Beauty beyond 50: Your guide to embracing balanced beauty in your 50’s

Ageing isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, as I head towards the big 5 0 myself, I am realising that trying to constantly pursue looking like a much younger version of myself is both exhausting and unrealistic.  

Don’t get me wrong… I am not about to turn my back on beauty.  Am I still going to sneak in to see my cosmetic injector for a little ‘Bo-Bo’ every 4 months… absolutely!  Am I ready to give up colouring my hair and embrace my silver foxyness?... ummm, not quite yet.  But, while I’m not about to let myself go 50-a-la-naturale, I have come to the understanding that beauty in my 50s is going to be all about balance.  

A recent online article on beauty website Byrdie highlights how women in their 50’s and above view and philosophise about beauty and how they wish the rest of society would understand it.  Quotes like, “Understand that we don’t want to look like we wish we were 30… let us be 50 and fabulous… we’ve earned that right”,  really resonated with me and, not unlike the bra-burning women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, for a split second I imagined myself ripping off my suffocating shape-ware and running around the office screaming… “You may take my youth…but you’ll never take my freeeeedohmm!”

It’s true, “In an ideal world, the young would see the lines and ageing on someone’s face as a marker of the life they’ve been lucky to live” (https://www.byrdie.com/women-over-50-beauty), we all would.  But society has conditioned us to believe that beauty is only faithful to youth... and although fundamentally we know that is not true; as our appearance ages, it can be challenging to see our beauty beyond those physical changes. 

For you, I hope the takeaway from this blog on embracing a balanced approach to beauty in your 50s is to consider that perhaps, being 50something shouldn’t be concealed, stifled or stuffed into constrictive garments, but instead celebrated with gentle self-care and a realisation that what makes you truly beautiful is the blended sum of all the parts of you… not just the ones you see reflected in the mirror.

 

What happens to our skin in our 50s?   

In order to know how to adopt a gentle, balanced approach to beautiful skin in your 50s, it’s important to firstly understand the changes your skin will go through during this time.  I’m talking Menopause.  Although menopause can also start in your 40s; in Australia the average age of menopause is 51 (https://www.menopause.org.au/health-info/fact-sheets) with most women experiencing menopausal symptoms for 5-10 years!

Some of these symptoms are well known, like changes in your menstrual periods and hot flushes or night sweats but the same hormonal changes and decline that affects your internal body will also affect your skin.

During menopause, declining estrogen levels cause all kinds of functional changes in the skin.  From the loss of supportive fat on the face, neck, hands and arms causing the skin to sag and facial folds to appear, to a decline in collagen and elastin production affecting wound repair and the skin’s resilience to environmental aggressors like UV radiation.  A reduction in blood flow through capillaries means that fewer nutrients and oxygen are available to the epidermis, slowing down the skin’s metabolism (the rate at which skin cells turn over) and causing the surface of the skin to become thin and no longer efficient at holding in moisture. In short, during and after menopause, your skin is likely to be thinner, dryer and slower to heal, making it more prone to sun damage, age spots, bruising and tearing.  

How can gentle self-care support my changing skin?

Menopause is unavoidable but the good news is that the earlier you adopt a preventative approach the better your skin will fair in the long run and, if you are getting in a little late… don’t worry... there are various things you can do to reverse any damage.  Here are some suggestions:

Speed up your skin’s metabolism:  The health of our skin’s metabolism is a major factor in how our skin looks and feels.  The more efficiently your skin is producing new skin cells, moving them upwards towards the surface before shedding off, the brighter, smoother and healthier your skin will look.  

Consider adding an AHA component to your home care routine.  I love the AHA Power Exfoliant by Australian Skin Institute.  It's a potent cosmeceutical exfoliant which uses naturally active Glycolic and Lactic Acid combined with calming Chamomile. These ingredients, remove dead skin cells, encourage healthy skin cell formation and stimulate collagen and elastin but are delivered through a gentle and hydrating system so your skin will instantly feel soft and glowy.  Simply apply to the skin for a couple of minutes,  two or three times a week after cleansing then rinse and follow up with your usual moisturiser and sunblock.

Recharge your collagen & elastin production:  You can support the health and function of your skin by recharging your skin’s natural collagen and elastin production via skin needling treatments that you can do at home with a Dermal Roller device or as a professional in-clinic service.

I know it doesn’t sound ‘gentle’ but Skin-needling is not scary at all.  It’s a type of collagen induction therapy that actually stimulates new collagen to grow within the skin by tricking the skin into thinking it’s ‘injured’.  Unlike other skin treatments which replace lost collagen by way of injecting or infusing synthetic forms, Skin Needling forces your skin to produce its own, not only helping the skin stay strong, firm and plump but also improving the appearance of issues such as pigmentation, uneven texture and broken capillaries.  

Skin-needling also amplifies the effects of your topical skin care by allowing for better penetration of serums and moisturisers so that the active ingredients can reach the skin at a level where they are most needed.  You can read more about Dermal Rolling V’s Skin Needling in this blog.

Choose skincare with Peptides:  Our skin’s health and vitality literally depends on trillions of cell-to-cell communications, ensuring important functions like immune defence, injury repair and surface stability are carried out so that it is protected from the outside world.  For skin in it’s 50s and especially for menopausal skins,  this communication tends to get a little lax leading to a decline in the natural production of important compounds such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid… the holy trinity to a beautiful, healthy, glowy skin.

Peptides are one of the most exciting revolutions in skin care because they work by actually communicating with your skin cells and encouraging them to work efficiently.  Made up of short chains of amino acids, Peptides are the building blocks of proteins and have the ability to penetrate through the skin barrier, diving deep into your living skin cells and commanding them to regenerate collagen and other proteins such as elastin and hyaluronic acid. 

Be sure to use something like ASI’s Multi-Peptide Serum.  It’s formulated with Bio-Placenta; a plant based cosmeceutical that accelerates healing by increasing the rate of skin renewal and slowing down the thinning of the skin, and Pepha-Tight; a skin tightening shield that protects the skin against oxidative stress while working to strengthen the skin’s connective tissue.  Read my blog on Peptides here

Protect your skin from the sun:  In our 50s, our skin is more prone to sun damage.  Our thinner, dryer skin means that the protective film (acid mantle - made up of natural oils and amino acids) is compromised and unable to shield us from the effects of the sun as well as it once did.  The skin’s melanocytes; those little guys that give our skin colour are under the control of estrogen… with reduced estrogen levels in our 50s, the number of melanocytes in our skin degenerates, causing less pigment (colour) to be produced and making the skin more prone to sun damage.

Also, estrogen actually temper the amount of pigment the melanocytes produce.  At normal levels, estrogen keeps pigment under control.  In areas of the skin that, over a lifetime, have been exposed to UVA and UVB radiation, pigmented spots will develop because, with the decline in estrogen, there is now nothing to stabilise how much pigment a melanocyte can production… so what you end up with is lots of brown, irregular spots and blotches, we all know as ‘age-spots’.

The Daylight Defence 50+ offers both UVA & UVB protection in a nourishing and non-greasy formulation for face and body.  It’s quick dry application means it’s perfect for using underneath your make-up and it’s low irritant, water resistant formulation contains no parabens, oxybenzone, 4-methylbzylidene camphor or PABA so won’t irritate a thinner, delicate skin.

Wear your sunblock every day, without fail and be sure to have a professional skin check at least once a year to ensure any skin cancers are identified and treated.