Skin Care Through the Ages
By Melissa Gulden
Beauty by the Numbers
By Melissa Gulden
I TRY TO KEEP the attitude that aging is a blessing; after all, what is the alternative? But just because you rack up some trips around the sun doesn’t mean your skin needs to tell the world exactly how many. Get your best skin at every age. Here are some radiance-boosting strategies and powerhouse products designed to outsmart aging in every decade.
20s - Protect and Prevent
Dermatologists agree: The best thing you can do for 20-something skin is to apply—and reapply—sunscreen daily, rain or shine. If only I had listened! UV exposure accounts for up to 90 percent of visible aging, making sunscreen your best defense against spots and wrinkles. Choose a formula with SPF 30 or higher, and combine it with retinol to increase cell turnover and further stave off the arrival of fine lines. Fight acne and aging with superhero ingredient retinol, which helps with fine lines as well as the breakouts triggered by hormones, nutritional choices or lack of sleep and stress. It’s important to be mindful of what you put on your skin, as it can contribute to your overall well-being. Try Honest Beauty Younger+Clearer Resurfacing Cleanser, $18; Younger+Clearer Night Serum, $38; StriVectin Advanced Retinol Day Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $99.
30s - Smooth Skin with Multitaskers
Changes to your skin texture, like large pores and fine lines that may start to appear in your 30s, can be minimized with glycolic acid, which stimulates cell turnover. When applied topically, glycolic acid sloughs off the dead cells that accumulate on the skin’s surface to reveal a smoother, more refined complexion. When committing to a new skin-care step, especially a multitasking one, patience is key. Stick with something for several months before moving on. Try Lancôme Absolue Precious Cells Rose Drop Night Peeling Concentrate, $110. Vitamin C, which has been popping up in a slew of new skin-care products, is a powerful antioxidant that fades dark spots and any irregular pigmentation, so your skin looks brighter and more even-toned. For best results, use a vitamin C serum in the morning (you can mix it in with your SPF) to neutralize damaging free-radicals, and again at night so your skin restores itself while you sleep. (Try Rhonda Allison C-Stem Cell serum, $80.)
40s - Target Collagen
Now’s the time to focus on rebuilding collagen, a structural protein that’s essential for keeping your complexion plump and line-free. Look for products that deliver essential amino acids and copper to the deepest layers of the skin’s surface to target collagen type III – which is abundant at birth and decreases as we age – collagen type I, elastin and hyaluronic acid. (Try the L’Oréal Revitalift line, such as Triple Power Intensive Skin Revitalizer serum+moisturizer, $24.99.) And don’t forget the skin on your body! Nourish with honey from head to toe. Not only is it extremely soothing, it’s also well known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial attributes. (Jergens Nourishing Honey Dry Skin Moisturizer, $5.99.)
50s - Soften Lines
Research has found that the damaging effects of sun exposure, pollution and chronic stress have a significant impact on the aging process, which, by the time you’re in your 50s, show up as wrinkles and creases. Skin hydration levels decrease naturally at night, which is why choosing an effective moisturizer before bed is so important. Look for products that contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which draw in and retain moisture in the skin. Choose a moisturizer that also has peptides to stimulate collagen, and antioxidants to optimize skin’s restorative properties while you sleep. Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator promises three days of continuous moisturizing, thanks to a new technology that helps the skin rehydrate itself ($19). And RoC Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Crème has wrinkle-fighting retinol to speed up cell turnover at night ($22.99).
60s - Firm Your Neck
You can’t stop gravity, but you can fight its results (i.e. sagging and slack skin) by committing to a neck cream. A good formula should contain skin plumpers like hyaluronic acid, as well as firming ingredients such as peptides and algae extract. You don’t necessarily need a separate product, as a night cream will do just fine, but L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Face, Neck & Chest ($20) is targeted specifically for the neck and décolleté. Or try a serum, which can be used on the face as well (No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum, $34). No matter what product you choose, be sure it has ingredients to visibly lift and tighten the skin, as well as smooth horizontal necklines.
Ultimately, though the arsenal of products in your medicine cabinet can slow down the aging process and make your skin glow, making healthy lifestyle choices is the best thing you can do, not only for your skin but for your overall well being. Stopping smoking and other dangerous habits, choosing a diet rich in antioxidants and getting enough exercise and rest are the things that will truly make a difference in the long run. •