Changing Skin Care as the Seasons Change (the age-related seasons this time)- Part Four
Welcome back to our last skincare blog, ladies. Today, we’ll be looking at our…
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), at this stage in life, we start dealing with perimenopause. That means deeper wrinkles set in around the mouth and eyes, lines deepen, hyperpigmentation darkens, skin thins, and texture becomes less even. There’s an overall loss of volume in the face as we start to lose subcutaneous fat. Plus, the balance tips, and you start breaking down more fat and collagen than you produce.
So what do we do in response? Prescription tretinoin is the strongest retinol on the market to combat that loss of collagen.
Acne also often spikes here thanks to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels. Especially the large cystic type and along the jawline which can scar worse than anything you dealt with as an awkward and angsty teen. Not to fear because it’s still okay to use salicylic acid if you’re struggling with that acne.
Since cell turnover is slower, an exfoliant can help as well- in your cleanser, in your toner, or as a separate serum. But pick carefully- like mandelic acid, polyhydroxy acid such as gluconolactone, or lactic acid. Avoid exfoliating and using retinol on the same nights though.
In this decade, we also need to see a tighter focus on vitamin C, retinol, and SPF. However, it is perfectly fine to combine a face cream and retinol into one step (or a face cream and SPF).
Perhaps most importantly, up the ante at night big time to fight aging. Solution? Antioxidants like resveratrol, growth factors, and peptides can help with collagen production. Alternate between alpha hydroxy acids and lighteners to treat hyperpigmentation.
The drop in estrogen can also lead to dryness. So never forget to moisturize. And pull it down to your neck - add your chest in as well at this stage.
Eye cream with actives like vitamin A can help with dermal thickness and under-eye darkness by prompting drainage and microcirculation.
And if you’re struggling with sensitivity, choose a moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients like polyphenol, grapeseed extract and those that improve skin elasticity and resilience like coenzyme Q10, copper peptides, DMAE, and alpha lipoic acid.
But a good diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants will do much much more than any external product for radiance - including wild salmon, avocado, flaxseeds, and spinach which reduce the body producing inflammatory compounds.
A good suggested routine? Gentle face wash, serum, retinol, cream-based moisturizer.
Or face wash, treatment serum, retinol, eye cream, moisturizer.
(and you too can look as good as Sophia and Kate here courtesy of Hypebae and Champagne and Shade)
Moving along, we come to…
Welcome to the land of menopause (if only that stood for the ability to put the men in your life on pause when need be).
At this point, we can start to see bone resorption leading to sagging and drooping in your face. Collagen and bone loss combined translates into looser skin and decreased volume, mainly in the mid and lower sections of the face. There are significant changes to the deeper facial structure, jowls and texture changes to the neck. Sun damage is becoming more visible, with deeper lines, and broken blood vessels can plague you as well.
What should our response be? In this decade, definitely go for a prescription strength retinol if your skin can handle it.
Dryness will become your biggest issue, so your new mantra is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. As sebum production drops, less oil means you’re more sensitive to climate and season changes.
Solution? Use mornings to hydrate and nourish from cleanser all the way over to eye cream, and if you haven’t added in hyaluronic acid yet, do so immediately - work the product that contains that in at least once per day if not more.
If you have time, add a sheet mask in before makeup application, something with hyaluronic acid to plump up skin. And you don’t have to save that for once a week or special occasions.
At night, slather everything on- now is not the time to be stingy!
Probably go for a separate neck cream if you haven’t already.
Add in product on the top of your hands as well. Skin thins here too, so it needs special treatment.
And you can use alpha hydroxy acid exfoliators 4-5 times per week if you can handle it.
Day creams should be combo packs- antioxidants, vitamins C, E, and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Upgrade everything to the moisturizing formulas - emollient and creamy.
Booking glycolic peels is a good idea as well if you can splurge a little.
And finally, reduce your stress. Use yoga, meditation, shopping therapy- anything really that takes you to your happy place. Ageing makes our bodies less effective at handling stress hormones, and that can age us because cortisol levels don’t return to normal as quickly as they did in our trendy twenties.
A good routine? Face wash, serum, retinol, eye cream, neck cream, moisturizer.
Or gentle face wash, serum, exfoliator, retinol, cream-based moisturizer.
(and you can rock a red carpet as well as Viola Davis or Tamlyn Tomita courtesy of Backstage and IMDb)
Which brings us to our…
Sexy Sixties and So On
You might now notice these changes- drier, thinner, paper-like, itchy, age spotted, wrinkled, creased, blotchier, more irritated, more susceptible to infection, more easily bruised, sweating less, and/or healing more slowly skin.
Solution? Eventually, go back to micellar water as your go-to cleanser because skin is thinner, so it loses moisture easier and more rapidly.
Brown spots and hyperpigmentation are big concerns now. So start concentrating on products and serums that work to lighten discoloration and reduce pigmentation.
Look for antioxidants, alpha arbutin, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, azelaic acid, and retinoids as ingredients in your products.
Add in even heavier moisture.
But that also means add in more products that repair the skin barrier.
Definitely go for multiple products with hyaluronic acid and glycerin as humectants that draw in moisture.
And it’s not a bad idea to shoot for some firming peptides.
You probably need to adjust exfoliation frequency too to keep skin from drying out.
Plus, keep in mind that medications can exacerbate lack of moisture and/or irritation and inflammation.
What else? Bathe to relieve dry skin with gentle, fragrance-free, moisturizing soap - look for lanolin, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin on the label.
Use warm, not hot water.
Use a soft cloth.
Keep it short.
Pat the water off gently and leave some moisture on the surface of your skin.
Apply a creamy, fragrance-free moisturizer for dry skin within 3 minutes of exiting the tub (or huge Jacuzzi if you’re really lucky).
And then throughout the day, reapply.
Use a humidifier because both indoor heating and cooling can dry skin out.
Go for 45-60% humidity indoors. Simply use a hydrometer to gauge that accurately.
And it’s not a bad idea to wear gloves while doing house and garden work.
Even though you can see sun damage, that doesn’t mean you should stop with the SPF- in fact, be even more careful.
Stay in the shade, especially between 10:00 and 2:00.
Wear protective clothing- lightweight long sleeves and pants, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, clothing with UPF (check the label), and of course the SPF.
Go fragrance free on all products.
Stop using perfume, cologne, etc. - even unscented which has something in it to kill the scent.
Past 50, start checking your skin for signs of skin cancer. If a spot is different from others, if it changes, itches, or bleeds, go see a dermatologist.
In fact, the older you get, the more beneficial it is to see a dermatologist regularly, even for cosmetic purposes, to come up with the best individualized routine for you since we all age gracefully but very differently.
(and you will light up a room like Jamie Lee, Desperately Seeking Susan Sarandon, and Dame Judi Dench courtesy of Bio.com, The Hollywood Reporter, and IMDb)
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, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs MD, Heidi Waldorf MD, American Academy of Dermatology Association