When we’re young we have the whole world in front of us, and we’re going to live forever; unstoppable, indestructible, forever beautiful.
Wouldn’t that be lovely?
The sad reality is that as we age, our bodies require more TLC. Caring for older skin is no different. In your younger years you can get away with the wash-n-go lifestyle for facial care. As the years progress, things change and you suddenly wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and are surprised that your face has aged.
Pay attention to your skin and its needs now, wherever you are in life, and your future self will thank you!
Skin Care for Your 20s
Prevention is key here! You may not believe it now, but we assure you.
Sun exposure is responsible for most of the visible signs of aging. So much so, that its contribution far outweighs all other contributing factors, combined! All those wrinkles, pigmentation, age spots (liver spots), and reduced elasticity are mostly a direct result of the amount of time you spend unprotected in the sun through the course of your entire life! In fact, “We get 80% of our sun damage before we’re 18,” says David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York and the author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age.
Stress and other lifestyle and environmental factors play a role, too. Partying all night, working long hours, consuming large quantities of alcohol will take an expensive toll on your skin in your later life.
What to do:
- Get plenty of sleep. This is when your skin takes the time to rejuvenate itself, especially your collagen. According to Dr. Eric F. Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, collagen provides structure to the skin, and works hand in hand with another protein, called elastin, to allow skin the flexibility it needs to stretch and return to its original state as your body moves.
- Follow a regular skin care regimen:
- Use a gentle cleanser.
- Moisturize twice daily, reaching for a day time formula that contains at least an SPF of 15. Don’t forget the antioxidants to help reverse damage caused by free radicals. “The most effective include vitamin C and tocopherol (a potent form of vitamin E),” says Bank.
- Grab a potent eye cream that contains caffeine and antioxidants, since the eyes tend to show signs of aging first.
- Use a gentle retinoid formulation a couple times a week in the evening to undo sun damage, prevent breakouts, and boost collagen production, recommends Bank.
- Exfoliate a few times each week to remove dead skin cells.
- Avoid sun exposure by staying in the shade during peak sun hours (10 am to 2 pm), wearing protective clothing and sunglasses, and applying sunscreen. Opt for a broad spectrum formula that contains at least an SPF of 30, and apply it every two hours.
- Stay away from environmental irritants, which can really cause damage, even when you’re young. Smog, particulates, and cigarette smoke are guilty parties.
Skin Care for Your 30s
Stress and the pressure from dealing with daily activities is starting to show on your skin. You may realize that previously small imperfections are more noticeable. This is when your past skin sins start to haunt you.
What to Do:
- Use skin care products that address the effects of environmental damage and pollution. Selenium and EGCG (found in green tea) are antioxidants you may want to add to your routine.
- Consider all-in-one products with multiple benefits like sun protection, hydration, and repair from past damage to make your skin routine less stressful.
- Use a night cream daily with active anti-aging ingredients like coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, and of course, antioxidants.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated from the inside-out. Eat a healthy diet rich in fiber and color (for varied vitamins and minerals).
- Exfoliate at night with a gentle product. “Look for one that contains alpha and hydroxy acids that help keep skin youthful and radiant,” says Leslie Reynolds, MD.
- Pay attention to your body skin by treating it with care. Take short, lukewarm showers using a moisturizing body wash, and use a rich body cream to stay hydrated.
Skin Care for Your 40s
Wrinkles are beginning to form for real around your lips, nose, mouth, and between your eyebrows. Your hormones are really fluctuating leading to cycles of breakouts and dryness. Hyperpigmentation increases, and skin is thinner and less even in texture. Consistency is definitely your friend here, as are more advanced skin care products to help repair damage.
What to do:
- Continue to follow a good, balanced diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to reduce inflammatory compounds.
- Retinol, glycolic acid, and peptides should be part of your daily vocabulary. Make sure your creams and cleansers contain them.
- Add hyaluronic acid fillers to plump out wrinkles and fine lines. Anti-aging cosmetics that contain these can help to increase firmness and improve your skin’s elasticity.
- Use a treatment serum to smooth out fine lines, then moisturize well. Less active oil glands mean drier skin, so choose an oil-based moisturizer that includes alpha hydroxy acids to help combat wrinkles.
Skin Care for Your 50s & 60s
Skin becomes increasingly dry as you go through menopause because of the decrease in estrogen levels. More sunspots will appear, and skin will feel rougher. Wrinkles are settling and skin around your eyes and jaw starts to sag as a result of gravity.
What to Do
- Use moisturizers rich in oils.
- Use a non-drying cleanser or creamy, foaming wash.
- According to Reynolds, “Skincare products containing stem cells and growth factors will trigger new cell growth and collagen formation over a period of time.”
- Use a facial spritz to help mature skin stay hydrated. Rosewater is particularly great for refreshing the complexion.