Summer skin care is important for everyone but even more so for those of us 50 and older. As we age, our bodies change, including our skin. Our skin creates new cells much more slowly than before, and our skin gradually becomes less elastic. Our skin also grows thinner and due to hormonal changes and a decrease in oil, in our 50s our skin is typically drier and has less of a natural glow.
We can’t change the natural aging process, also called intrinsic aging. Yes, some people turn to surgical procedures to maintain a more youthful look, but in essence, our bodies must age naturally. Over time, our faces lose some of their youthful fullness and we all get visible lines. Our genes largely control when these changes occur.
Time in the sun, genetics, along with lifestyle choices such as poor diet, smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol, etc. all affect our skin as we get older. Some other factors like stress, gravity, and obesity also eventually take a toll on our skin. The good news is there are still things you can do to help your skin, especially during the heat and humidity of summer.
Natural Beauty Tips for Summer Skin Care
Extrinsic aging is a kind of premature aging caused by elements in the environment along with our lifestyle choices/ habits. This is something we have control over and can influence. If we take the right preventive actions, we can slow down the effects this type of aging has on our skin. For instance, protecting your skin from the sun allows it to repair some of the damage. When you stop smoking, you will notice that your skin looks healthier.
Here are a few summer skin care tips to keep your skin looking healthy as you age:
- Eat right and always remain hydrated. Good nutrition comprising plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging whereas a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can cause premature aging. Drinking lots of water helps hydrate the skin from the inside out.
- Stop smoking if you do. Studies have shown that smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It also causes wrinkles and a dull, pale complexion.
- Drink less alcohol or avoid it altogether. Alcohol dehydrates your skin, and over time, damages it leaving you looking older than you may actually be.
- Avoid repetitive facial expressions. Did you know that when you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles? If you repeatedly contract the same muscles over the years, these lines can become permanent. Wearing sunglasses especially while outside can help reduce lines caused by squinting.
- Exercise as often as you can to improve circulation and boost the immune system, ultimately giving your skin a more youthful appearance.
- Be gentle with your skin when cleaning it. Scrubbing can cause irritation and skin aging.
- Wash your face twice a day and also after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating or as soon as you remove your cap.
- Avoid skincare products that sting or burn. When your skin burns or stings, it means it is irritated and it may end up looking older. Some anti-aging products prescribed by a dermatologist may burn or sting, which might be okay if it is a prescription anti-aging product. However just to be sure, let your dermatologist know, especially if it persists.
- Apply self-tanner rather than sunbathing or going to a tanning salon. Every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin as all these processes expose your skin to harmful UV rays that accelerate your skin’s aging. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If you must be outside, consider wearing a protective hat, long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sunglasses. Exposure to the sun has been linked to freckles, blotchy complexions, and age spots.
- Always wear sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has at least 7% zinc oxide and an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours when you are outside, especially to exposed skin.
- Always use moisturizing soaps and lotions to keep your skin saturated. Moisturizers trap water in our skin, maintaining a more youthful appearance. Consider using a humidifier to soothe your dry skin. Should you have prolonged dry skin, seek a doctor’s advice.
- Keep checking your skin for danger signs of skin cancer. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any changes. Changes to watch out for include dark/brown splotches with lighter colored freckles, lesions with irregular edges with parts that are blue/red/pink/white, painful lesions that itch or burn, and moles that change color or feel, or are painful or bleed. When in doubt, call your doctor.