Beat skin fatigue

Skin fatigue and tiredness makes your skin dull and rough. A good skin care routine and balanced diet will help you get back the glow

young woman looking in the mirrorSkin fatigue is seen as dull uneven skin tone, rough texture, visible pores, age spots, dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and loose sagging skin. This happens due to ageing of the skin. There are two distinct types of ageing. Ageing caused by the genes we inherit is called intrinsic [internal] aging. The other type of aging is known as extrinsic [external] ageing and is caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to the sun’s rays. As we age, the rate of loss of old skin cells from the uppermost layer of the skin [stratum corneum] slows down. The skin gradually becomes less translucent and does not retain water so well. All the skin functions take place more slowly. Collagen and elastin fibres begin to loosen up. This is intrinsic ageing which is also known as the natural ageing process. It is a continuous process that normally begins in our mid-twenties.

Extrinsic ageing primarily occurs due to ultraviolet [UV] rays. As most of us are exposed to sun, the ‘damage’ to the dermis can be seen through the dry epidermis as we age. ‘Photoaging’ is the term dermatologists use to describe this type of ageing caused by exposure to the sun’s rays and occurs over a period of time. With repeated exposure to the sun, our skin loses its ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates. Scientific studies have shown that repeated UV exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. Other causes of skin fatigue are chemical pollutants, poor nutrition, starvation, diets, physical and mental stress, smoking, alcohol, inadequate sleep and lack of exercise.

Skin and nutrients

Skin is one of the most powerful indicators of health. The rate at which our skin changes also depends on what we inherit, how we treat it and how we look after it. Wrinkles, dry or oily skin, acne, and inflammation all are signs of poor health, often brought on by consuming unhealthy foods and avoiding skin-healthy nutrients.

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for healthy skin. Vitamin A to prevent dry and flaky skin, vitamin C for collagen and vitamin E to re-hydrate the skin, reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.

  • Minerals and antioxidants combat free radicals and help retain youthfulness of the skin.
  • Proteins and biotin [found in liver, egg yolk, green vegetables, and whole grains] are required for healthy hair and nails.
  • Water, vegetables and fruits like watermelon, walnuts, olive oil contain antioxidant. Fish like salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acid. All these moisturise the skin.
  • Colourful berries like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, and oranges and carrots [contain beta carotene] act as antioxidants and protect the skin from effect of the sun.
  • Fish with omega-3 fatty acids and proteins like chicken and lean meat as well as flax seeds are known to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

Avoid smoking as the smoke and tar deprives the skin of nutrients and oxygen and makes it dull and lifeless. They also form harmful free radicals that weaken the collagen and elastin fibres and this causes premature wrinkles.

As you age

To prevent skin tiredness, regular protection against the sun from an early age, combined with the use of moisturisers, is necessary. Basic skin care should include cleansing, avoiding the sun, using a sunscreen and a night moisturiser. Well-formulated anti-ageing products help to fight multiple signs of ageing. As you age, it is better to use heavy duty moisturisers, particularly at night to keep the skin well-hydrated.

Use anti-ageing creams containing alpha-hydroxy acids that are known to speed up cell renewal. Products containing alpha hydroxy acids make fine lines disappear. Creams containing retinol gently release pure vitamin A into the skin. It exfoliates the skin and encourages new cells to form while improving skin tone and texture. Using retinol regularly at bedtime, helps give a healthy youthful glow to your skin. Your skin looks firmer, smoother, and fine lines and wrinkles diminish. Retinol is non-irritant, and non-comedogenic [does not contain any ingredients proven to cause pore blockages], and hence safe to use.

15 Signs of skin fatigue

  • Age spots and blemishes
  • Fine lines, wrinkles, crowfeet, frown lines, forehead lines
  • Sagging skin and jawline
  • Prominent laugh lines
  • Bags under eyes, dark circles
  • Receding hairline
  • Lack of vitality and luminosity
  • Loss of underlying fat resulting in hollowed cheeks and eye socket
  • Inability to sweat sufficiently to cool the skin
  • Greying hair that eventually turns white, unwanted hair on face
  • Thin nail plate with ridges and without the half moons
  • Drooping of tip of the nose
  • Dark lips and lines
  • Bands on neck [chicken legs]
  • Wrinkled and loose skin on hands and feet.
Jaishree Sharad
Dr Jaishree Sharad is medical director and consultant cosmetic dermatologist at a skin cosmetology clinic, Mumbai. She is also the Vice-President of the Cosmetic Dermatology Society of India[CSI].