Does ageing make your skin condition worse?
In order to understand more about how ageing can affect eczema, it’s important to have a little understanding about the main components of your skin. In the picture below, for example, you are given a good idea of how your skin is formed, including the 3 main layers, the location of your sebaceous glands and melanocytes. All of these layers rely on the steady flow of nutrients and collagen, the main building block of your skin.
As you age, your production of collagen gradually slows down which can weaken your skin. Collagen isn’t the only thing that declines with age, your levels of sebum oil will also start to dip while your stratum corneum (the outermost layer of your skin) will gradually lose its ability to retain moisture – not good news for dry, eczema-prone skin!
Even for normal skin, this loss can result in drier, frailer skin that’s more vulnerable to oxidative stress and free-radical damage. The bad news is that the nutrients you rely on to counteract this damage may not reach your skin as your circulation to this area can slow, depriving your skin of the antioxidants it needs to combat premature ageing.
Your hormones also won’t be doing you any favours I’m afraid. While it’s not unheard of for fluctuating levels of progesterone and oestrogen to sometimes stimulate your sebaceous glands into producing more oil, the low levels of oestrogen you may experience during menopause can make your skin itchier, drier and more prone to irritation.
If you have a skin condition like eczema, where you skin is already dehydrated and easily irritated, the results can be more pronounced which is why it’s extremely important to look after your skin as you age.
How can you protect your ageing skin?
Right now the picture might look quite bleak if you have eczema-prone skin; your skin is only going to become drier, more inflamed and more vulnerable to infection as your skin barrier function is impaired. However, don’t abandon home just yet – there’s still plenty you can do to support your skin during this tricky transition!
First, I’d start by taking a look at what you’re putting on your skin. The right skincare products can make a huge difference, as I discussed in your skincare routine. Although it might be tempting to lean towards conventional anti-ageing creams, most of these are loaded with harsh ingredients and abrasive chemicals which may agitate your dry, sensitive skin even more.
Instead, I’d recommend sticking with Salcura and their Zeroderm Skin Repair Moisturiser. Free from parabens and specifically tailored towards skin condition like eczema, it’s also rich in natural ingredients like Jojoba oil, which can help your epidermis to lock in moisture, providing your eczema-prone skin with some much needed hydration! Don’t be afraid to use it a bit more liberally – remember, your skin will need all the TLC it can get!
Once you’ve applied your moisturiser, I’d look at rousing your sluggish circulation – getting the blood flowing to the right places will ensure a steady supply of antioxidants and nutrients, helping to repair any damage and counteract the signs of premature ageing. Keeping active is the best way of achieving this, but that doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym everyday – 10 minutes of brisk exercise each day should be enough to get your blood pumping!
Remember less is more when it comes to your skin, so don’t use ageing as an excuse to pile a plethora of make-up on your face in an attempt to disguise fine lines, wrinkles and flaking skin – not only will the approach just irritate your skin even more, it may also emphasise the problem you’re drying to conceal! If you are going to use makeup, always choose a natural brand like PHB, who infuse their foundation with SPF30, helping to shield your skin against UV radiation!