Healthy Skin for Life

Skin care in your 20’s

The twenty-something years are a time when you’re most likely in skin heaven. If you’re lucky, you’ve survived your bouts with acne — your skin is clear, your pores are invisible, and your complexion is rosy, even and taut. However, if your skin is still prone to persistent blemishes or flare-ups, consider seeing a Dermatologist to get your acne under control with some of the many effective medications available.

A well-balanced diet, plenty of water and exercise, and sensible skin care can keep your skin looking healthy through your twenties. Many women will not require a moisturizer, although the addition of a light moisturizer and perhaps some gentle exfoliating treatments may be appropriate for you. One of the most important things you can do for your skin during your twenties is good sun protection to prevent discoloration and premature wrinkles. Eighty-five percent of what we think of as aging is actually caused by exposure to the sun.

For maximum sun protection, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends:

  • Use a broad-spectrum sun block with a minimum SPF15 and SPF30 for more sensitive or fair skin and those at higher risk for skin cancer.
  • Wear a hat with a brim at least 4 inches wide.
  • Apply your sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going into the sun to give the active ingredients time to soak into your skin.
  • Stay out of the sun when its rays are their strongest, between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Skin care in your 30’s

During your 30’s, you should see fewer breakouts, but you will begin to see the first signs of aging. Small changes begin to take place – the skin under your eyes begins to thin; those all-nighters you pulled during your teens and twenties may now bring about puffy dark circles under your eyes.  After 30, the skin’s natural process of exfoliation slows down and collagen and elastin fibers decrease. More water is lost which leads to drying and decreases the skin’s natural protection barrier. If you’re starting to notice fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration, it’s time to take a good look at how you’re caring for your skin.

After passing the threshold of 30, consider boosting your skin care regimen, upgrading your makeup routine, and paying more attention to the finer details of your face. Looking good in your 30’s takes more time and effort than it did at age 25, and requires a systematic program of maintenance.

Make sure to keep your skin well hydrated, especially in a dry climate or during winter months when skin is driest. You may need to use a heavier moisturizer in the evenings if your skin still feels dry. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Many moisturizers now offer sun protection too.

The thirties are a good time to consult a Dermatologist for solid advice on medical and cosmetic skin maintenance and ask questions about what to expect in the years ahead. Dermatologists have access to a vast array of treatments to help reduce or eliminate the signs of aging and improve the overall appearance of the skin.

Skin care in your 40’s

During your forties, you will see noticeable changes in your skin’s tone and texture. Your skin is no longer as tight as it used to be. Your facial tone is duller and pores may appear larger.

In this decade, you can expect signs of photodamage to become more visible: blotches, freckles, age spots, discoloration, and changes in skin color. Your Dermatologist may suggest adding products that lighten dark spots to your daily regimen to reduce the appearance of brown spots and make your complexion appear more even.

Dry skin is the root of many of these problems, so moisturizing is an important part of your 40’s skin care regimen. Your maturing skin may require more aggressive care, so make sure to explore the vast array of anti-aging products available.  Products with essential ingredients that can visibly decrease the look and feel of aging skin like retinoids, anti-oxidants and alpha hydroxy acids, are an absolute must. You can reinvigorate tired, slack skin with firming treatments that visibly improve skin firmness and texture.

Skin care in your 50’s

By your fifth decade, the aging process is in high gear. The loss of volume and fullness continues giving way to increased loose skin and sagging, pigmentary changes continue, and the collagen breakdown becomes more noticeable. The thinning skin loses its natural protective barrier and becomes drier and more sensitive to the environment, weather changes, and becomes susceptible to bruising.

As hormone production levels change, they also have dramatic effects on the skin. As a woman ages and the reproductive cycle and hormones diminish, so does the estrogen level. The primary function of estrogen in the skin is to keep it soft, supple, and hydrated. The absence of estrogen causes loss of elasticity and color, and contributes to sagging and dryness in the skin. Additional changes that appear with the onset of menopause are the overproduction of oil, enlarged pores, and facial hair growth due to the presence of testosterone. Regular facials with massage can help increase the skin’s circulation. Firming masks and hydrating treatments with mild exfoliation will also help to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance. Sun avoidance is critical, and consistent use of moisturizers and products containing anti-aging staples like retinoids, AHA’s, antioxidants, and humectants will help to reduce the signs of aging skin on the face and neck, and the ravages of hormone loss.

There are many nonsurgical techniques that your Dermatologist can recommend.  It’s an ongoing process. You can’t cure fine lines and wrinkles, but you can control them. Maintenance is the most important part.

The 60’s and beyond

The changes in the skin you experience in your fifties continue through the sixties, seventies and beyond. By now, your skin tone is becoming increasingly lax and jowls and excess folds of skin are the norm. Skin takes on a lighter color due to decreased circulation, and the results of cumulative sun exposure are most apparent. These changes are all part of the normal aging process, and genetics as well as lifestyle factors play an important role in determining how well you will age.

After menopause, when estrogen is no longer produced, added moisturization is critical. Fading age spots that have developed over years of sun exposure becomes even more critical. The better care you take of your skin in your thirties, forties, and fifties, the better your skin will look in the sixties and beyond. No discussion of an anti-aging regimen would be complete without some mention about the daily use of broad-spectrum sun protection year round. Sunscreens are not the only answer, but they are one vital part of a multi-pronged approach.

Continue on to Foods Good for The Skin.