It’s impossible to walk down a supermarket aisle or into a department store without being bombarded with skin care products that promise to get rid of wrinkles, make you look younger and improve your physical appearance. The tricky part is figuring out which products and ingredients really work and which ones are simply ‘hope in a jar’.
Starts at 60 is looking at which beauty products are essential for healthy skin and the ingredients to choose that really can reverse the signs of ageing and give people a healthy glow. Of course, there are also ingredients that won’t do the skin any favours and we’ll be looking at those as well.
While it’s rare for sunscreen to be marketed as an age-defying agent, broad-spectrum sunscreens are a great option to protect and repair the skin. It’s beneficial because it protects the skin’s collagen and reduces the risk of developing skin cancers and pre-cancerous sunspots – both which can make a person look older.
Sunscreen should be applied daily and whenever people are spending time in the sun. Of course, hats, shirts and other protection need to be considered if spending prolonged time outdoors.
It’s not a very catchy name, but DNA repair enzymes are also important in protecting and repairing the skin and have become somewhat of a trend in the cosmetic world. DNA repair enzymes may appear under their scientific names on the label and you may be more familiar with names such as Arabidopsis Thaliana, Plankton Extract and Micrococcus Lysate.
Meanwhile, antioxidants are also important because in addition to their repairing and protecting functions, they can also stimulate production of collagen. Look for things such as Resveratrol – which can prevent UV damage, protect and stimulate collagen and help prevent pigmentation, while liquorice root extract is also useful when it comes to skin pigmentation.
Vitamin C ascorbic acids are another option, but there is a risk that it can cause irritation in some people. Meanwhile, Vitamin A and products that contain alpha and polyhydric acids can improve texture and the appearance of wrinkles.
Katherine Armour, consultant dermatologist with the Australasian College of Dermatologists, previously told Starts at 60 that products claiming to be infused with fruit and other scents may be a good moisturiser, but will do very little to actually protect the skin.
She also warned that products claiming to contain stem cells are often dubious and said: “Anything that basically says it contains apple stem cells or fruit stem cells, that’s just rubbish. Stem cells can not survive in a jar. You’re wasting your time there.”
Also be aware that certain oils such as Cornelius or rosehip do have low-level antioxidant action, but they’re only effective if they are delivered in appropriate concentrations. Meanwhile, products with fragrances may irritate the skin, while preservatives such as parabens and methylisothiazolinone – which may be found in a variety of skincare products, body washes, shampoos and wipes – may cause contact dermatitis.
Moisturising is important after taking a shower or bath because it locks in water content and keeps the skin hydrated. Without moisturising, it’s easy for the skin to become dry, irritated and itchy and if it cracks or becomes damaged, leaves a person open to infection.
Try to pick fragrance-free options but know that moisturiser is going to have the same impact whether it’s cheaper or from a more expensive brand. It just needs to be something that locks moisture into the skin to keep it hydrated throughout the day.
It’s not uncommon for people to use regular soap to wash their face and body but because many contain compounds that make them foam, they can damage the skin barrier, cause skin to dry out and increases the risk of pollution, dust, bugs and dander entering the skin.
It’s also important to avoid cleansers that foam because they also contain similar ingredients to soap that can damage the skin’s barrier and increase the risk of inflammation. Where possible, opt for soap-free body washes and rinse-off cleanses to protect the skin.