From pigmentation to rosacea: A dermatologist on how to fix 5 common skin concerns in your 50s.

Everyone has a few chief skin concerns they wish would disappear. EVERYONE. Even Gwyneth Paltrow - we promise. And as you reach your 50s and beyond, it can seem hella confusing when it comes to the best way to treat said concerns. Because it is! It really is.

The fact is that the over-50s demographic is subject to more outlandish claims than other demographics - the market is BURSTING with skincare products and high-tech treatments that promise quick fixes for absolutely everything (plus more). It's enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.

The You Beauty Facebook group (not a member? Missing out!) is bursting with beautiful 50 and over Youbies asking for skincare advice on the daily - so we thought we'd cut out some of the noise.

Watch: Here are 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

That's why we hit up dermatologist Dr Shammi Theesan (who goes by Dr Shammi) from ODE Dermatology in Melbourne and asked her all the different ways we can address some of the most common skin concerns you'll experience in your fifties.

Just for the record, all of these skin concerns are just a completely normal part of ageing that everyone will experience. So don't feel like they're things you have to 'fix'. But if it's something that's really bothering you, it's worth knowing an expert's opinion on the best options out there. Because there's nothing worse than wasting your money on products or treatments that don't work.


With that outta the way, below we ask Dr Shammi for the best treatments to tackle five of the biggest skin concerns in your fifties.

1. Pigmentation and dark spots.

Those brown spots that suddenly appear on your face, hands and chest aren't freckles - it's actually called hyperpigmentation. And don't worry - it's SO common among Australian women that it's almost weird if you don't have them. 

But dark spots and uneven skin tone have the tendency of making you look older than you actually are (even though we think you look great!), so that's why you'll often see so many 'brightening' and 'dark spot correcting' products and treatments on the market.

So, what do you do if you want to get rid of 'em? 

First off, Dr Shammi said you'll want to see a dermatologist who will be able to work out what's actually causing these dark spots in the first place.

"Is it due to early sun damage? Is it due to an early melanoma? Is it your hormonally-based melasma? Or are they just age spots?"

"Once you get the all-clear, you can start with a vitamin B3 serum at home. That will be a good multitasking agent to ease pigmentation and improve skin renewal."

"I would use lactic acid-based moisturiser at night, as well as retinol. Use it on alternate nights to start with, to prevent hypersensitivity, and using that long-term can also fade out."


If you're looking to level it up further, Dr Shammi said you can also get over-the-counter lightening creams for pigment spots, which usually contain science-y-sounding ingredients like tranexamic acid or kojic acid, or tasty-sounding ingredients like licorice extract.

"You can also use prescription hydroquinone cream to lighten any of these dark spots," she adds. 

In terms of in-clinic treatments, there are a series of different laser and light-based therapies that can be effective in clearing the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation.

"I find the best ways [to treat pigmentation] are a combination of BBL and light-based [treatments]. For example, BBL and laser-based energy treatments such as the PICO laser."

Most importantly, make sure you're wearing SPF. Obviously.

"Sunscreen is paramount. A zinc sunscreen that's got a broad-based UVA/UVB and visible light protection is key."

2. Rosacea and spider veins.

If you have teeny spider veins on your nose or cheeks, join the club. It's really common for spider veins to form as the skin becomes thinner with age - so you're not alone.

Another fun fact? If you struggle with rosacea, chances are you'll experience spider veins as well. 

When it comes to what you can do, in-clinic treatments are generally your best option if they're something that bothers you.

"Once you develop spider veins, you do need light energy wavelengths or laser treatments to completely clear it. You'd use a combination of 1064, 532, or 580 wavelengths," said Dr Shammi.


Sounds complicated, but if you go to a qualified skin expert, they'll be able to customise whatever light or laser device to suit your skin type. 

"You also want to make sure that your gut health is really looked after," said Dr Shammi, as rosacea has the tendency to flare up or worsen if you don't look after everything that's going on inside. 

"Overall, I recommend prebiotic supplementation, probiotic supplementation, vitamin D, less sugar and less dairy," said Dr Shammi.

Are you writing this down? 

"Certain foods like nitrates can worsen rosacea and spider veins - so minimising things like tomatoes, eggplant,  potatoes (unfortunately) and really investing in your gut health will improve your rosacea very slightly."

