Report on mature skincare from the makers of Astral
Foreword by Elixir Editor, Avril O Connor
The UK is an ageing society. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) says that although the population grew by 8 per cent in the last thirty-five years, the population aged over 65 grew by 31 per cent. Official ONS figures from 2006 estimated more than seven and a half million women aged 45 to 64 living in the UK.
Looking after our skin is vital for all women, whatever age, but it is especially important for older women because, after the menopause, levels of oestrogen decline and low oestrogen can result in weakening of the collagen and elastin fibres within the skin. The skin becomes thinner and more fragile, with an increase in facial hair, spots and reduced water content in the cells. Using an effective moisturiser becomes vital to looking good and dealing with ageing skin.
All women should regularly cleanse and moisturise their skin, but for women in their late 40s, 50s or 60s, this becomes even more important. This report looks at skincare for more mature women and details new research from the makers of Astral on womens attitudes and user trial results of how they fared when using Astral.
The importance of skin care
The skin is the largest organ of our body. It not only signals touch, it subtly changes in our environment, such as temperature, and communicates that to the brain. Harvard University researchers have dubbed this connection the nuero-immuno-cutaneous-endocrine network, or N.I.C.E. What this means is that everything that affects the skin, affects the body, and vice versa. The skin is connected to our brain, our nervous system, our hormones and our immune system. In broader terms, its a mind-skin link that reflects health as well as disease.
Many women who are in their 50s, may notice differences in their skin, such as increased roughness, wrinkling, irregular pigmentation (coloration) or reduced elasticity. These are all normal changes in our skin as we age, but they may not be pleasant and can be minimised.
We all need different skin care as we age. As we grow older, our skin doesn’t produce new cells at the same pace. Environmental and biological factors take their toll. Often we develop enlarged pores and the effects of the sun become evident in sunspots and wrinkles.
Here are five tips to help women enhance their natural skin care, as they grow older:
1. Make sure you moisturise your face and body regularly. The face, neck and hands are the biggest give-away of ageing, so you should pay special attention to these areas and moisturise them morning and night every day.
2. Continue to use sunscreen when outdoors. Professor Chris Griffiths from Manchester University says that anyone who is worried about the visible effects of ageing should slap on the sun cream. You should try to use a protection cream of at least SPF 15 and UVA 4* every day, not just when the sun is shining brightly or the temperature is hot. When it is very sunny or if you are out in the sun for a long period, you should bump this up to SPF 30 and UVA 4*.
3. If you smoke, you really need to try and stop. Smoking has been shown to accelerate ageing of skin, so quitting now is important for good skin health.
4. Eating a well-balanced diet with or without a multivitamin can help the skin get the nutrition it needs to help repair ongoing damage from the sun and other environmental elements.
5. Drink at least two litres of fluid a day to hydrate your skin from the inside out. All non-alcoholic drinks count, so if you struggle to drink two litres of water, vary your drinks to include other drinks, such as tea, coffee and fruit juice.
A womans view survey reveals snapshot of a generation
Theres no doubt that skincare is especially important to women in the years shortly before, during and after menopause and it is hard to overestimate just how important it is to women in these groups to feel good about their skin.
Astral conducted a survey of 1,031 women aged 45 to 60 from across the UK and questioned them about their attitudes and experience of skincare, their familys behaviour, ageing and romance. The results paint a picture of a generation at ease with ageing but more than willing to do whatever they can to retain their looks and enjoy life to the fullest into the bargain.
Attitudes to skincare
Aware of the effects of ageing, more than half (54 per cent) of respondents thought it was more important to have a regular skincare regime in their 50s than it was in their 20s. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of those quizzed thought there was a perception that women in their 50s are expected to look good. Most of the women (70 per cent) were realistic in their skincare goals, aiming to look good for their actual age rather than to defy ageing and look young per se.
More than two thirds (67 per cent) said their skincare regime had altered, as they got older reflecting womens changing needs to combat the signs of ageing. The most common complaints were tired-looking skin (29 per cent), dry skin (26 per cent), under-nourished skin (22 per cent), oily skin (12 per cent) and patchy skin (10.3 per cent).
Women were more likely to have oily or tired-looking skin in the 45 to 50 age bracket; more likely to have dry or patchy skin in the 50 to 55 age bracket; and more likely to have skin in need of nourishment in the 56 to 60 age bracket. Nearly a third (29 per cent) said that the menopause had made their skin drier, and the same number said their skin had become more sensitive.
When it comes to skincare, nearly three quarters (72 per cent) said they preferred simple but effective products. Furthermore, 70 per cent thought traditional skincare products could be just as effective as far more expensive high tech brands.
When choosing skincare products, women rated the following, in order, as most important:
1) Value for money
2) Information on a product label
3) Recommendations by friends
4) Articles in magazines
5) Recommendations by mum
7) Claims of being the latest miracle cream
Dating, sex and skincare
Getting older also brings with it different lifestyle priorities and changes in libido. Two-thirds of the women said they have less sex now than in their 20s and 30s although this still left an impressive one third who felt they had more sex now than ever.
