Some dermatologists feel that the skin of people over forty should be treated differently, they say “mature skin” is a type in and of itself. I believe all adults have “mature” skin, and all of my products and the alternatives I suggest are for people of every age. However, women’s skin is affected by the shifting balance of hormones just prior to, during, and after menopause.
Women who never had breakouts in their lives may find they now get pimples, as they have less estrogen to suppress the sebum-stimulating androgen circulating in their bodies. For the same reason, they may have more facial hair and they may perspire more. Also, because the skin change so much with age, women past menopause may have more visible sun damage, such as brown spots and fine, dilated blood vessels, and increasingly sensitive skin. In fact, older women need to be even more watchful of the sun and weather extremes, such as cold and wind.
Not all aging is created equal—because not all aging is created by the same factors. There are three distinct kinds of aging:
- Genetic and
Each type of aging calls for a different targeted treatment plan to slow down and reverse its visible signs of aging. Take this short quiz to determine which type of aging your skin is experiencing and find out how to create a treatment program that’s just right for you.
Three Faces of Aging Quiz
Q: What is your primary skin concern?
A. Medium-to-deep wrinkles
B. Fine lines and wrinkles
C. Hyperpigmentation / hypopigmentation
Q: What is your secondary skin concern?
A. Dry, thinning skin
B. Sagging / Loss of firmness
C. Rough, dry texture
Q: Which of these signs of aging are most visible on your skin?
A. Breakouts in the t-zone
B. Deep wrinkles
C. Sun damage
Q: What concerns you most about the skin around your eye area?
A. Sensitivity and dryness
B. Medium-to-deep crow’s feet and wrinkles
C. Dark circles and/or age spots
Q: Which most closely describes you?
A. I’m currently going through menopause
B. I’m showing the same signs of age my parents did
C. I’ve always led an active outdoor lifestyle
If you answered mostly A…
You are likely undergoing Hormonal Aging. This type of aging occurs as the cumulative effect of declining levels of estrogen becomes visible on the skin. Estrogen naturally stimulates production of the collagen and elastin fibers that give skin a plump, youthful texture. As estrogen levels decline, skin becomes thinner and more fragile. It can also lose firmness, elasticity and even its natural ability to stay hydrated.
If you are experiencing Hormonal Aging, you can increase your skin’s firmness and reduce the appearance of medium-to-deep wrinkles by treating the signs of the hormonal-aging process by following Dr. Murad’s Inclusive Health® program to help you focus on:
Looking Better: Use products that deeply hydrate and exfoliate to support natural cell renewal. Look for ingredients like phytoestrogens, AHAs and Shea Butter.
Living Better: Incorporate foods into your diet like soy, wild yam and broccoli, which are naturally rich in phytoestrogens (botanicals that have similar characteristics to estrogens).
Feeling Better: Sleeplessness commonly accompanies menopause and hormonal aging. Take a hot bath before bed, turn off your phone an hour before you go to sleep and take a melatonin supplement.
If you answered mostly B…
You are likely to be experiencing Genetic Aging. Genetic Aging would occur even if you slept in a pure oxygen tank, avoided smiling to defy laugh lines or Botoxed regularly. If your parents aged well, chances are you will too. Some of the best ways to combat genetically aging skin are to practice a daily skincare regimen with exfoliants, moisturizers and Vitamin C, wear SPF, take dietary supplements and target specific problem areas.
As with Hormonal Aging, Inclusive Health gives you great guidance for developing a lifestyle-based treatment program focused on:
Looking Better: Use products that contain Hyaluronic Acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines, osmolytes to support water balance and Dried Plum Extract for a youthful glow.
Living Better: Increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables, which will help your skin and body stay hydrated longer than just drinking water. Take a supplement that contains Glucosamine and amino acids to support healthy collagen production.
Feeling Better: Get a massage to help improve skin circulation, increase your energy levels and help quiet your mind.
If you answered mostly C…
You are likely to be experiencing Environmental Aging. This type of aging is usually the result of the cumulative impact of factors in your environment and lifestyle—like sun, smog and smoking—that assault your skin. Redness, dryness, thinning skin, sagging, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation are typical signs of Environmental Aging. Luckily, this type of aging can be controlled to some degree by reducing excessive sun exposure, pollution, smoking, stress, poor diet and alcohol and drug intake.
The good news is that the effects of Environmental Aging can be minimized through both preventative actions and treatments that result in younger-looking skin that’s protected against future damage.
To repair and prevent Environmental Aging, focus on these three areas:
Looking Better: Use products that contain Vitamin C and always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, remembering to reapply it every hour when you are outdoors.
Living Better: Studies suggest that eating pomegranates, drinking pure pomegranate juice and taking pomegranate extract supplements are all great ways to boost the effectiveness of sunscreens as well as provide a rich supply of antioxidants for your skin and body.
Feeling Better: Get a Vitamin C facial or peel. This will have an immediate brightening effect to help reduce sun and environmental damage on the skin, as well as help you to relax and feel good about your appearance, which reduces cell-damaging stress.
By focusing on the three broad aspects of Inclusive Health, Looking Better (paying attention to the health of your skin), Living Better (paying attention to what you put in your body) and Feeling Better (paying attention to your sense-of-self), no matter which type of aging you are experiencing, can make your skin look and feel BETTER EVERY DAY.
|Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.|