What did your beauty routine look like in your twenties?
Taking care of your body, hair, and skin may look different as you age. With regard to your skin, you may notice sun spots, uneven texture, or dullness, and you may wonder what kind of skincare is appropriate for your mature skin. Is exfoliation something that should still be part of your skincare routine? Knowing how your skin changes as you age is important for making that decision.
How mature skin ages
The skin aging process depends on different factors, some controllable, some not. Various forces such as the sun and biological factors influence the process heavily.
The most common is age and other biological factors. When you hit menopause, you are bound to notice some unpleasant skin changes that you may want to address immediately. As you age, below are skin changes you will inevitably notice during menopause.
- The skin develops wrinkles. At this stage, your skin loses collagen, or it is at minimal production, leading to atrophy, or more skin cells dying.
- The skin becomes dry. Your skin thins at this stage, with the outer layer becoming less efficient at holding water. Your collagen levels depend on estrogen. Estrogens also work to encourage the oils that keep your skin nice and moist.
- The skin becomes dry and itchy. When the skin dries excessively, you can develop pruritis, which causes itching.
- Sweating can increase during menopause and is usually linked to hot flashes.
- Hair loss can be an unfortunate side effect of reduced estrogen and progesterone levels.
- Hair growth. Facial hair is a sign of menopause in women.
- Wound healing. You might experience a reduction in the efficiency of wound healing.
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the process of getting rid of dead cells from your skin’s outer layer using an exfoliant. There are different exfoliating methods for the skin.
Physical exfoliation. While physically exfoliating, you could use a skincare tool such as a sponge or towel to clear off the skin’s dead cells.
Chemical exfoliation. Alternatively, you could use a liquid, scrub, or gel with granules like sugar to smooth and refine your skin. Chemical exfoliation is also an option, where different acids and enzymes loosen the glue-like substance that binds the skin cells, so they are easily removable.
What are the different ways to exfoliate?
There are different tools and methods to assist in exfoliation for mature skin. As mentioned above, this includes physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.
- Exfoliating brush. This is a bristle brush intended to remove the layers of dead skin cells. They are designed either for dry brushing or for use with your body wash or facial cleanser.
- Exfoliating sponge. This is gentler than a brush. All you have to do is lather the sponge with warm water, body wash, or soap in the shower.
- Exfoliating scrub. This is applied directly to your skin in a gentle, circular motion and washed off with warm water to remove the residue.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). These include citric, tartaric, lactic, and glycolic acids. They function by dismantling the bonds holding the dull and dead skin cells on the skin surface. The process causes your skin to shed dead particles naturally.
AHAs are a group of plant and animal-derived acids utilized in different skincare products. They include anti-aging products, for instance, toners, serums, creams, and the occasional concentrated treatments through chemical peels.
Not all AHAs have equal exfoliating power. The exfoliation amount is determined by the AHA type you use. The more alpha-hydroxy acids found in a product, the more powerful the exfoliating effects.
- Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). These acids include salicylic and beta hydroxyl acids. BHAs are the better option for acne-prone skins.
Both AHAs and BHAs have similar benefits. Unlike AHAs, BHAs are oil-soluble and can get deeper into your skin to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells.
Benefits of exfoliation for mature skin
To understand if exfoliation will work for you, here are several benefits of mature skin exfoliation.
Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells, improving skin texture
Dead skin cells give your skin a rough texture. Therefore, exfoliating removes the layers of dead cells that make your skin look dull or rough. Exfoliating helps you get rid of the small debris and excess oil as well. After exfoliation, you should notice smoother and brighter skin.
It improves blood circulation
Exfoliating your skin with a brush or scrub is an easy way to improve blood circulation. Increased blood circulation means it gets easier for your body to get rid of toxins, leading to healthier-looking skin.
Improved blood circulation makes it easier for oxygen and nutrients to reach the skin cells, improving your skin’s health. However, over-exfoliation weakens your skin’s defenses.
Exfoliation hinders the formation of wrinkles
Collagen makes the skin look healthy and youthful. It also helps get rid of dead skin cells. As such, exfoliating mature skin rekindles collagen production, which prevents the formation of wrinkles.
Exfoliation unclogs your pores
Clogged pores are a result of excess oil trapped under a layer of dead skin cells. It is common among people with oily skin. After exfoliation, your pores will appear smaller, and you will have a smoother face.
Exfoliation helps other beauty products work effectively
When your pores are clogged with excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells, your skin can hardly absorb any skincare products. Therefore, applying products such as moisturizers becomes a waste of time and money. You could be using the best skin moisturizers or lotions but not noticing the difference since their healing properties can’t get past your clogged skin.
Exfoliation prevents acne breakouts and blemishes
Gentle exfoliation can help with acne. Acne has several causes, but most whiteheads, pimples, and blemishes are the result of clogged pores that have trapped bacteria and dirt. Exfoliation is an effective acne treatment that heals the skin faster.
Exfoliation will help you clean the pores thoroughly and eliminate any debris clogging your skin. Once your skin has been exfoliated, you will notice improved results when you resume using your moisturizers and other products.
How often should you exfoliate mature skin?
As much as exfoliation benefits your mature skin, there is no reason to overdo it. Unfortunately, over-exfoliating is mostly counterproductive for mature skin, slowing cell turnover, resulting in inflammation that accelerates skin aging and stripping your skin of its natural essential oils.
Experts recommend introducing exfoliation as a regular part of your skincare routine by starting with a weekly session and transitioning to as much as you can tolerate.
There is a fine line between knowing what is too little and too much. You need to pay close attention to your skin. If you notice it becoming irritated, with persistent flaking, swelling, or redness, reduce the frequency of exfoliation and assess what could have caused it.
Consult with your dermatologist to advise you on how often you should exfoliate. That will avoid causing further damage to your skin.
Easy tips for exfoliating mature skin
- Use a natural bristle brush.
- Use a sponge or specialized exfoliation gloves.
- Use gentle products to avoid micro-abrasions.
- Use brown sugar with lemon juice, honey, or olive oil to exfoliate.
- Use baking soda.
- You can use sea salt that contains lots of good ingredients such as vitamin A, C, and E. Its roughness makes it easy to exfoliate the toughest dead skin cells.
- Use a dry towel during exfoliation. This method works well without exfoliating scrubs, creams, or lotions.
- Come up with and follow a proper skin care routine.
- Avoid over-exfoliating to keep the skin healthy. While exfoliating, be gentle to avoid stripping your skin of natural oils and lipids.
- When exfoliating, use upward or circular motions to keep your skin firm in the long term.
- Mature skin and dry skin should be exfoliated twice a week or less, and ensure you use moisturizing products. For the best results, choose an oil-based scrub.
Signs that you are not exfoliating enough
Below are signs that you are not exfoliating sufficiently if you are over 50.
- Dull skin. Without adequate exfoliation, you will notice flaky, dull, more yellowed skin.
- You are using more beauty products. If you are constantly purchasing a new moisturizer, assuming that the current one is ineffective, you might not realize that exfoliating can help you cut down on costs.
- Your skin is dry and irritated.
As you approach menopause, you should be prepared to look younger in every way possible. At that stage, your skin still has the potential to achieve a natural glow that will have you looking as fresh as always. Exfoliation of mature skin is not a hard process. With the right products and mindset, it becomes the first step to healthier-looking, wrinkle-free skin.