As much as we want to embrace ageing, most of us take a while to get there. The changes in our physical appearance indicate our internal systems are going through massive changes. Honestly, it's understandable to take a moment, or treatment or cream, to adjust to them. For women especially—fighting societal expectations and rapidly changing hormones—the acceptance is more than just an embrace of wrinkles and sagging skin.
Because that's what it boils down to—menopause and ageing organs that translate to visible changes on the largest organ of the human body. A complex biological process that results in a loss of fat, hydration, and natural oils that translate to sagging skin, wrinkles, and pigmentation. At worst, melanomas and related cancers, although they're hardly age specific. CO2 Fractional Laser Machine
Skincare in your 50s need not be about fighting ageing. Instead, it could be about engaging with an organ in your body, treating it like any internal organ, and optimising how it functions as age presents its own set of challenges. Wrinkles and loss of collagen are visible effects of ageing, and to fight them is an aesthetic decision confounded by patriarchy and expectations to look a certain way. There can be countless arguments in favour of accepting the way we are naturally changing as we age, but the reality is much more complicated. And as always it's a matter of personal choice.
"As we grow older, skin starts getting more pigmented, more dry, and you can see the appearance of more lines and wrinkles. Skin just loses its lustre," explains Dr. Harshna Bijlani, Medical Head, The Ageless Clinic. The layer of fat below the epidermis starts to lose volume and droops. "And certain fat pads start looking more prominent, for example, the jowls around the jawline. Others reduce, like the ones around our eyes or on our cheeks. And as we grow older, even the bone reduces a little bit in certain areas, so the eyes start looking more deep set and hollow."
None of this sounds' attractive'. "Skin becomes less forgiving as we grow older," says Dr. Bijlani without mincing words. "Free radical damage that happens when we grow older—through sunlight, smoking, pollution, or stress—adds up." All of it damages our skin. And we go through different phases in our life and different stresses in our life." Menopause is a crucial factor, the rapid hormonal changes drastically affecting women's bodies, especially skin. And it affects men too. "Men's skin is typically thicker than women," explains Dr. Bijlani. "So it doesn't usually look so saggy. They do go through menopause [although not as drastically as women]. Their hormone fluctuation is not as prominent; hence, their aging is more gradual." Biology aside, the toll on women's skin is more from the way her wrinkles and loss of collagen are perceived.
Most treatments and skincare in your 50s are designed to fight what age is robbing you of—cell turnover. In-clinic treatments also usually involve a mix of technologies, including lasers and peels that tighten and brighten. Popular treatments include Ulthera, Morpheus 8, Picosure, Vampire Facials, injectable collagen-like Profhilo, or skin boosters like threads, fillers, and Botox. "You could also break it down into invasive and non-invasive treatments," says Dr Bijlani. "Under non-invasive, you can talk about all the machines, radio frequency therapy, ultrasound, and lasers. A machine-led procedure like Morpheus 8, Ultherapy, Thermage, HIFU, Q-switched laser, and many more."
It's science but not rocket science. Use sunscreen. Protect your skin. "If you don't want to use too many things, invest in one or two. Use a Vitamin C serum during the day, followed by sunscreen. Remember that sunscreen just lasts for three hours. So reapply. Use a simple non-dehydrating face wash and a night cream. Now in the night cream, the one thing that is proven to help with collagen production is a retinoid. I will use a retinoid followed by a moisturiser because my skin does get dry, and oil production reduces. Anything with peptides or ceramides, or hyaluronic acid is good. I recommend exfoliation of the skin because there's a lot of accumulation of dead skin as we get older. Follow with a hydrating mask," advises Dr. Bijlani.
Your main takeaway from this should be—don't take your skin for granted. Like any internal organ, it needs attention and care, even more so as you age. How you want to address that is up to you. "Introduce raw or stir-fried or boiled vegetables. Cut down excessive fried, oily, sugary foods because your metabolism slows down." And accept. That life changes. And you along with it. And it's not always a bad thing.
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