As you age, your skin is more prone to becoming dry. Dry skin can cause fine lines, flaky and itchy skin, and skin tightness. But, you can keep time on your side with these few simple and smart strategies.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
Most moisturisers – whether lotions, creams, oils or ointments – help to trap moisture and keep your skin supple. The benefit of moisturising, however, also depends on when and how you do it.
For best results, apply moisturiser daily, two to three minutes after having a shower or bath. First, gently pat your skin dry (don’t rub), leaving it a little damp, then smooth on your moisturiser.
If you have sensitive skin, choose a dermatologist-approved, low-allergy moisturiser.
Get vitamin A-ed
Vitamin A helps to fight against dry, prematurely ageing skin. Creams enhanced with vitamin A – or vitamin A derivatives, such as retinoids – can help to prevent wrinkles.
Retinoids (e.g. retinol, differin, and Retin A) are added to some moisturises (typically for the face) to help slow the breakdown of collagen in skin. Collagen helps to keep the skin firm, elastic and looking youthful.
Ramp up the antioxidants
Damage by free radicals (damaged cells that can be problematic) is one factor that can lead to signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and dry skin. Antioxidants may prevent this damage.
Antioxidants are found in all types of good foods – especially vibrant-coloured fruits and vegetables such as tangerines, sweet potatoes, papayas, capsicums, citrus fruits, berries, cherries, spinach, olives and grapes – as well as in tinned tuna in oil, cooked beef, wholemeal pasta, green tea and sardines.
Also, vitamins C and E, selenium and coenzyme Q10 are powerhouse antioxidants that can help keep your skin healthy. However, always speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.
Eat healthy oils
Including healthy oils that contain essential fatty acids – such as omega-3s and omega-6s – in your diet will help to replenish your skin’s natural protective oils. Olive oil, salmon, mackerel, walnuts and avocado are all good choices.
Wash your skin smartly
If you’re eager to have supple skin, then you may need to make long, hot showers a thing of the past. Instead, go for shorter, warm showers, which, unlike longer showers, don’t strip your skin of its natural oils.
Also, consider using non-scented, soap-free cleansers – they help to maintain your skin’s vital oil barrier – as well as washing only the spots that you really need to, such as the armpits, groin, face and back. A simple water-wash is all you usually need for the rest of your body.
If your skin is very dry, consider using exfoliants and loofas sparingly, or not at all.
Slip, slop, slap, slide, seek
Sun damage not only speeds the ageing process and causes dry skin, but can also lead to spider veins, age spots, wrinkles and melanomas (skin cancer).
So, as a preventative measure, when under the hot Aussie sun, slip on clothing, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat and slide on a pair of sunnies – and seek shade.
Make sure you choose Cancer Council-approved sunglasses and broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen (at least SPF 30+).
If you still have dry skin after following these measures, seek help from your doctor or a dermatologist. And if you have any tried-and-proven tips of your own, why not share them with our members in the comments below?