There’s no denying that we can’t stop time. But when it comes to changes to our skin as the decades pass, there are things we can do to combat signs of aging, making time seem to slow, if not halt.
“Every patient is unique when it comes to anti-aging regimens and many factors play a role in choosing which interventions are appropriate, including skin type, facial shape, extent of sun damage, and level of fat pad atrophy,” explains dermatologist Jordan Carqueville of The Skin Care Center in Glenview and Chicago. “As a general guideline, the 20s and 30s are focused on prevention and early intervention. The 40s and 50s are focused on intervention and maintenance. The 60s and 70s are focused on continued maintenance. It’s never too late to start intervention, though it can be more challenging to start later in life. Good skin health starts early and is maintained through the years.”
Here are the most important steps you can take to take care of your skin during every decade.
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- Sunscreen is a must! “Sunscreen prevents solar elastosis (loss of elasticity in skin due to sun exposure), thinning of the skin, and skin cancer,” says Carqueville. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF 30 or above, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and water resistance.
- Remove your makeup and use face wash daily. Exfoliate at least once a week.
- Moisturizer, eye cream and serum are imperative.
- Antioxidants and retinols are key. Antioxidants prevent free-oxygen radicals that contribute to aging and skin cancer. Retinols are Vitamin A derivatives, which stimulate new collagen production. Over-the-counter, try Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or Avène Retrinal. For a stronger prescription-grade option, try Obagi Refissa Tretinoin Cream.
- “Neuromodulators (Botox/Dysport) may be used at this time if lines at rest are visible,” explains Carqueville. “Botox prevents contraction of muscles that crush the collagen and create wrinkles. Also, consider skin peels or micro-needling for skin texture treatments.”
- Wear sunglasses! “Now is the time for prevention,” says Katherine Pappas, principal at EGEA Spa in Evanston. “Your sunglasses are more than an accessory; they minimize squinting and protect skin from UV rays.”
- Add neck cream to your regimen. While you probably don’t have sagging skin or lines along your décolletage yet, around this time skin starts to loosen. Apply a neck cream nightly — you’ll thank yourself later. Try Clarins Extra-Firming Neck Cream. It plumps and smoothes skin (and the scent is divine).
- “Apply a nighttime eye cream that contains peptides to help strengthen the skin and help the skin retain water,” Pappas says. “Also, swipe a glycolic acid pad over your face three times a a week to instantly resurface your face gently.” Try Glytone Antioxidant Anti-aging Eye Cream and HydroPeptide 5xPower Peel.
- Brenda Bonomo, stylist and salon educator at Pascal Pour Elle in Glencoe, suggests using a moisturizing shampoo, conditioner and, once a week, a deep conditioning treatment, (three to four times a week for dehydrated or very curly hair) and a heat protectant when using thermal tools.
- Pappas recommends quarterly facials to keep skin glowing.
- “It’s never too early to work on those forehead elevens,” Pappas notes. “A little Xeomin injected twice a year acts as an insurance policy.”
- Carqueville advises continuing the same regimen recommended for your 20s, but consulting with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon about having hyaluronic acid filler in the tear troughs or cheeks. Intense pulsed light treatments help correct brown sun spots.
- Load up on water to hydrate and plump skin.
- Because your skin has started to change, it may be time to update your makeup. Foundation should be more sheer and blended well so it doesn’t cake in fine lines. Try a brighter color of lipstick to wake up your face. Avoid shimmer in your eyeshadow and lip products.
- Begin getting monthly facials. Microderm facials are also beneficial for wrinkle prevention.
- “As your skin thins, the texture under the eyes becomes an issue and an ‘age indicator.’ Fine lines and wrinkles may increase, and if you haven’t already started using a retinol, now is the time as it stimulates skin-firming collagen,” explains Pappas. Try Avène RetrinAl Eyes, which has a slow and gentle release of vitamin A along with hyaluronic acid.
- Ask your skincare provider about monthly acid peels to exfoliate and brighten skin.
- Hair begins to go through many changes at this time. “It can become dry, thin, weak, and often turns gray and changes in texture,” says Bonomo. “I like to use products in the label.m Therapy Range to help combat these very key signs of aging. Collagen hydrating treatments are more important than ever in this phase and moving forward, as they strengthen and plump hair to reduce coarseness. Hydration adds shine, manageability and softness.”
- “By the age of 50, free radicals and environmental elements are officially taking a toll on the skin’s ability to repair,” explains Pappas. Expressions lines are more defined. Elastin and collagen production have significantly declined. To combat this, try ZO Growth Factor Serum, which protects and repairs. Pair with ZO Ossential Daily Power Defense each morning under your sunscreen.
- Teeth darken as we age. There are many safe and effective whitening products that will enhance your smile.
- Pappas incorporates cosmetic fillers, and injectables (like Xeomin) along with non-invasive laser services to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation. Monthly facials and “no downtime” acid peels like a TCA peel at EGEA will brighten your face while softening fine lines.
- “By now, menopause has dramatically impacted hair vitality,” explains Bonomo. “The hair continues to gradually thin and become duller, so in addition to your moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a hydrating treatment three to four times a week can help. Consult with a professional.”
- In addition to changes in hair, menopause affects your skin, causing dryness and even acne. As hormones levels drop, collagen production drops as well. Don’t skip the serum before your moisturize. Look for a serum with hyaluronic acid to add moisture like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel.
Your 60s and beyond
- Don’t forget your brows. An arch and tint frames your face.
- Carqueveille recommends a combination of fractionated resurfacing lasers (which help tighten, improve fine lines and wrinkles, and eliminate brown spots with around five to seven days of downtime) and Ultherapy (which tightens and lifts skin).
- “Maintenance is key to the longevity of your appearance,” says Pappas. “Xeomin (the injectable of choice at EGEA) can still be effective along with cosmetic collagen boosting fillers for wrinkles or sunken areas and laser skin tightening for your jowls and neck.”
- Make sure you are using a stronger retinol to help sluggish skin turn over and look polished. Try ZO Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair.
- Keratin protein becomes more important in maintaining hair structure. A protein treatment will add shine to hair.