The importance of skincare with aging

One of the most visible signs of aging is the skin, as it becomes dry, saggy and wrinkly. This might cause some cosmetic concerns, which are arguably not such a problem. But it could also have other repercussions with greater risk of skin conditions and related problems.

So even if you’ve embraced aging gracefully, it’s wise to take good care of this vital asset.


Skin conditions and microbes

“More than skin deep” applies to the skin itself. The biggest organ in the body, the skin is complex and plays many important roles. “It’s very complicated because it’s both a barrier to keep the outside in and the inside out,” says dermatology expert, Professor Saxon Smith. “But it in itself is also very active too and has lots of immune components.”

As well having a sensory role, this multi-layered organ helps regulate body temperature, stores water and fat, prevents water loss and makes vitamin D from sun exposure. It also has its own microbiome, housing about a trillion bacteria that help educate the immune system and protect the body from foreign invaders.

To assist the first line of defence, the microbes help the skin produce sebum, an oily substance that helps it retain moisture and ward off infection. If this is compromised, the skin can become dry and cracked, making it – and the body – susceptible to pathogens.

Some normal signs of aging skin include thinning, sagging, wrinkles, age spots, broken blood vessels and dryness, which could exacerbate skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Older adults can become more prone to pressure injury and skin tears when bed ridden. Unhealthy conditions that become more likely with age include benign skin tumours, inflammation and scaly skin that could be precursors to skin cancer.


Looking after your skin

Some basic steps to maintain healthy skin include moisturising regularly, avoiding prolonged, hot showers and excessive sun exposure, and not smoking. It’s also important to avoid irritants such as chlorinated water, perfumed soaps and laundry powders containing strong chemicals.

As well as drying effects, many deodorants, antiperspirants, soaps, body washes, shampoos and cosmetic products contain antimicrobial ingredients that kill off good skin bacteria. Frequent hand washing, hand sanitisers and face masks have also taken their toll, leading to increased skin problems.

So, using soap-free washes and products that don’t contain harsh chemicals is very important. Perhaps less obvious approaches include a nutritious diet. Foods containing healthy fats and nutrients such as vitamins C, E and A, omega-3s, minerals, proteins and collagen all support healthy skin.

Healthy diet and nutrition support resilient skin in another way as well. There is a growing appreciation for links between the gut microbiome and the skin microbiome, and many people with gut disorders also have skin diseases. A healthy gut microbiome can be nurtured through a diet high in nutritious, fibrous plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.

This all adds to the multitude of ripple effects that can be enjoyed with aging by embracing clean, healthy living.




Nutritional Skincare: Beautiful Skin Starts with Your Diet

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