As a host beauty editor for On Magazine, Dr. Fiona Wright has published a series of Q & A articles in response to emailed questions, sometimes with collaborations by other medical colleagues in her network. She would now like to share the information with everyone!
Q: I am 52 and have noticed a change in my skin. It is more dry and dull. What would be some simple steps to help improve it?
-K. Blackwell, Plano, TX
A: As we age our skin will experience the problems of moisture loss, decreasing production of sebum, and the loss of collagen and elasticity. This often will result in a dry, dull and yellowish complexion. We also begin to see deeper facial lines, loose skin and enlarged pores on our cheeks and chin.
Dry and mature skin needs replenishment of low moisture reserves. Replenishing the loss of sebum on the skin’s surface with equalizing humectants, hydrators (panthenol, urea, hyaluronic acid, glycerin) with barrier occlusive moisturizers (oils, ceramides, dimethicone) will aid dryness and restore suppleness. You can find these ingredients in creams, gels, and washes. Also, drinking ample water daily keeps the skin cleansed and well hydrated from the inside.
Moisturizers alone, however, cannot repair damaged cells or restore collagen and elasticity. Within five years after menopause, women will lose 20 percent of their facial collagen, with 15 percent lost in the first two years. Using an exfoliating wash (Aveeno, Clean/Clear, Newport) can assist the cell renewal process. To restore cell vitality, idebenone has strong studies to support its success; you can purchase idebenone as Prevage MD (1 percent) through a physician or Prevage (1/2 percent) at department stores. The next necessity to combat the signs of aging is to use SPF 30 sunscreen daily.
Finally, to stimulate collagen and elasticity, a cornucopia of anti-aging products exists. The most promising products create a blend with bio-engineered proteins (peptides) derived from animal and plant collagen, with botanical therapies (soy, green tea, red marine algae, beta glucan). When choosing a cosmetic product, check the labels, and remember, ingredients are listed from the highest concentration to the lowest.
-Fiona Wright M.D.