This week’s theme is about holistic care for wise skin. Like us (hopefully!), our skin gets wiser with age, especially once we approach 45+, the accumulated wisdom is written all over the face.
Atrophic skin is the term for mature or aged skin. It’s a completely natural consequence of living and aging, different genetics and lifestyle affects the level of skin atrophy.
Hormonal and other physiological changes cause the connective tissue to weaken and lines, furrows and wrinkles to form. Skin pigmentation and complexion become more uneven, and patches of hyperpigmentation may occur. The water content decreases, which means that the tissue dries out, which is why the skin loses its volume and natural moisture.
In addition, sebum production is reduced, causing the skin to lose its natural lubrication from within. At the same time, some may experience localized elevated sebum production at, for example, the nose and chin.
The production of collagen and elastin fibers is decreasing and therefore the dermis becomes thinner while the tissue loses its elasticity. The surface (epidermis) becomes coarser as the skin's cell turnover decreases and the pores of the surface structure appear coarser.
When the different characteristics appear is individual and vary greatly from person to person. Partly it’s due to how lucky we’ve been in the genepool and partly how we live and take care of ourselves. Therefore, atrophic skin is divided into two categories: environmental atrophy and age atrophy.
ENVIRONMENTAL ATROPHIC SKIN
Environmental atrophic skin is seen in cases where the aging process sets in too early, and it is therefore a result of the environment to which the skin is exposed.
Characteristics of environmental atrophic skin:
- Leather-like structure
- Possibly. enlarged pores
- Comedones open / closed
- Superficial lines
- Mimic lines
- Decreased elasticity
Environmental atrophic skin can be due to:
- UV from the sun's rays
- Free radicals, e.g. from pollution around us
- Poor diet
- Poor sleep
AGE ATROPHIC SKIN
How and when we age is individual and varies from person to person, however it’s still only a matter of years before the aging process of the skin catches up with all of us.
Characteristics of age atrophic skin:
- Often dull or pale complexion
- Poor blood circulation
- Oily in some areas
- Dry in other areas
- Deep wrinkles
- Reduced elasticity
- Uneven structure
Age atrophic skin may be due to:
- UV light
Treatment focus for atrophic skin:
- Gently cleanse and exfoliate the epidermis with oil based products that don't strip the sebum layer.
- Moisturize the epidermis
- Protect without comedogenic fats
- Activate blood flow through massage, gua sha and faceyoga
- Tighten the connective tissue through massage, gua sha and faceyoga
Avoid these ingredients on atrophic skin:
- Very hot water and long baths
- Traditional / degreasing skintonic
- Petrochemical fats (addictive and clogging)
EXTERNAL SKINCARE FOR ATROPHIC SKIN
Atrophic skin needs oil based cleansing products that do not wash the natural moisture out of the skin, and at the same time retain the protective barrier film on the surface of the skin - the acid mantle.
Replace traditional skintonic with a mist of e.g. flower water on spray that completes cleansing by caring for and contracting the pores.
Choose revitalizing creams with active ingredients such as. peptides, vitamin C and vitamin A, and use an oil-based serum such as squalane, inca inchi and sea buckthorn underneath for extra protection.
Avoid petrochemical / mineral oils that can act as addictive fats on the skin, and which in the long run can make the skin drier, and in addition it can cause enlarged pores.
Atrophic skin has a slow cell turnover, so exfoliate weekly with a honey mask. This removes dead skin cells, which stimulates the new formation of skin cells.
Fruit acid masks are effective in boosting collagen formation in the skin as well as promoting the natural formation of hyaluronic acid, which is the skin's own moisture. The Q-10 enzyme oxygenates the skin and provides increased microcirculation as well as a fresh complexion. Proteins and peptides in the creams fix and smooth the surface of the skin, while moisturizing masks of aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, squalane, honey or shea butter provide an extra boost of moisture and nourishment.
Look for the following ingredients when buying skincare products:
Herbs for atrophic skin:
- Wild yam
- Licorice root
- Gotu kola
- Comfrey (externally only!)
- Stinging nettle
Essential oils for atrophic skin:
- Myrrh (special CO2 extraction)
- Frankincense (special CO2 extract)
- Carrot oil
Vegetable oils for atrophic skin:
- Avocado oil
- Argan oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sea buckthorn oil
- Tamanu oil
- Pomegranate oil
- Shea butter
- Inca Inchi oil
Active ingredients for atrophic skin:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B3
- Gotu kola
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
INTERNAL SKINCARE FOR WISE SKIN
Boost skin hydration internally with omega-3, -6, -7 and -9 which nourish the skin from within. Also, choose a fish oil that has been tested free of heavy metals and with a low TOTOX value (rancidity value) - and/or organic and cold-pressed oils from sea buckthorn, evening primrose, hemp oil, olives, flaxseed and avocado. Aim to get approx. 20g fat for each meal. Sea buckthorn capsules are particularly recommended for wise skin.
Drink a minimum of one and a half liters of water, vegetable juice or herbal tea a day to create a stable fluid balance. Especially herbal teas such as nettle, linden flower, red clover, rooibos, licorice root, white tea and green tea.
Boost skin daily with hydrolyzed collagen as a supplement that helps the skin to rebuild the elastic fibers from within.
Sally Walker in the book Amazing Skin by BioCosmediq