The respondents on average had sex 4.5 times a month the equivalent of just over once a week which was nearly half of the 10.4 times a month they had sex in their 20s and 30s. However, quality can be just as important as quantity, and just over half 56 per cent reckoned they enjoyed sex more now than they did in their 20s and 30s. When asked at what age in their lives the women had felt most sexy, the average was about 34.
Despite growing older, the respondents appeared confident of their attractiveness and looks, with nearly four out of 10 (39 per cent) admitting to having had a toy boy and dating a man much younger than them. The average age of a younger partner was 10.7 years, although nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of the women who had dated younger men had been out with a partner more than 15 years younger.
About one in 20 women (4.5 per cent) had dated men more than 25 years younger than them.
Partners of younger men said they preferred youth because of the following factors, in order of popularity:
1) More fun (34 per cent)
2) Make me feel good (29 per cent)
3) Greater stamina (29 per cent)
4) Fewer hang-ups than older men (23 per cent)
5) Better sex (23 per cent)
6) Better physiques (22 per cent)
7) Make me look good (7 per cent)
Skin and the sex facto
Confidence about skin quality played a significant part in how the women felt about sex just over half (53 per cent) said they had good skin which made them feel more sexy and just under half (47 per cent) thought they had poor skin which made them feel less sexy.
Nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of respondents said skin quality was a factor in the enjoyment of sex.
Astral – on trial
In-home trials were undertaken by 20 women aged 50-59 who were each given a large tub of Astral to use for three weeks. A pre-trial interview investigated attitudes towards skincare in general, skincare concerns, products currently used, and perceived differences between the older and younger generations regarding skin habits. After three weeks respondents were re-interviewed to find out how they had used Astral and whether they had found it to be effective.
The survey was carried out in five locations in England: London/South; South/West (Worcestershire); Nottingham; Manchester; West Yorkshire, during August 2008.
The views of a 50+ women
So what do women say?…
Attitudes to skincare
Appearance of the face and hair were considered to be the most important when creating a good first impression
The visual condition of the skin was most worrying to those who took part in the research, with lines and wrinkles and lack of elasticity cited as the biggest concerns. These issues were considered to be more important than thread veins, uneven pigmentation, spots or blemishes, open pores or greasy skin.
All respondents said that they want simple yet effective skincare products, with 90 per cent saying this is very important to them. Eight out of 10 women believe that traditional skincare products can be as effective as more expensive, high-tech brands.
All respondents want to look good for their age, with 80 per cent agreeing strongly with the statement. Most also believe that women in their 50s are expected to look good, implying that pressure from external sources, such as media and peers is a factor. For most women it is more important to look good for their age than to look young.
Three quarters of the women in the study say that they have changed their skincare regime over the years to keep them looking good.
Nearly all the women in the study (95 per cent) say that they use make-up or colour cosmetics and daytime moisturiser. More use daytime moisturiser, cream cleanser, body moisturiser facial washes, night cream or eye cream now than in their 20s.
The above increase in the use of beauty products reflects both a wider availability of products and a choice by the women to change their skincare regime in order to reflect the altered needs of their mature skin. Nearly half of the women (45 per cent) say that their skin needs more nourishment now and nearly one in three of the women (30 per cent) say that the menopause made their skin drier.
Choosing a moisturiser
Thirty five per cent of the women stick with a moisturiser for at least five years, once they find one that they like. The most common reasons for trying a new moisturiser are recommendations from friends and relatives, editorial endorsements and value for money.
Wise words from mums
The women were all asked what skincare advice they could remember from their own mothers. Good cleansing was the key point that came through but, quite interestingly, adequate moisturising was not a skincare tip that had been handed down to them.
From one generation to another
When asked whether they thought that young women today take greater care of their skin than they did when they were young, a considerable majority agreed it was the case (85 per cent). Some forty per cent think that this is due to women knowing more about what they should do and why it is important for good skin care. More than one third (35 per cent) think it is due to increased media pressure and some thirty per cent think it can be attributed to a wider choice of products being available today than they had decades ago
When asked what advice they would like to pass to young women about skincare, caring for the skin from the inside as well as the outside came through. One quarter (25 per cent) advised on a simple but daily skincare regime and more than half (55 per cent) say that eating healthily is important.
Managing ageing skin
For long-term benefit to the skin, several factors were cited by the women. All the women think that a simple daily skincare regime including moisturising is of benefit 90 per cent of women said that it is of considerable benefit. All the women also think that eating healthily is important; 70 per cent think cutting stress or getting more sleep is a key and water is vital. Just 20 per cent thought that professional skincare, such as facials, is important.
Most of the women (80 per cent) say that they would not consider having cosmetic surgery, botox or laser treatments. A further seventy per cent would not have microdermabrasion. Fifty per cent have had professional facials, however. Twenty per cent had tried dermatological anti-ageing treatments or creams.
