Beauty: skin­care for all ages

Our skin is con­stantly chang­ing as we grow older, so our skin­care reg­i­men must adapt, too, writes Sheree Mut­ton.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents -

Chances are you or some­one you know has used the same skin­care prod­ucts for years. It’s a com­mon mis­take many women make be­cause the in­gre­di­ents can’t ad­dress all of your chang­ing skin con­cerns as you age. The truth is women of dif­fer­ent age groups have dif­fer­ent skin­care needs. Here, with the help of two top der­ma­tol­o­gists, we re­veal your decade-by-decade guide to skin­care to help you re­pair your skin and re­claim a glow­ing com­plex­ion.

Mel­bourne der­ma­tol­o­gist, Dr Adam Sheri­dan, who is a fel­low of the Aus­tralasian Academy of Fa­cial Plas­tic Surgery, says the skin un­der­goes sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion as we age. “It is im­por­tant to recog­nise that our skin changes with time,” he says. “Just as we tend not to wear the same fash­ions at 60 as we did at 20, so, too, our skin­care ap­proach should evolve to meet chang­ing needs.

“In­di­vid­u­als tran­si­tion from ‘base care’ to ‘main­te­nance and sup­port’ and then onto ‘re­pair and re­mod­elling’ phases as they age.”

20s For your

Most women in their 20s have good skin with few con­cerns. “Ado­les­cent acne has cleared, al­though a small per­cent­age of peo­ple have on­go­ing prob­lems with pim­ples into their 30s and 40s even [5 per cent of women still have acne at the age of 40],” says Syd­ney der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Michelle Hunt. “Skin cell turnover is still good, so the skin gen­er­ally still has its ‘youth­ful glow’. As we age, the slow­ing of this skin cell turnover re­sults in a duller, more sal­low-look­ing com­plex­ion.”

Women in this age group have min­i­mal wrin­kles and barely any vis­i­ble sun dam­age or pig­ment changes. Dr Sheri­dan says these women should be fo­cus­ing on pre­serv­ing their skin with a good skin­care reg­i­men and a healthy life­style.

“The es­sen­tials are a gen­tle and hy­drat­ing cleans­ing and mois­tur­is­ing reg­i­men, and a daily broad-spec­trum 50+ sun­screen,” ad­vises Dr Sheri­dan. “Avoid those fac­tors which will ac­cel­er­ate your skin’s de­cline. Car­di­nal sins are ex­ces­sive sun ex­po­sure and ex­tremes of diet and life­style.”

30s For your

Life­style choices in your 30s can dis­turb the skin’s health. “Ex­po­sure to sun­light, pol­lu­tion and smok­ing causes ox­ida­tive stress on the skin,” says Dr Hunt. Then there’s the chance of preg­nancy-re­lated prob­lems, in­clud­ing stretch marks, fa­cial pig­men­ta­tion (melasma) and vas­cu­lar “spi­der naevi”. “Some­thing as sim­ple as num­ber and tim­ing of preg­nan­cies have pro­found ef­fects upon skin be­hav­iour and changes – as any mother will tell you,” says Dr Sheri­dan. “This is also the decade of what I re­fer to as ‘in­vis­i­ble age­ing’.”

Al­though early signs of “age­ing” may ap­pear, such as fine lines (crow’s feet, smile lines), bro­ken cap­il­lar­ies and open pores, Dr Sheri­dan says, “this is when the seeds of fu­ture age­ing are sown. Care­ful, sus­tained fo­cus upon preven­tion and main­te­nance, at both sur­face and body-wide lev­els, will yield pro­found fu­ture ben­e­fits”.

AHAs (al­pha hy­droxy acids, such as gly­colic and lac­tic acids) and BHA (beta hy­droxy acid, also known as sal­i­cylic acid) will help ex­fo­li­ate and re­move dead skin cells to re­veal more glow­ing skin. In­tro­duc­ing a serum to your skin­care reg­i­men and switch­ing your ev­ery­day mois­turiser to one with anti-age­ing in­gre­di­ents (such as retinol or an­tiox­i­dants) will greatly ben­e­fit the skin.

