A woman’s quest for looking youthful, radiant & spotless is a never ending one & post a certain age it becomes even more arduous & has an immense impact on her psychosocial personality. With passage of time many bodily changes occur of which the facial changes affect women the most. Skin changes in 40’s and 50’s are a result of hormonal changes occurring in body & cumulative damage incurred by face from various factors like sun exposure, pollution, stress ,ageing and products used so far resulting in increased focal or diffuse melanin deposition & production by melanocytes that are the pigment producing cells.
Skin changes post 40:
After age 40 many physiological changes begin to occur that influence the skin & appearance. The female hormones estrogen &progesterone begin to decline in these peri-menopausal years causing thin, dry ,coarse skin, loss of elasticity. Pigmentary changes are very commonly seen that can be uneven (spotty) or spread on major areas. The extent of pigmentation may vary from mild to gross dark areas, flat lesions or raised dark spots.
The common pigmentary disorders seen include melasma, post inflammatory pigmentation, lichen planus pigmentosus, pigmentary contact dermatitis, freckles, seborrhoic keratosis, etc. with age the skin become saggy due to weakened underlying support tissue causing change in contour & exaggeration of sunken eyes that makes area around eyes appear even more dark & pigmented- adding to the burden of pigmentary problems. A host of system illnesses like diabetes, hypothyroidism and deficiency disorders can also cause pigmentary problems of various type and hence medical workup becomes essential.
What to do to prevent skin aging and damage?
A lot of these issues can be addressed with the variety of treatment options to variable extent. Every treatment modality has its limitations & will vary for every individual depending upon diagnosis and skin type. The basic skin care regimen should begin early in life to avoid and postpone various pigmentary changes after 40. Of paramount importance is sun protection- sunscreen. A minimum 30 SPF sunscreen should be used round the year even when cloudy or staying indoors. Treatment of skin problems (like acne,folliculitis ,lichen planus) should be sought early & invariably to avoid pigmentary scars left after healing.