As we age, our skin endures many changes. Different life events, like pregnancy and menopause, can cause hormones to fluctuate and can produce a noticeable change to your complexion. No matter your age or stage in life, it’s vital to know your skin type in order to practice the most effective skincare.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), we have influence over extrinsic aging when it comes to our skin. Environmental and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. The AAD recommends taking preventative actions like protecting ourselves from sunlight, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding things like smoking can have a profound effect in preventing aging with our skin.
While it may not be possible to literally change skin types, per se, our skin itself does change and adapt over time. Let’s explore some of these environmental and internal changes, and the way your skin can be affected as we grow older.
What Determines Our Skin Type?
The AAD uses the following criteria to help us determine or better narrow down what type of skin we have.
Simple Genetics – The biggest one is your genes, which decide how dry/oily or sensitive your skin will be.
Climate – Relocating to a new environment can change your skin type.
Hormones – Our hormones fluctuate at different times in our lives which can affect our skin’s behavior.
Medications – Your Rx might cause your skin to become drier or more sensitive as a side effect.
Diet/Allergies – Your daily noshes can definitely affect your skin for better or for worse. Talk to your doctor if you think a food allergy might be the source of your skin woes.
Skin Care – Using the wrong formula for your skin type can throw off your skin’s balance.
The Havoc of Hormones
Ask any woman about her hormones, and there is little doubt you’ll find one who hasn’t felt the effects of them in multiple ways. Our complexions in particular, however, usually fall victim to hormone-related fluctuations and imbalances.
The ‘glow’ of pregnancy can be attributed to the production of estrogen and progesterone, which can give skin a healthy look. Some women find the opposite to be true. It really just depends on your overall skin type.
The Dermal Institute attributes increased female life expectancy as one reason why hormones are having a more drastic effect on our skin as we age. Since more women are living in a hormone-deprived state (post-menopause) longer than ever before, developing proper skincare habits is becoming increasingly important.
Depending on the phase of life you find yourself in, sensitive skin may be prone to hormonal breakouts, while dry skin may see an increase in cracks and dry patches. Menopause causes a decrease in estrogen and sebum, which makes your skin more susceptible to dryness.
Environmental Effects of Aging
A variety of environmental factors can have an effect on your skin. Exposure to chemicals, oils, and other materials can cause tissue to break down over time, or fluid to build up within your skin. Skin pigments also tend to change as we get older, showing up in the form of melasma or sun spots.
Physical factors, like the weather or extreme temperatures, also play a part in how our skin may change as we age. Long-term exposure to humid climates can cause buildup and irritation from sweat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, dry air or cold air can cause dry patches, irritation, and flaky skin and hair.
The National Institute of Health uses examples of dermatitis, acne, depigmentation, connective tissue disease, and even skin cancer as prime examples of skin conditions that occur due to varying environmental influences like sunlight, chemicals, and toxins.
Environmental factors cannot intrinsically change our natural skin type, but they certainly play a part in how our skin adapts or shows signs of aging over time.
As early as our thirties, noticeable changes start to happen with our skin and continue on through our forties, fifties, and so on. You may notice your skin getting drier or duller in pigment – this is due to the slowing growth of new cell production.
The tone of our skin changes due to the weakening of the elastic support from our lymph glands, which is also responsible for flushing out toxins.. This can cause puffiness around the eyes and a duller complexion overall.
Prolonged sun exposure during our younger years can have a huge effect on our skin in our later years. In addition to a variety of negative effects sun damage has on our skin, it can also cause our skin to take on a grey or yellow pallor. Uneven skin tone and blotchiness can increase with age due to sun exposure.
Preventative Aging Solutions For Your Skin, No Matter The Type
Diet – A healthy, balanced diet (everything in moderation!) can go a long way when it comes to keeping your skin calm, clear, and in check no matter your skin type or age.
Exercise – Anything that promotes healthy circulation also keeps your skin healthy and vibrant! Increasing blood flow also keeps skin cells nourished.
Sunscreen – This is a no-brainer. Sun exposure can not only cause skin cancer and sun spots, but it can dry out your skin and accelerate the aging process with fine lines and wrinkles, If you want to enjoy the sun, use SPF.
Hydration – Water is vital to keeping your body functioning and thriving, and this goes for your skin too. Drink up and reap the benefits of healthy, naturally moisturized skin!
Products – There is no “one size fits all” product for every type of skin. Find what works for you, and most importantly, what works with your skin type.
Sleep – Now who could argue against sleep? I know it’s not always possible to get a full 8-9 hours for most adults with jobs and families. But rest as much as you can, as often as you can, and your skin will thank you.
Products To Protect And Prevent
Alana Mitchell Foaming Pumpkin Cleanser
Perfect for all ages and skin types.
Dermaquest Radiant Skin Oil
For combating dry skin.
Eminence Organics Red Currant Balancing Concentrate
To help keep combination skin balanced and refreshed.
Rhonda Allison Sensitive Skincare System
The perfect full skincare line for sensitive skin and those with rosacea.
Image Skincare Prevention + Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
Receive the dual effects of prevention and protection from sun and aging.
Perhaps our skin “type” won’t completely change as we age, but our skin overall will experience many changes with each new decade of life. It’s important we take good care of it with preventative measures and products. We owe it to our skin for sticking with us through the years! 😉
No matter what type of skin you have, and no matter what age bracket you’re in, make sure you’re using the products that will offer your skin the most benefits!