Skin: it’s the biggest organ in (or on) your body, and it’s a great barometer of what’s going on on the inside. Because it is so intimately linked with practically every system in your body – digestive, reproductive, hormonal – it reflects your internal health back out into the world.
But what about sagging skin? Is that health-related or is it just aging? And what affects it?
Pregnancy Can Make Your Skin Glow
According to the data, more women in the 30 to 34 age group than any other age group get pregnant. One of the things that these women report are changes to their skin. Thanks to the production of extra oestrogen and progesterone, women say that their skin actually improves during this stage of life, thanks to the extra hormones going around their system.
….But Pregnancy Can Also Give You Spots
There’s a downside to pregnancy though: pregnancy acne. These aren’t spots in the traditional sense. Instead, they’re spots caused by the overgrowth of blood vessels under the skin caused by an excessive level of oestrogen in the body. Higher levels of oestrogen can make the skin appear tough and dry and can be compounded by the fact that the baby inside you is using up so many nutrients.
Want glowing, radiant skin throughout pregnancy? Choose a diet high in micronutrients and focus on foods containing minerals, folate and other B vitamins. You will also be more susceptible to UVA and UVB rays, so be careful in the sun and use sun protection cream.
Another significant change that occurs in your thirties and forties is the loss of collagen from the skin. When you were in your twenties, you could smile all you wanted and always knew that your face would spring back to its normal state. But as you got older, you noticed that those smile lines were hanging around for longer and that the skin just wasn’t bouncing back. This has to do with collagen.
Collagen is a natural bouncy substance found in large quantities in the skin of younger people. Pinch somebody in their twenties, and you’ll notice that their skin goes back to its original position immediately. As we get older, the collagen levels in our skin decline, which is one of the reasons why people start taking collagen supplements. The good news is that with the right diet and supplementation, you can hold back the years and keep your youthful skin for longer. No one can hold back time forever though, if only!
Sebum is the name of the oil-like substance that comes out of your pores to moisturise your skin. But the production of this waxy substance declines as we get older, leading to dry, crack-prone skin. During your forties, lower levels of oestrogen can cause the generation of sebum to pack up almost entirely. This is why it becomes so important to moisturise on a daily basis. You need to provide your skin with the moisture it needs to remain supple. Not moisturising regularly can lead to skin sagging around the neck and shoulders.
Smoking and ageing
If you smoke, you’re doing lots of damage under the surface to your skin and smoking kills off the collagen quicker, not to mention those smoke lines you get from dragging on a cigarette all the time. One more reason to give up, as if you needed any more!
Sun damage and ageing
Being exposed to sun damage over the years adds up, and it’s the one thing that contributes the most to ageing. Use a moisturiser with built in SPF and in your make up too. Even on a cloudy day and over winter, the sun is damaging your skin.
The bottom line is that age is always going to result in some changes to your skin. But there’s a lot that women can do to prevent skin from going south, especially in our thirties and forties.
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