Dr Shammi said working out other triggers is key, "Like too much alcohol, spicy foods, certain preservatives and skincare".

In terms of what topical skincare products can help assist rosacea and spider veins, Dr Shammi recommends ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin B3 and a very gentle cleanser that's not going to mess with your skin's natural moisture barrier. 

3. Dull skin.

According to Dr Shammi, dull skin and a general lack of luminosity are one of the biggest concerns she sees women over 50 experiencing in her clinic.

She said that a combination of "mottled pigmentation, rosacea, shadows, volume loss on our upper cheeks, the sagging and jowling on the lower third" can all contribute to a dull, tired complexion.


The good news? There are some really effective ways to turn it around.

"One of the best ways to treat this is to actually improve your hydration," suggests Dr Shammi. "The main trick is to not drink a whole bunch of water in one shot - but rather, sipped throughout the day. I like to throw in a bit of a lemon or a bit of Himalayan salt for better absorption."

"Your gut health is super important here. We've spoken about prebiotics, probiotics, less sugar, less dairy - having your gut health and your microbiome there will mimic the improvement in your microbiome in your skin."

As well as this, Dr Shammi said tricks, like not washing your face in a hot shower and using lukewarm water in a basin, are key, along with ditching exfoliating scrubs and harsh towels. 

She also adds, "Put the moisturiser on that you like. Hopefully something more emollient with glycerin in it, or hyaluronic acid, vitamin b3. Put that on when you're slightly damp."

In terms of your different options in-clinic, Dr Shammi said "I like in-clinic treatments, which actually change your skin barrier and support that ageing process by improving the hydration of your skin barrier, as well as activating your stem cells and anti-ageing genes in your skin. We use that in particular with our BBL therapy."

4. Fine lines and wrinkles.

We've said it eleventy million times before but for the love of lactic acid, we'll say it again! Fine lines and wrinkles are a completely normal part of ageing. It's absolutely not something you need to 'fix'. You do you. But if it's a concern you do want to address - that's okay, too! 


"One of the gold standard things is to look into retinol. I do like various cosmeceutical-based retinol because there is that slow-release element of the vitamin A into your keratinocytes, which stimulates your fibroblast to improve and thicken up your collagen and your elastin."

"Hyaluronic acid will seep into the different layers of your skin and make these wrinkles and fine lines appear plumper."

Dr Shammi also recommends vitamin B3 as an active ingredient, as well as vitamin C, saying it's one of the very important ingredients for collagen building

Note. taken.

"I would look into laser and BBL treatments to actually help bring about new collagen, either with non-ablative or ablative lasers that can cause a thermal injury - where the secondary response is our collagen healing."

'Thermal injury' sounds slightly terrifying, but the heating of the dermis stimulates the production of new collagen in your skin.

"I do like micro-focused and macro-focused ultrasound energy-based treatments that also plump up fine lines and wrinkles. There is no argument there - when it's performed in the right setting."

If injectables are something you're on board with, Dr Shammi said "anti-wrinkle injections to forehead lines and the number '11' between the eyebrows can relax these corrugator supercilii muscles to stop that wrinkling action, which will then make the lines less etched."

Lastly, she adds, "LED therapy, at the right wavelength, can also improve luminosity and fine lines over time."


5. Sagging skin.

Dr Shammi said in your fifties, one of the other main concerns you might notice is a loss of volume due to the fat pads in your face migrating. 

"Certain areas will descend lower, giving you that saddened look. Certain areas like your nasolabial fat pad will actually become thicker. It's almost this dragging-down effect that happens."

"We find that there's bony resorption and tissue change, and all that impacts the muscles and our skin," she adds.


"The other thing that I find that women in our fifties is that with the hormonal fluctuations or changes, our skin just is more sensitive in general. Actives or skincare that wouldn't have hurt before are now stinging."

Hands up who can relate?

"I think the other thing that we need to know is that we also lose muscle volume and strength as we head into our fifties. Now we have opportunities to use laser and radio frequency and HIFEM technology - which is high-intensity focused electromagnetic stimulation - to actually reverse these changes."

"Start working with these machines to build your muscle satellite stem cells because muscle is the currency of youth, as we know. So, there's a lot on the horizon that we can do."

Do you struggle with any of the above concerns? What have you tried? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature Image: Instagram.

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