The process of aging is both natural and constant, but the further you get into your life's journey, the more care your skin requires. Aging skin in people over 50 simply has different needs at certain times throughout the year, and your winter skin care routine should reflect that.
Regardless of the season, mature skin experiences a decline in collagen, elasticity, and moisture. This makes the signs of aging—fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and dryness—more noticeable. Your skin also becomes thinner and more fragile with age.
During the winter months, it's wise to be strategic in your skin care to protect delicate skin from the elements. A winter routine for aging skin should be focused on moisture retention, sun protection, and skin barrier support.
How Winter Affects Aging Skin
During the winter, your skin faces extremely cold temperatures, low humidity levels, icy winds, and dry central heating, in addition to the effects of regular sun exposure, air pollution, and more. So, you may find that your skin requires a little more TLC during these months.
Dry skin in the winter is very common for people of all ages, but especially for those over 50. This is because your skin's natural oils decline with age, and getting enough vitamin D in the winter can be challenging. A lack of vitamin D can weaken the immune system, which can negatively affect your skin barrier, the body's first line of defense.
The sun is still present in the winter, despite common misconceptions that the sun is only a problem in the warmer months. Snow (and other reflective surfaces, like ice) can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. As a result, the sun's rays can actually hit you twice.
Winter Skin Care Tips for Mature Skin
Although all skin needs to be protected in the winter, mature skin is in a more delicate state. So, a thorough winter skin care routine is especially important and impactful for aging skin. Consider the following tips.
1. Make Moisturizing a Must
The purpose of a moisturizer is to increase the moisture in your skin and lock it in. A moisturizer is an emulsion of water, oil, and active ingredients. The water hydrates your skin, making it plump, while the oils moisturize your skin, keeping it soft. Seeing as mature skin can deal with texture issues like roughness and flakiness, a moisturizer can help soften these areas.
Moisturizing is essential year-round, but it's so crucial in the winter. The colder seasons can be dehydrating, and a good moisturizer defends against the drying, freezing weather. The active ingredients in your moisturizer can target specific skin concerns. For example, a hyaluronic acid moisturizer, such as the EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, helps skin retain moisture by attracting water molecules. Other ingredients to look for include emollients like dimethicone, which soothes and smoothes skin.
2. Seek Collagen-Promoting Ingredients
Collagen is a protein in the skin that prevents sagging. Think of the plump, bouncy look and feel of babies' skin. Collagen is highest in infant skin and over time, the production of collagen declines. As you mature, the loss of collagen is evident in skin that begins to sag, loses its elasticity, and develops fine lines and wrinkles.
While you can't stop the decline of collagen, you can support it with the right skin care products. Ingredients that support synthesis include vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides, amino acids, and ceramides. Use toners, serums, and moisturizers that contain these ingredients to preserve the collagen in your skin and support collagen synthesis.
3. Wear Sunscreen, Even When It's Chilly
When it's cloudy or snowing, you may think you can skip the sunscreen. However, it's especially important to wear sunscreen on those kinds of days. Both clouds and snow reflect sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn or sun damage, which can lead to skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is prevalent in older adults, and part of the cause can be attributed to the lack of proper sun protection. So, start a proper sun care routine now, and make it part of your daily ritual.
The EltaMD UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is a daily face sunscreen that can protect against sun exposure when used properly. It's suitable for those with mature skin seeing as it also contains active ingredients to minimize the appearance of dark spots, protect against skin-damaging free radicals, and improve skin texture.
4. Encourage Skin Barrier and Skin Cell Repair
Your skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin—it's the skin you can see and touch, and it's what interacts with the environment around you. It acts as a shield, keeping external threats at bay and sealing in moisture, so your skin barrier health is important. A healthy skin barrier looks soft and supple, and a compromised skin barrier appears dry, dull, and brittle.
Some parameters of skin barrier function decrease with age. Production of sebum—the oil secreted by your sebaceous glands—decreases significantly, and hydration levels vary slightly with age, according to research in the International Journal of Cosmetic Scientists.
A proper skin care routine and targeted products can support skin barrier health and even repair existing damage to the skin barrier. The EltaMD Skin Recovery System is a simple three-step regimen formulated with amino acids, squalane, and other ingredients to reduce redness, encourage a healthy pH balance, and support skin barrier function.
5. Maintain Healthy Habits
To support aging skin in the winter, start healthy habits now. Wear sunscreen, keep your skin moisturized, drink water throughout the day, and meet your nutritional needs with vitamins and nutrient-rich foods. Maintaining these healthy habits is essential for your overall health and will keep your skin glowing through all seasons of life.