Beauty: Saving Face

By Sheniqua Faulkner
In Feature, Style

Beautiful skin at any age

 

With thousands of skincare products that promise to lift, plump, firm, diminish, enhance, smooth, tone and everything in between, it can be intimidating to know which is right for your skin. And because our skin and its needs change as we age, it seems that once we think we have it all figured out, our skin freaks. With these no-fuss tips, you’ll solve the skincare puzzle and maintain healthy, beautiful skin for life.

20s: Prevent

The Good: Your skin is a collagen-producing powerhouse, which lends plumpness to the surface that reflects light for a youthful glow that women in their 30s, 40s and beyond envy.

The Bad: An “I’m young and invincible” attitude can make it tempting to skimp on your skincare routine or cause you to be unnecessarily harsh on that baby face.

The Ugly: Breakouts, oiliness, large pores and tired eyes with dark circles from late nights of studying—or partying.

The Answer:
Practice a gentle, simple routine in your 20s, but stick to it. Establishing good habits now will be the best investment you can make in your skin for the long haul.

  • CLEANSER
    Seek a mild cleanser and skip those with perfumes or dyes. Harsh cleansers strip skin of natural oils that are useful for lubricating the surface and keeping the pH of the skin mantle. If your skin is dry, use a milky or creamy cleanser; if it’s oily, choose a gentle foam or gel.
  • MOISTURIZER
    Take your pick; just be sure it has an SPF of at least 20 and wear it every day (any UVA/UVB protection your makeup might have is typically not enough). If your face tends to be an oil slick by mid-morning, look for a moisturizer that’s oil-free. Also, check the label for ingredients such as rice protein and silica— they’re great mattifiers.
  • NIGHTTIME TREATMENT
    Most dermatologists recommend 20-somethings start using a retinoid, vitamin A-derived prescription such as Retin-A or Tazorac that are fabulous for treating acne, smoothing fine lines and keeping collagen levels up. Gentler, over-the-counter retinols are also effective. Before bed, use a pea-sized amount all over your face.

Lifestyle Tip: Stop smoking! If you smoke, now is the time to quit while your skin has resiliency. In addition to the scary health risks, smoking leads to premature skin aging. Nicotine causes the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin to narrow, which impairs blood fl ow to your skin. This means it doesn’t get as much oxygen and important nutrients, such as Vitamin A. What’s more, many of the 4,000+ chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage the collagen and elastin that give your skin elasticity. So, put down the pack for good. Smokefree.gov has great information and tools to help you quit.

30s: Repair

The Good By now, you’ve probably established the importance of a skincare routine and likely have an overall confidence in your appearance that younger women may lack.

The Bad Old habits die hard; now is the time to transition from young-adult skincare to a more serious anti-aging approach, which can be difficult if you’re dealing with breakouts and fine lines at the same time.

The Ugly Sun damage, discoloration from melasma (“the mask of pregnancy” or from birth control usage), fine lines and wrinkles—some deepening, especially those around the mouth and eyes.

The Answer At this age, it’s all about using the right type of products—and applying them consistently—to fight acne and fine lines simultaneously. Look for products with dual-preventing ingredients to treat both sides of your skin during this tricky in-between age.

  • CLEANSER
    In the morning, wash with a cleanser that contains alpha hydroxy acids. AHAs encourage cell turnover, which can begin to slow down as you age. At night, use a more soothing, creamy or milky cleanser.
  • MOISTURIZER
    Continue to moisturize with a product containing UVA/UVB protection during the day, but now look for one that has a boost of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C. Puffy eyes? Use an eye cream that contains caffeine. Plagued by dark under-eye circles? Seek one with brightening soy, kojic acid or licorice.
  • NIGHTTIME TREATMENT
    Continue with your diligent retinoid or retinol treatment. More so than in your 20s, this step is vital for combating fine lines and loss of firmness. If you notice your over-the-counter retinol treatment is not as effective as it was in your 20s, talk to your dermatologist about getting more potency with a prescription.

Lifestyle Tip
Stress less, sleep more! Stress of daily life can manifest itself on your face in the form of out-of-nowhere acne eruptions, blotchiness or all-over dullness. One of the most effective ways to bust stress is to get plenty of sleep. Not only is snoozing restorative to skin, it gives you the energy you need to conquer things that might otherwise send you into a stress-induced tizzy. Skin (and sanity) saved!

40s and Beyond: Rejuvenate

The Good You’ve seen fad products come and go, and by now, you’re sharp enough to discern gimmicks from what really works.

The Bad If you haven’t been maintaining a good skincare regimen, it can be difficult to start being diligent now. But it’s not impossible, and the results will be well worth it.

The Ugly
Deepening lines, creases and wrinkles, saggy skin, cumulative sun damage, loss of moisture, dullness.

The Answer Now it’s time to take your skincare routine to a whole new level with extra measures of protection and prevention. And don’t be afraid to involve a dermatologist to assure you’re doing what’s best for your complexion.

  • CLEANSER
    If your skin is dry and tight or irritated after washing, be sure to use a rich, creamy cleanser and avoid ones with salicylic acids or AHAs. 40- and 50-something skin is thinner than that of its younger counterparts, so harsh acids can strip the skin easily. If your skin is a little oilier, seek a wash that has a very mild AHA and use it only once a day.
  • MOISTURIZER
    You should still be slathering on a broad-spectrum sun protection daily, and be sure to wear sunglasses and a hat when necessary. Depending on your specific skincare concerns, add a serum, lotion or cream containing peptides (helps with sagginess), antioxidants or humectants such as hyaluronic acid, shea butter or argan oil.
  • NIGHTTIME TREATMENT
    In your 40s and beyond, a prescription retinoid treatment is ideal for smoothing deeper lines, breaking up dark patches and boosting firmness, all of which will help recapture luminosity. You can skip an eye cream by using your retinoid carefully around the eyes.

Lifestyle Tip
Stay hydrated! At 40 years old and beyond, skin’s natural hydration is diminished. Because skin is 75 percent water, it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day in addition to applying topical moisturizers. Hydrated skin is plumper, smoother and healthier.

 

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Skincare for every age

Beautiful skin in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond

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Skincare for every age

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Skincare for every age

Hydrate yourself for great-looking skin

 

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