Where did you use it?
On arms/legs 85%
On face 65%
On hands 65%
On neck 55%
On knees or elbows 40%
On feet 40%
On body 35%
Results USING ASTRAL
A considerable majority (85 per cent) found Astral:
effective in soothing and hydrating the skin in general
effective at preventing dry skin
effective in maintaining moisture balance of skin
In addition, 80 per cent noted that Astral was adept at treating patches of very dry skin.
Sixty per cent of the trial participants said that immediately after using Astral, their skin felt soft; 40 per cent said that it was smooth and more than one in three (35 per cent) said that it felt hydrated. After using Astral regularly throughout the 3-week trial, 60 per cent of women said their skin felt softer, half described their skin as smoother and 40 per cent referred to their skin as hydrated.
Overall, respondents felt that Astral is good for mature skin and a tried and tested product.
Finally, the study looked at whether the women would continue to use Astral and 70 per cent said a categorical yes.
Appearance is important to women whatever the age. Most of us want to look the best we can. Beautiful skin is a vital part of that because it is always on show.
As we get older, it can be more difficult to keep our skin looking good because its needs change and we do not always adapt our skincare regime to reflect the changes in our skins requirements. Optimum hydration and nutrition of our skin from both the inside and the outside is the key. Finding an effective moisturiser, which is easy-to-use and gentle on the pocket is not always easy to achieve, but this trial shows that Astral is proven to offer exactly that.
Astral was first launched in 1950. Millions of women have been using this all-over moisturiser over the last 50-plus years and generations of ladies have experienced smooth, soft skin thanks to Astrals, rich, intense formulation.
The cream is the same today as it was when it launched. Why change a perfect recipe? We dont change the formula, as the loyal Astral consumers wouldnt stand for it.
Astral is full of delicately balanced and nourishing ingredients which make it a perfect all-over moisturiser. It can be used every day to keep skin soft, hydrated and supple. It can even tackle the driest skin on elbows and feet. Versatile Astral can also be used as an after-sun
lotion and make-up remover.
Skincare expert and GP, Dr Trisha MacNair, says Your skin is your largest organ. It covers your entire body and has a surface area of around two square metres. In total, your skin accounts for around 16 per cent of your body weight. Because our skin is such an important organ, taking care of it is vital and that means starting with a cream that you can trust and can really help keep your skin well nourished and moisturised.
Elixir editor, Avril OConnor notes: Astral you can really rely on. It is a great, all-over body moisturiser, suitable for all skin types and needs. As a cream it is clever. It actually locks in the skins natural moisture, while still allowing it to breathe. As a result, because the cream can actually lock in moisture, it can feed the skin well; keeping it really well hydrated, which is vital to our skin health needs. This working action also means that Astral leaves your skin fresh and soft.
She continues, The other great news about Astral is its versatility. Not only is it extremely effective on traditional dry areas of the skin, such as elbows, knees, heels of the feet, skin around the hand nail area, but it is also a cream that is multi-functional in other ways. For instance, it can be used as an after-sun lotion; make-up remover and cleanser to name a few of the jobs. How many creams do you know that can be trusted to do all those skincare needs well? None as far as I am concerned.
Astral is available in Boots, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Superdrug, Tesco and all good chemists. It comes in three pot sizes: 50ml the the handbag pot, which is perfect for on-the-go indulgence (£1.49); 200ml – with all the different uses of Astral, many women get a few 200ml pots and keep one by the bed, one in the bathroom, one by the kitchen sink or any place where Astral might come in handy (£4.19); 500ml – Astral prides itself on being a premium quality product with a great value price (£7.99). With the 500ml pot women get even more for their money.
Common questions about Astral
Q. Has Astral been dermatologically tested?
Q. Is Astral suitable for use by Muslims?
A. Yes, Lanolin and Lanolin alcohol are extracted from sheeps wool. However, Lanolin Alcohol is produced by a chemical reaction with lanolin, i.e. it is man-made rather than the type of alcohol that you drink.
Q. Is Astral tested on animals?
Q. Does Astral contain any animal products?
A. Astral contains Glycerin, which is purely synthetic, Lanolin, which is extracted from sheeps wool and Lanolin, which is produced by a chemical reaction with Lanolin.
Q. Where can I buy Astral from?
A. Boots, Superdrug, Sainsburys, Safeway, Asda, Morrisons, Lloyds and all good chemists.
Q. What sizes does Astral come in?
A. A 50ml pot, 200ml pot and 500ml pot.
Q. The new pots of Astral have a different ingredients list, has the formula changed?
A. No, the formula is identical, but new EU regulations mean that all toiletries and cosmetics need to list more ingredients on the label.
Q. Does Astral contain perfume?
A. Yes, the perfume in Astral is unique to the brand and has remained unchanged over the years.
One independent web site has received 23 reviews of Astral and it found that 96 per cent of women recommended it.
Value for Money 9.3/10
Reviewer Rating 9.7/10
Overall Rating 9.4/10