5 ways to improve your skin as you age

Sarah Hughes

Whilst the ageing signs of our internal organs are hidden from us – the wear and tear of our skin as we enter middle age and beyond is fully evident every time we look in the mirror - and provides the first and most obvious signs of a body that is starting to age. 

But despite the inevitability of ageing skin, there are things you can do and steps you can take to reduce the impact of facial ageing. Here are our top five ways to improve the condition and look of your skin as you age.

1) Reduce Oxidative stress

The biggest cause of external skin ageing is oxidative stress – which is triggered and accelerated by a number of lifestyle factors. This includes over-exposure to the sun on a day to day basis, smoking and exposure to pollution (mainly in big cities). You should take steps to reduce the level of oxidative stress your skin is exposed to by:

  • Ensuring you wear a high factor spf every day to protect your skin from the sun as it’s not just prolonged UV exposure that causes skin damage; it’s everyday exposure that effects the skin too. If you are fan of sunbeds then now is the time to quit as tanning beds and sun lamps still expose you to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays – try self-tanning lotion instead. 
  • If you smoke, take steps to reduce the amount you smoke and aim to give up completely. The toll that smoking has on our bodies is well known. For your skin, aside from the nasties like skin cancer it causes premature skin ageing, sagging skin, reduction in wound healing, psoriasis, skin staining and an increased risk of Telangiectasia and Vasculitis.
  • People all over the world are exposed to environmental conditions that readily challenge the quality of their skin on a daily basis, you can shield your skin against the harmful effects of pollution by investing in antipollution beauty products which include anti-oxidant rich moisturisers and targeted skincare solutions such as anti-pollution shields or mists which will block out harmful pollutants from your skin. 

2) Take collagen supplements

From around the age of 25, collagen, one of the skin’s building blocks and the most abundant protein found in the body, decreases by 1% each year. Together with a decline in another protein called elastin which helps maintains skin elasticity, our skin structure becomes compromised and less supple which in turn promotes wrinkling. Aside from ageing, a poor diet is one of the top reasons people don’t have enough collagen supplies. You can address this by changing your diet to include more protein rich food such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products as well as foods rich in vitamin C, zinc and copper – which are also involved in the process of our bodies making collagen naturally. If you struggle to consume all the right proteins, vitamins and minerals on a daily basis then it’s worth investing in a collagen supplement to complement your diet.

RD Supplements partner with Prime Fifty to bring you formulas created for those in their 50's and beyond. To increase your collagen levels try the Skin, Hair & Nails formula, which has been created for those in their 50’s and beyond and uses an advanced age specific multi-nutrient formulation comprised of the most essential vitamins, minerals and natural extracts. Reader's Digest readers receive 10% off a 3-month supply of Skin, Hair & Nails using the DIGEST10 code.

3) Adapt your diet  

Incorporate lots of foods that support and promote good skin health. Of course, there isn’t any food that will erase your crow’s feet or laughter lines or make you feel 23 again, but a healthy diet full of anti-ageing foods can boost skin quality, improve your immunity and much more. Pack your diet full of vibrant foods that are loaded with healthy fats, water, antioxidants and essential nutrients and your skin will show its appreciation.

Fuel your diet with foods such as: red bell peppers, blueberries, watercress, papaya, spinach, broccoli, nuts, avocado, sweet potato, seeds, pineapple, dark chocolate, lemon or lime juice, watermelon, oranges, pomegranate seeds, mushrooms, edamame, carrots, beans and lentils, manuka honey, green tea, red wine and ghee.

 If you find it hard to meet your five a day then we'd suggest including a 
super greens drink into your daily routine to increase your nutrients intake.

4) Introduce a good skincare regime 

Skin will age quicker if it’s not properly cared for or you use products that irritate the skin. Introduce a thorough cleansing routine – using gentle products that are appropriate for your skin type and cleanse your skin at least twice a day to remove dirt and grime build up. Don’t scrub your face and always use gentle upward motions. Regularly apply care products that are targeted at your skins primary concern and use moisturiser every day as it traps water in your skin and gives it a more youthful appearance.

5) Improve your blood supply and circulation 

A poor blood supply to the skin means delivery of key nutrients and oxygen to the surface on the skin is hindered and it becomes duller, less hydrated and can lead to premature aging of the skin. Blood flow also helps to carry waste products away from working cells in the skin – flushing cellular debris including free radicals out of the system – effectively cleansing your skin from the inside. The best way to improve your blood flow to your skin is through participating in regular cardiovascular exercise and by keeping hydrated – so try to keep active with at least 3-4 half hour sessions per week and ensure you are drinking plenty of liquids. Stress can also impact your circulation as when you experience stress your blood vessels constrict – look at ways to manage your stress to help with this – massage for example, not only helps with stress management but will also help improve your circulation through the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. There are also some herbs you can incorporate into your diet which can help with blood flow such as bacopa, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, thyme and turmeric.