A serum should be used af­ter cleans­ing and be­fore ap­ply­ing a mois­turiser. The ac­tive in­gre­di­ents in the serum pen­e­trate your skin faster, tar­get­ing the signs of age­ing.

40s For your

“This is when ‘vis­i­ble age­ing’ starts,” says Dr Sheri­dan. “Ge­net­ics, hor­mones and im­mune sta­tus re­main cen­tral, and are now re­spond­ing to the cu­mu­la­tive ‘slings and ar­rows’ of life. Past mis­steps start to vis­i­bly man­i­fest.” Serums and mois­turis­ers with an­tiox­i­dants, such as vi­ta­min A, C, and E, and green tea, may pro­mote cel­lu­lar re­pair, which will im­prove the skin’s ap­pear­ance. They will also help pre­vent dam­age from free rad­i­cals, such as pol­lu­tion and smok­ing, which can re­sult in wrin­kles and a dull com­plex­ion.

If hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion (dark spots) are no­tice­able on the skin, add a bright­en­ing cream to the mix and en­sure you’re us­ing SPF50+ to pre­vent more sun dam­age. It’s also im­por­tant to use a neck and dé­col­letage cream on the up­per chest and neck area. This will help keep skin firm and sup­ple, while smooth­ing out any wrin­kles. “Now is the time to take ac­tion to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age and to hope­fully re­verse the dam­age al­ready done,” says Dr Sheri­dan. “There is still much time to al­ter the tra­jec­tory of one’s age­ing.”

50s For your

The rate of age­ing ap­pears to ac­cel­er­ate in this decade as skin cell turnover slows fast. Many women no­tice deeper wrin­kles and skin on their face starts to sag. In­creas­ing the skin’s elas­tic­ity and pre­vent­ing de­hy­dra­tion should be the fo­cus of any skin­care reg­i­men dur­ing your 50s.

A qual­ity serum, eye cream, SPF mois­turiser and night cream should be used daily, along

with a hy­drat­ing mask once or twice a week. This will sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the skin’s over­all ap­pear­ance.

For those who pre­fer to go one step fur­ther, top­i­cal skin­care is com­ple­mented by chem­i­cal peels and non­sur­gi­cal cos­metic pro­ce­dures, such as wrin­kle re­lax­ants and soft tis­sue fillers, ac­cord­ing to Dr Sheri­dan. “A com­mon mis­take is to overly fo­cus upon one ‘tar­get’ while ig­nor­ing the other com­po­nents of healthy skin by ef­fac­ing ev­ery wrin­kle and ex­pres­sion line in sight with Bo­tox, peels and laser, and ig­nor­ing the over­all move­ment and char­ac­ter of a healthy at­trac­tive face. Don’t erase your wrin­kles at the ex­pense of your per­son­al­ity,” he says.

60s and 70s For your

To smooth out wrin­kles around the eyes and mouth, and on the fore­head, stronger top­i­cal skin­care prod­ucts may be needed to make a dif­fer­ence to the skin’s tone and elas­tic­ity. Look for prod­ucts that hy­drate and boost col­la­gen. When it comes to re­mov­ing dirt, opt for a gen­tle cleans­ing milk that will clean your face while nur­tur­ing dry skin. You can also help your skin by con­sum­ing vi­ta­min E-rich foods, such as oily fish, al­monds, spinach and olive oil. Vi­ta­min E pro­motes new cell growth and will make the skin’s sur­face ap­pear more ra­di­ant. “From your 60s and 70s on­wards, con­sider adding non-sur­gi­cal col­la­gen and elastin re­place­ment [soft tis­sue fillers], and re­mod­elling [us­ing lasers, light and ra­diofre­quency] to the mix, as well as a re­dou­bled fo­cus upon life and health-pro­long­ing di­etary, life­style and hor­monal mea­sures,” ad­vises Dr Sheri­dan.

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