For Mother’s Day, we’re looking at the generational bond created through skincare. Whether you poked your fingers in the pots of cream on your mum’s dressing table or took heed of tips that had been passed down to her, it’s likely that your first experience of skincare came from your mother.
Skin is a constant thread that ties us together as family, from the first skin-to-skin contact after birth to the gentle caress of a wrinkled hand. As we age, our skin can be subject to a whole host of hormonal changes, including teenage years, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. We take a look at how these changes affect us and how to adapt to our evolving skin like our mothers before us.
How has skincare changed over the years?
Your mother’s or grandmother’s teenage skincare routine might have simply consisted of a basic bar of soap, cloth, a cold cream and petroleum jelly. Even lard was sometimes used to remove makeup, which is hard to imagine when there’s now so much choice available.
Just a few decades ago, the harmful effects of the sun weren’t fully known and SPF only really became prominent in the 90s as research into skin cancer and premature ageing progressed. Anti-ageing ingredients also only started to trend from the 80s onwards.
We’ve also seen products directed at teenage skin evolve from the basic witch hazel and tea tree spot treatments and apricot scrubs to more sophisticated formulas that focus on calming inflammation and repairing the skin barrier.
We’ve seen more and more brands leading with ingredients and technology as our thirst for knowledge has increased, while skincare has become accessible for all budgets. ‘Clean skincare’ is here to stay, since potentially harmful ingredients like phthalates and parabens have become known as endocrine disrupters which can cause hormonal and fertility problems. Today, skincare is often viewed as an essential form of self-care and the first step in a beauty routine.
How does your skin change as you grow up?
Not only does your skin change as you age, but the variety of products continues to increase as new technology and ingredients come to the market.
When you're a teenager, your body is flooded with growth hormones which can exacerbate oil production, increase sensitivity and lead to acne. This usually calms down with adulthood, although adult acne can occur due to genetics, hormones, medications or health conditions. After your 30s, the proteins that keep your skin plump and stretchy (collagen and elastin) begin to diminish as your body’s natural production slows down, leading to signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. This is a totally inevitable and normal part of ageing, but you can support your skin by using products that help to replenish and support collagen and elastin production.
How does your skin change during motherhood?
During pregnancy, the increase in progesterone causes your body to produce more oil than usual which can lead to breakouts but can also lead to that healthy “pregnancy glow” alongside the increase in blood volume which carries more oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Half of women develop melasma or the “mask of pregnancy” which is a form of hyperpigmentation. This can be minimised by being vigilant with SPF application, especially because your skin can be more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy.
While breastfeeding, it's common to experience dry skin since your body is using a lot of water. Drinking at least two litres of water a day will help you stay hydrated and replenish lost moisture from your skin. Always check that skincare products are safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding—peptides, ceramides and hyaluronic acid are all excellent hydrating and plumping options.
How to achieve healthy skin at any age
Remember to maintain the foundations of good skincare—sleep, nutrition and hydration—and adapt your skincare to your skin as you age. Younger skin might need more clarifying and anti-inflammatory ingredients while more mature skin will tend to need creamier formulations that focus on replenishing hydration and boosting collagen.
This routine can be used as a guide, but you can swap out products depending on your skin type, age and the season:
Cleanse with Medik8 Calmwise Soothing Cleanser
Avène Eau Thermale Water Spray can be used on everything from nappy rash to sunburn, making it a soothing essential for the whole family
Medik8 Bakuchiol Peptides is an anti-ageing serum that’s safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding