Changing Skin Care as the Seasons Change (the age-related seasons this time)- Part Three
As thirty is the new twenty, forty is the new thirty, and fifty is the new twenty-five (who knows what sixty and seventy are then, right?), do we really need to change up our skincare routines that much for these decades? The short answer is yes. While age is just a number, and you’re only as old as you feel (and I really do believe that), our bodies do change as we reach these decades, and so we must adjust accordingly. So what are our new best practices?
By this point, ladies, we’re dealing with increased job stress, marriage stress, child-rearing stress, and you-name-it stress, all things in life that can cause skin woes. We’re also seeing the very real accrued impact of genetic and environmental aging, plus slowing skin cell turnover. Fine lines, dull skin, and dry skin start making an appearance more regularly. Hormone levels decrease, as do collagen and elastin levels, and skin isn’t quite as firm as it used to be. We go from the porcelain finish we probably took for granted when we were fifteen to enlarged pores. And believe it or not, skin type can change now too- dry can become oily and vice versa. As many of us probably didn’t listen to the advice offered to us in our twenties (and definitely not in our teens), now is a good time to start anti-aging routines and products on targeted areas. Our overall focus then should be on supporting those diminishing collagen levels and repairing existing damage, protecting and preserving fullness and elasticity with products designed for prejuventation. So what exactly should we be doing?
1. Definitely see a dermatologist- many women start seeing issues like adult acne, pigmentation, and rosacea to go with the biological changes at this age, so if you want to nail the right products and routines specific to you and only you, complete this crucial step first.
(courtesy of Us Weekly)
2. Be gentle- per a survey by La Roche Posay, 62% of women say their skin becomes more reactive, irritable, and intolerant with age, so choosing the right products becomes even more important. Take it slow, try one new product at a time, do spot tests before using something all over your face, wait at least a few weeks to see results, and be patient- you’re not going to nail the right skincare the first time around.
3. No more wipes- they’re too abrasive, especially as skin is no longer as resilient. So it doesn’t matter how busy you are now (probably even more so than in your twenties because now you’re balancing getting kids to school while getting yourself ready too- not a fun chore), take the time to treat your skin right.
4. Micellar water is no longer an adequate cleanser- to remove your makeup yes, but not to actually cleanse skin of all impurities.
(courtesy of Tribune Content Agency)
5. Do a light morning cleanse- overnight, your skin has been undergoing a renewal process while you dreamt of rendezvous with Ian Somerhalder (or Harry Styles, Ruby Rose, or whoever), so you’re gently cleansing away that debris and those leftover toxins with a light choice.
6. Use your toner- to tighten pores before applying makeup, eliminate any toxins your cleanser missed, and rebalance your skin. Clarifying toners and antioxidant-based toners which return your skin’s PH level to 5.5 are good choices here, and this step will prep your skin for those that come after, allowing serums and whatnot to penetrate more deeply and therefore work more effectively than all on their own.
7. Spend money on the middle of your routine- on serums and active ingredients, not cleansers and moisturizers, of which there are countless great drugstore alternatives. Moisturizers do a great job of hydrating and protecting skin, but if you want to see real results, you need this step, but which of the many serums out there should you choose? It all depends on your particular skin woes of the moment.
(courtesy of NME)
L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C)- this one is an antioxidant that brightens skin and helps repair free radical damage. An antioxidant isn’t a bad idea to protect skin from the oxidative stress that comes from metabolism, pollution, and UV rays throughout the day.
PHA/ BHA/ AHA- these are exfoliating acids that can help with skin texture and balance.
Salicylic acid- it kills bacteria and dissolves the kind of debris that can lead to acne.
Ferulic acid (vitamin C and E)- this one is an antioxidant that boosts collagen and evens out skin tone.
Hyaluronic acid- these plump skin and combat dehydration, strengthen epidermal barriers and boost collagen production.
8. Moisturize and your skin will thank you for it- if you didn’t notice, we’re moving from lighter to heavier in terms of the creams, so serum, moisturizer, and then SPF. This way, the lightest liquid will penetrate the deepest, and the others will sit on top of those like protective sumo wrestlers, nourishing skin, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to combine moisturizer and SPF into one product. If dryness is a big concern for you, you might add a few drops of facial oil into your routine right before this step to give you a healthier glow.
9. But your skin will not thank you for sun exposure so SPF galore- gauge what level you need based on the duration and intensity of your exposure and how fair your skin is/how easily it burns (so you fellow gingers out there like me, go SPF 1,000 if you can find it). Women with darker skin should avoid mineral-based SPF because it can make skin look dull and ashy. Try sheer chemical UV filters instead. And if you’re prone to darker spots as a result of the sun, vitamin C will be a good serum choice for you.
(courtesy of Variety)
10. Alternate heftier cleansing alone with cleansing and exfoliating- NEVER exfoliate daily, but once, maybe twice, maaayyybe thrice per week is plenty. And it’s okay to use a more heavyweight cleanser at night because you’re cleaning off a lot more gunk at this time of day. However, if you’re using a lot of serums and active ingredients elsewhere in your routine, you might stick with a gentle cleanser here- try not to overload your skin, especially as you get older. A few times a week, you should also use a product containing alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid to boost cell turnover, perhaps in mask form to give them plenty of time to work. Although if you have darker skin, start out with just once per week and increase slowly, being wary of over-brightening.
11. Revisit your serums- Retinol (vitamin A) is an anti-aging product, and this one can also help reduce the appearance of larger pores and pigmentation. It should only ever be used at night.
But you’re welcome to also incorporate any of the other serums from your morning routine here depending on their individual application guidelines.
For your retinol, try starting slow and light with something around the .3% mark, building up slowly and reducing the chances for skin irritation. The 1% option is the other end of the spectrum which you should reach very gradually as you age.
If you’re pregnant, try bakuchiol as a safer alternative, and as it’s gentler, if you suffer from sensitive skin woes, you might choose this plant-based product instead of retinol.
Especially when you first start off on retinol, many dermatologists recommend using a peptide cream on your nights off as you’re building up. This product can help smooth expression lines and minimize wrinkles.
And as most of your active ingredients will come into play during your night routine, a calming face mist isn’t a bad idea either, something anti-inflammatory to soothe and repair skin.
(courtesy of She Knows)
12. Get out the big guns night cream- not only to moisturize but also to help support skin as it regenerates, to make it do so more efficiently while you snore, drool, steal the covers, kick your partner, and sleep ramble about your dreams (if you sleep anything like I do). Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamides are key ingredients here.
13. Give your eyes some love too- check the ingredients in your preferred night cream against what you’re hoping to purchase as an eye cream. A lot of the time, the ingredients are actually exactly the same, so you can use one for both, and save up your money for that serum splurging instead. Or if you’re particularly concerned about issues like crow’s feet and dark circles, then you might stick with two separate here. Caffeine especially works well for this part of your body. But make sure that you gently and thoroughly cover the sensitive skin around your eyes with something because age shows there first. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to carefully massage your creams into the skin on your face slowly, spending more time on this step than any other. This practice strengthens the muscles in your face and encourages collagen production, fighting the signs of aging.
14. And your neck- again, you have a decision to make: either use your night cream on your neck as well, or choose a separate product. Read the ingredients and go from there. Just make sure that you apply cream to your neck as a separate step, as opposed to swiping leftover face cream downwards and inadvertently leaving blank spots or not saturating skin thoroughly enough to help.
(courtesy of Money Inc)
Until next time…
Sources: Eden Skin Clinic, Women’s Health, Dr. Anita Sturnham, Caroline Hirons, In Style, Dr. DiAnne Davis, Dr. Ava Shamban, Best Health, Sarah Aubert, Dr. Julia Carroll, Oprah.com, David Bank MD, Nicholas Perricone MD, Marisa Garshick MD, Devan Jesmer MD, Huffington Post, Cristina Psomadakis MD
(P.S.- all of the actresses whose images appear in this blog are gorgeous and thirty, so you can be too)