. An easy, cheap, and natural alternative is to use a DIY scrub, work it thoroughly into your skin, and rinse with warm water.
STEP 3: Tone
A toner is an astringent liquid that helps balance your skin, and remove the hard water and minerals that can be left behind during cleansing. Apply a generous amount in a cotton pad and glide it over your whole face.
STEP 4: Treat
Use a serum, treatment, or spot correction agent to target problem areas on your skin. These can range from natural acne retardants like diluted tea tree oil to more commercial products geared towards your specific skin concerns. Use sparingly, as most conventional targeted treatments are pretty potent.
STEP 5: Moisturise
Your choice of moisturiser here depends on your personal preference. From creams to gels, ampoules, serums, and oils, we’re spoilt for choice these days. If you can, invest in a high quality moisturizer or serum, as they usually contain purer ingredients, are more potent, and bind more efficiently to your skin.
If ever in doubt, coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer, though it can sometimes get too oily for oily or combination skin types.
What To Do Every Week
Getting and keeping youthful, dewy skin is a constant process, and it starts with eating right. Your skin is one of the best indicators of your health. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and it will show. Indulge excessively in stuff that’s bad for you, and, well, that will show too!
STEP 1: Hydrate
Yes, having a skincare routine and avoiding sun damage are important, but the number one rule of great skin is hydration, hydration, hydration. Creams and serums may do the trick topically, but truly hydrated skin is moisturised from the inside.
Water is your best friend, so remember to drink copious amounts to keep your skin plump, dewy, and free of toxins. Try adding fruit-infused ice cubes or flavourings like lemon, mint, and cucumbers to your H2O for water that is tasty as it is nourishing.
STEP 2: Drink Your Greens
Juicing is the latest trend in wellness, and with good reason. Juicing gives you all the nutritional benefits of fruits and veggies in a convenient, easily digestable package. But not all juices are created the same. Stay away from processed, packaged varieties loaded with sugar, and opt instead for creating blends at home.
Here’s one we love. Blend or juice any 7 of the items listed below and consume within 24 hours for an all-round system and skin reboot:
1 cup spinach
1 handful swiss chard
1 handful of mint
1 handful of well- washed kale
1 green apple
3 celery stalks
1 finger of ginger
1 lemon squeezed
STEP 3: Freshen Up
If you’re skin looks tired, worn out, or lacklustre, chances are your diet’s to blame. To keep your skin looking flawless week after week, include fruits, healthy fats, and antioxidants in your diet, to shield your skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Amp up your intake of Vitamin C, to help keep your skin radiant and blemish-free. You can take a supplement, or include blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes to your diet. Don’t forget to also include foods high in Vitamin E – almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils – to protect your skin from oxidative (cell) damage.
Fish, especially salmon, sardines and swordfish are great additions to your diet, as their high Omega-3 concentration helps maintain your skin’s cell membranes. Lastly, make sure you’re getting the daily recommended dose of fibre – 21 to 25 g a day – either through fruits and vegetables, or through a fibre supplement.
STEP 4: Supplement Your Skin
We all need a little help from our friends. In this case, we’re talking about supplements. Available in both topical and oral forms, supplements help make up for vitamins and proteins missing in your diet.
Supplements also help your body replenish its stock of substances it’s incapable of producing efficiently. Collagen production, for example, reduces at a rate of 1 percent per year, starting in your twenties.
Make sure to consult with your doctor or nutritionist before popping any pills, but here are a few key supplements that make a world of difference to aging skin.
What To Do Every Month
Facials are the Holy Grail of youthful, soft, and wrinkle-free skin; oxygen-infused ones even more so. But what exactly is an O2 facial, and how does it help your skin?
Well, and O2 facial, as its name suggests, involves using oxygen somewhere in the process. With all the makeup, sunscreen, and BB creams we use, it’s hard to find some quality time to let our skin just breathe. An oxygen facial makes up for that lost time, by infused your skin with a heavenly cocktail of serums, oils, and oxygen.
According to an aesthetician I recently saw, women should aim to do facials every four to six weeks, with optimum results of the O2 facial showing up three days after the treatment.
I experienced my first O2 facial a couple of weeks ago, when I took a self-love and care day, booked myself into the Hyatt for the day, and made my self at home at their renowned wellness hub – the Spa Esencia.
STEP 1: Take Everything Off
From clothes to makeup, the first step to the best facial ever is to take off everything. So get ready to strip down to your birthday suit, slip into a fluffy bathrobe, and settle under a warm heap of blankets on a massage bed.
Once settled in, your aesthetician will apply a combination of cleansers, towelettes, and steam, to siphon off all the residue gunk on your face. Makeup, lashes, morning moisturizer, everything comes off.
STEP 2: Steam
While the practice might not be the best for people with sensitive skin and conditions like rosacea, for most other women, warm steam softens the surface of your skin to remove impurities, bacteria and dirt from your pores. It also draws out buildup, and softens blackhead and whitehead plugs so they can be gently extracted.
An added benefit is that freshly flushed skin is espeically primed to receive specialised serums, creams, and other topical treatments often administered during facials.
STEP 3: Scrub Away
What better way to encourage healthy skin than with a good ‘ole scrubbing?
Exfoliating your skin is not only a key part of your weekly skin routine, it’s also incredibly satisfying. Whether you use natural exfoliators, loofahs and brushes or synthetic ones like microbeads (though those aren’t quite good for the environment), make sure to give your body a thorough rub down atleast once a week.
During your facial, your aesthetician will use a soft, circular brush with bristles to gently scrub away at the dead skin on your face, neck, and décolletage area, and boy, does that feel good.
STEP 4: Suction
This one sounds and feels strange, but trust us when we say it’s deep cleaning at its best.
Once the topical cleansing has been done, your aesthetician will hook up a futuristic-looking pen with an extremely long cord to a murmuring machine at your side. Then, she’ll proceeded to, well, vacuum your face. There really isn’t any other way to explain it, so bear with that analogy.
Think of a minuscule suction wand, and you’re getting closer to what the experience feels like. It maintains contact with your skin, suctioning off any residue gunk from deep inside the pores. It’ll probably be the most thorough cleansing you’ll ever had, and at the end of it, you’ll have unearthed an entirely new face.
STEP 5: Manual Extraction
The machines may have taken centre stage in the last round, but this part is all about skin to skin contact with the aesthetician manually extracting certain areas of your skin. Using a magnifying mirror with an attached light, she’ll target susceptible areas like your nose, chin, and T-zone, and gently coax any remaining plugs from your skin.
STEP 6: Infusion
This step is the reason you’re here.
At this point, your freshly cleansed, prepped, and scrubbed face is thirsting for some hydration. Rather than use a cream or butter, this facial involves infusing the skin with a mixture of serum and pure oxygen. Using a reverse suction machine affixed with a pot of oxygen, your aesthetician will add little bursts of moisture, hydration, and oil-based treatments into your skin.
STEP 7: Light Therapy
The final step in this multi-pronged facial is a little bit of LED therapy.
Turns out the colour of light in an LED treatment matters, because different lights have different wavelengths that interact with skin in varying ways. According to Instyle, amber light is said to build new collagen and elastin, red reduces inflammation and promotes circulation, blue destroys acne-causing bacteria, and infrared accelerate skin recovery.
Ask your aesthetician about what light works best for your skin, though most will use a red-tinged one to round off the facial.
And that’s it! Simple, actionable, and effective steps you can take to have the skin you deserve everyday. Whether you choose to follow the entire guide, or pick a couple of steps to try out, the important thing is to keep at it.
Now go forth and have great skin!