October 1 is the International Day of Older Persons.
Dr Dinyar Workingboxwalla, a renowned celebrity cosmetologist, shares some tips to keep matured skin healthy from his book ‘Beauty Unleashed: A Comprehensive Guide To Getting Perfect Skin And Hair’. Here’s an excerpt.
Forties, fifties and beyond: The changes
Let’s start with hormones. They are powerful chemical messengers that influence physiological functions and interact with other key body systems. Hormonal activity is very complex.
As our hormones fluctuate, our skin and skin type change. Significantly hormonal changes can occur during extreme stress, puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause.
Menopause brings many changes to a woman’s body, some of which are very visible. The stage when the ovaries shut down and reduce oestrogen and progesterone levels can come as early as your forties or as late as your fifties. During the menopausal years, your oil glands produce much less oils, even less than five years ago, making your entire body face and scalp drier and flakier. One starts to notice more facial hair, especially around the chin and cheeks, which is a reaction to an oestrogen drop during menopause. You may suffer from hair loss, too. You may notice an increase in body fat and a slowdown in your metabolism and you will also need fewer calories to maintain your weight. If you are healthy and active, which I hope you are, your appearance may also start to bother you, especially if you think you should look as young as you feel. You should continue all good skincare habits and make it second nature; bleach facial hair or remove hair with laser; get your skin treatments done regularly. Here are some ways to counteract menopause symptoms:
Excessive Dryness: As you lose oestrogen, you also lose some of the skin’s natural moisture and you need to find ways to add it back into the skin. The key here is to moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize. Use something that is rich and a little heavy on your face and your body. The flipside is that because your skin produces less oil along with less oestrogen, your acne breakouts may finally stop. You can also probably use products containing oil without fear of breakouts.
Dry Hair: As oestrogen drops, your entire body gets drier, including your hair. Use shampoos and conditioners that treat dry hair as gently as possible. Avoid chemical treatments such as straightening, colouring and perming, which can further weaken hair. If you colour your hair, switch over from permanent to semi-permanent dyes, which are less harmful to the hair shaft; semi-permanent dyes stain only the outside of the hair, while permanent dyes integrate into the hair shaft, rendering it weaker.
Thinner Skin: A drop in oestrogen levels thins your skin. Before menopause sets in, the oestrogen produced by your body causes skin to be plumper, thicker and moisturized. As oestrogen levels fall with the onset of menopause, it causes your skin to get flakier and drier. As this happens, make sure to hydrate yourself from within by drinking a lot of water. This will also help add moisture to parched skin. Exercise will help boost your circulation, which helps improve your skin.
Supplements: During menopause, bones become more brittle, muscles weaken; fight back with calcium supplements and exercise. Not only will this increase your physical strength, it will also boost your metabolism. Dietary supplements help to combat hormonal havoc, whether you are suffering from PMS, dealing with pregnancy or coming to terms with menopausal changes.
Vitamin B6: A daily dose of 50mg combined with other Bcomplex tablets has shown some positive results in helping to reduce water retention, headaches, hot flushes, mood swings, irritability and breast swelling and tenderness, all associated with hormonal fluctuations. Don’t take more than 100mg a day, as large doses give no extra relief and can prove toxic, causing numbness, tingling and possibly nerve damage.
Vitamin C: When you feel sick or stressed, it’s good to take 500-1000mg of Vitamin C a day.
Vitamin E: Like aspirin, Vitamin E can inhibit the production of prostaglandins during times of premenstrual swelling and sensitivity. Take 400 to 800IU of Vitamin E daily. Vitamin E capsules can also help to revive dry skin during menopause.
Iron: Eat foods rich in iron, like liver, broccoli, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, etc. It helps recover iron lost through periods. Take no more than 15-20mg of iron supplements.
Calcium: To avoid osteoporosis when you are older, please take 500mg of calcium with Vitamin D3 daily. I suggest you start taking it right from the age of thirty to thirty-five. For women over fifty, I would suggest 1,000mg of calcium daily and Vitamin D3.