If you’ve seen even one picture of Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That, you’ll know that Carrie Bradshaw has been taking care of her skin since the last time we saw her. Now in her 50s, Carrie—and indeed Parker—has that same glow she’s always enjoyed. But how? As we age, our skin changes, from depleting levels of collagen and elasticity to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. So what does the perfect skincare routine for fifty-something women look like? Vogue asks the experts below.
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What happens to women’s skin as we age?
Regardless of how you feel about getting older, ageing is inevitable. And while there is certainly something beautiful about seeing the marks of a life well lived etched across our faces, there is also a lot to be said for looking after our skin as we age—to maintain its health and support its functions.
“Ageing is a complex biological function that affects all organ systems of the body,” says Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at 55 Harley Street. In terms of our skin, our body’s largest organ, its impact can manifest in dryness, pigmentation, fine lines and deep wrinkles, as well as redness, thin skin or the development of benign and cancerous skin growths. This is down to two things: a decline in the number and activity of skin cells, and lowering levels of oestrogen—which is of course a symptom of the menopause.
“Oestrogen is essential for skin hydration as it improves oil production, increases water retention of skin cells, and improves the skin’s barrier function,” says Mahto. “Low oestrogen will result in thinning of the skin due to a loss of collagen, delayed wound healing, and reduced skin immune surveillance, resulting in the development of skin lesions, redness and sensitivity.”
How should women over 50 be taking care of their skin?
While the effects of ageing are inevitable, there are products, treatments and holistic practices that women can adopt to support their skin’s health and function.
The best products and ingredients for women over 50
One of the most common causes of ageing is sun damage and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Which is why, when it comes to protecting your skin, the most important thing you can do is wear sun protection.
“A daily broad-spectrum sunscreen to reduce the risk of further skin ageing and development of skin cancer is key during the day,” says Mahto. Look for products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays and have an SPF of over 30 (even in the winter months), and higher if you’re planning outside activities such as gardening or swimming. If you’re staying indoors, applying sunscreen as part of your morning routine should suffice, topping up if you go outside. If you’re remaining outside you should reapply frequently.