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05.19.19

Ageing in your fifties and what you can do about it

Is 50 the new 40? It probably depends on your mindset; you have probably heard the saying you are as young as you feel! This is very true and happiness and wellbeing is a great starting point when you are considering aesthetic options to rejuvenate the face. In your twenties and thirties, it is simple to conceal stress and negative lifestyle effects on how you look, but in our 50s, this is usually not the case.

In this age group, the signs of ageing can be accelerated partly through normal changes and partly due to hormonal changes (females). There are changes in the skin, muscle and fat pads that affect how the skin looks. In addition to this, changes in the bone structure of the face occur that cause physical changes to the appearance of the face.

Even when people have looked after their skin and minimised wrinkles, changes in the epidermis where the fat and muscles are, and changes in the bone structure at a deeper level, can contribute to the skin sagging. The most noticeable area on the face where a lot of people see changes in their 50s is the lower part of the face – jowls and neck area.

In order to rejuvenate the face, we need to begin looking at the changes in the upper, middle and lower thirds of the face.

Let’s look a bit closer!

To understand how our face ages in our 50s, let’s look at the structure of the skin at a cellular level and consider the changes that occur.

The layers of the skin

Epidermis – this is the outer layer of the skin.

Dermis – the middle layer that contains the tough connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands. Fibroblasts are also here and are very important when we consider how the skin ages

Hypodermis – the deeper subcutaneous tissue made of fat and connective tissue.

From the age of 28 (often younger) the fibroblasts in the dermis that produce collagen and elastin fibres are in decline meaning there are less of them producing less and often, poorer quality fibre bundles.   These collagen and elastin fibres are responsible for the skin being youthful, plump, firm and supple. By the time we have reached our 50s these changes are very visible.

Environmental factors such as smoking, sun and stress massively impact on the quality of both collagen and elastin fibres, thus contributing to premature ageing.   If you have smoked but managed to avoid premature ageing, you will likely see an acceleration of ageing at this stage

It is a fact that the cells in the skin will perform less well as we age. If you have looked after your skin and your health in your earlier years you will have encouraged better skin cell performance. This will have delayed the onset of the appearance of ageing but it will not have stopped ageing as such.

As you move into your 50s it is not too uncommon to consider a more aggressive form of anti-ageing treatment to give a better-rejuvenated appearance.

How much you have aged is largely related to genetics, lifestyle and the types of anti-ageing care you have received.

When your skin has less collagen and fewer elastin fibres it looks dull, tired, it produces more wrinkles and loses its firmness and suppleness; often when we look in the mirror we can begin to pull up the skin to the place it was in our youth.

When designing treatments we have to consider volume restoration, skin improvements and wrinkle reduction. Consideration is also given to the jowls, neck and décolletage as these areas are a common concern for people in their 50s.

 

What can you do to delay ageing and reduce the visible signs of ageing?

 

  1. Stop smoking if you do. It is never too late to stop smoking, yes, the skin will have a lot of damage from the effects at this stage but by stopping you encourage blood flow to the periphery of the skin, increasing oxygen and nutrients reaching the cells. The years of pursing of lips around a cigarette or e-cig also create overactivity of the lip muscles and increase wrinkles around the lips known as peri-oral lines. If you are investing in rejuvenation treatments, smoking will hinder the result you are able to achieve.

 

  1. Reduce sun exposure and wear a minimum of 30 SPF even in the winter. The sun on the skin produces free radicals that destroy cells. When cells are destroyed changes in that tissue occur. Melanocytes are stimulated (this is what creates tanning of the skin). Any colour change in the skin is a sign of skin damage. You will see these unsightly pigmentation patches that are signs of damage incurred in your earlier years. These unsightly patches do make the skin look older than it is.

 

  1. Reduce stress in your life as much as you can and focus on mental wellbeing, good nutrition and exercise which release endorphins, the happy hormones. Stress is always underestimated when we think of ageing but it can really play a big part in premature ageing.

 

  1. Stimulate the skin to increase cell turnover. Remember what is happening to the fibroblasts that produce less collagen and elastin; we need to focus on stimulating these fibroblasts and improve the skin cell function. Laser treatments and skin peels are able to target these cells to improve skin cell turnover. As well as treatments carried out at a skin care clinic, you need to have an anti-ageing skin care programme to keep the skin fresh and receptive to the anti-ageing ingredients in your skin care regime.

 

  1. A more intensive repair and anti-ageing programmes such as ZO prescription care or Obagi prescription care work wonders on the skin condition and appearance. These products work on the skin cells at a deeper level and actually train the cells to perform better. The results of these products are transformational on the skin. Strong, healthy skin creates a canvas that supports injectable treatments.

 

  1. Your skin will develop wrinkles in your 30s. There are 2 types, dynamic wrinkles that are present upon muscle contraction and static wrinkles that are present in the skin even at rest. If you have had toxin treatments to relax the muscles you may be fortunate in your 50s to not have deep wrinkles. Most people however in their 50s have established wrinkles in the common areas such as frown, forehead and crows feet around the eyes. Depending on the skin condition and volume, wrinkles can be visible on the cheeks and neck.

 

Toxin injections work on dynamic (in motion) wrinkles and by having these wrinkles treated regularly you are reducing the onset of static wrinkles. We can’t really say that toxin eliminates static (at rest) wrinkles but injecting toxin to reduce movement does have a surprising effect on these wrinkles. People who have had regular toxin injections can look wrinkle-free in the upper part of the face in their 50s.

 

  1. Changes to the mid and lower parts of the face can be starting and this is where individuals’ anatomy, genetics, lifestyle and skin care can play a role in how much these parts age or not.

Changes in the fat pads in the cheeks can give the appearance of ageing and can also contribute to nose to mouth lines. The lips and tissue around the lips could be ageing particularly in smokers. We are able to place dermal filler in the areas where volume is required. Placing dermal filler in the midface restores the changes created from looser separated fat pads (in youth, fat pads are plump and packed tightly giving the skin volume).

Restoring these areas will help to create a framework to minimise the physical effects of ageing as we progress through the years.

 

  1. Changes in the bone structure. The main area that changes in our 50s is in the jaw; it gets smaller, thinner and this means that there is less support for muscles and skin thus the dreaded appearance of jowls!!!

 

Solutions to reduce jowls always start with the mid-face restoration. Skin tightening and advanced repair prescription treatments help to restore skin health. Toxin treatment can help to reduce over activity of muscles that can cause sagging, creating a subtle lift. A dense dermal filler can be placed along the bone to counter the bone loss, creating a stronger framework for muscles and skin thus creating a lifting effect.

When the skin is very loose PDO thread lifting is a highly effective non-surgical approach to having the skin lifted and contoured.

Conclusion

If you want to restore a more youthful appearance, start with a consultation with an experienced aesthetic practitioner. Understand what is going on with the different aspects of your face. Be knowledgeable about the treatment benefits and risks and develop a plan for both the short and long term.

Love your skin, enjoy your skin, respect your skin and intervene to restore and rejuvenate and you will move towards your 60s with confidence knowing you are doing all you can.