Good skin care is always important, and especially so once we reach 50 and beyond. One of the many ways in which you can start caring for yourself is by taking care of your skin. You know it’s the largest organ in the body, right? If you've never really taken care of your skin, now is the time to start.
As we enter mid-life, our skin tends to become drier; our estrogen levels drop, fat deposits are redistributed (causing sagging and wrinkling), hyper-pigmentation/age spots appear, we are more prone to sun damage, and our skin may become flaky. Besides the physical changes caused by menopause, the dryness is exacerbated by air-conditioning and central heating, pollution, alcohol, smoking, and the sun.
Cleansing and moisturizing are the basic necessities of healthy looking-skin at any age, but assume greater importance for us now. Unfortunately there are many women who have never cleansed and moisturized properly ... it starts showing in menopause!
Cleanse your skin morning and night using a creamy cleanser, followed by a toner, which is the second part of the cleansing process. Avoid using soap, which dries the skin, and even water, which contains a lot of chemicals, is not good for your skin, teeth or hair. In fact, find an oil that isn't washed away by water, massage it into your skin before you take a shower or bath, and pat yourself dry. This will keep the water and its harsh chemicals off your skin.
Remove eye make-up by soaking a cotton ball in a non-oily eye make-up remover and just hold it over the eye. Don’t rub ... the skin around the eye is very delicate and should never be pulled or rubbed.
After you've cleansed your face, apply a moisturizer to your face, neck and upper chest. If you have just showered or bathed, apply moisturizer to body as well.
It’s impossible to exaggerate the effects of the sun on your skin; face and body. Invest in a good facial moisturizer that contains 30+ SPF for the day and a body moisturizer that also contains a high SPF factor. You may need to sample a few before you find something that works well on your skin. Don’t be fooled by marketing tactics ... good does not always equal expensive.
Body and facial scrubs exfoliate the skin and remove old dead cells, which allows the fresh young layers to surface. We need lots of that! When you exfoliate your skin, it also allows better absorption of moisturizers and helps combat alligator-skin.
Spend just one evening every week in the bathroom. Lock the door and ignore everyone. Give yourself a body scrub and then soak in a tub of water with oils; pat yourself dry and moisturize your entire body with a heavy duty product designed for dry skin. While you’re at it, treat your hair to a re-vitalizing pack and burn some lovely candles.
On the subject of moisturizers, I have discovered you cannot go past Coconut Oil. If you haven’t discovered it yet, start to explore its benefits. You can use it as a moisturizer for your face and body; it’s wonderful as a hair treatment; it will whiten your teeth; it contains natural antibiotic properties; and you can cook with it too! No cholesterol; it is one of nature’s star products ... you can source it at your local health food store.
Among other pursuits, Penelope Whiteley is author of the book "Hot Stuff: the Ultimate Guide to Style for Women of a Certain Age," has her own fashion line and speaks on various topics to audiences around the world. You can find out more about her at www.penelopewhiteley.com/ or www.glamourbasics.co.uk/.