Skincare Secrets for Every Age
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Skin Deep1 of 11
By Jessica Baumgardner
Don't you wish that taking care of your skin over the years was as simple as lather, rinse and repeat? In reality, your skin's needs change about as frequently as your favorite handbag—so your beauty regimen has to keep up with the times. We asked skincare expert Kate Somerville about common age-specific issues, and what we should be doing each decade so that even as time goes by, our faces look as ageless as possible.
Prevent Sun Damage2 of 11
Most women in their 20s have naturally glowing skin, but now's the time to develop the habit of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and most importantly, wearing sunscreen. "Many issues I see with clients could have been avoided with more diligent sun protection when they were younger," says Somerville. And don't be afraid to go incognito: "Wearing a hat and sunglasses will protect delicate skin when you're out in the sun for longer periods of time," says Somerville.
Banish Breakouts3 of 11
According to Somerville, most women have combination skin at this age, so there may not be a one-size-fits-all product for your entire face. Instead, she suggests treating oily spots and flare-ups with medicated products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel or tea tree oil. Sulfur can also keep breakouts at bay: "Its antimicrobial properties inhibit the growth of bacteria while unclogging pores and shedding dead skin cells."
Fight Fine Lines4 of 11
This is the decade when expression lines, like crow’s feet around your eyes, start to pop up. Start focusing on anti-aging products that will boost your declining collagen production. "If you haven’t started using a peptide eye cream already, now is the time to do so," says Somerville. She also recommends adding light therapy treatments to your monthly facial. "Red and white lights stimulate collagen and elastin production, while softening lines and evening out skin tone over time," she says.
Slough Safely5 of 11
When you turn 30, cell turnover (your skin's natural shedding process) starts to sputter, and the surface of your skin can appear drier, duller and damaged. "Exfoliation is absolutely crucial now for removing dry, dead skin cells," says Somerville. She advises looking for products with fruit enzymes, gentle acids (like lactic acid) and smooth microbeads. "Avoid natural scrubs with pits or seeds as they are rough and can damage your skin," she says.
Diminish Dark Spots6 of 11
The tanning mistakes you made in your teens and 20s will start to show up now as brown spots. Don't let up on the sunscreen—your spots will only darken and multiply without daily SPF. "Retinol's one of the most powerful anti-aging tools available," says Somerville. "It increases cell turnover, evens tone and texture, and treats brown spots." If your skin has been too sensitive to retinoids, such as Retin-A, in the past, look for the newer shelf-stable retinols (aka non-prescription). "These new formulations gently infuse skin with pure retinol without skin irritation or flaking," she explains.
Smooth Things Over7 of 11
Are your pores looking more like manholes? "Pores can get bigger as you age because your skin loses elasticity," says Somerville. For a smooth-as-porcelain look, focus on clearing pores and tightening skin. "Gentle peels or exfoliating products with lactic or glycolic acids can help reduce the appearance of pore size and smooth out skin texture," suggests Somerville, adding that "retinols will also clean and tighten pores over time."
Reduce Wrinkles8 of 11
Remember those fine lines from your 30s? Well, they've graduated to deep wrinkles. "Look for serums and creams with hyaluronic acid to seal moisture on the skin and plump up fine lines and wrinkles," says Somerville. This might be the time to bring out the big guns: laser treatments. Somerville recommends the Pearl laser, which treats surface lines, deep wrinkles, scarring and sun damage. "Keep in mind that there are at least three days of down time after laser treatments, and it's best to plan to have the treatment during the winter to avoid direct exposure to sun," she counsels.
Get Even9 of 11
Menopause (and the loss of estrogen) is the defining moment for your skin in this decade. "Your skin thins and the supportive fat layer degenerates, which causes sagging," says Somerville. She likes using products with green tea extract on menopausal skin to promote elasticity, even tone, soothe irritation and reduce redness. "You can also see incredible results with injectable fillers, which will plump out those areas that have become hollow."
Stay Hydrated10 of 11
The common denominator for skin in your 60s is desert-like dryness, caused from low cell turnover and a lack of estrogen. "Dry skin is the result of dead skin cells, so be sure to exfoliate regularly," says Somerville. And think beyond the heavy creams for thirsty skin: "Look for a serum with humectants (such as sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid) to bring hydration and moisture back on a cellular level. Hydrated skin cells look and function better."
Tighten Up11 of 11
The aging train keeps on chugging along, and your skin in this decade faces much of the same issues as in your 50s, just a little more intensely. To fight the war on wrinkles and fine lines, "look for products packed with peptides," says Somerville. "Treatment-wise, I love the Titan laser, which is like a non-surgical facelift that is safe and painless. It uses infrared light to tighten and add volume to the skin, and is especially good for lifting the brow and eyelids and tightening the neck and jaw line."