Achieving Beautiful Skin at Every Age: The Essential Guide

23 March 2024 2812
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With aging, our bodies require different measures to maintain health. This is particularly true for our skin, which necessitates varying levels of care depending on the age and day. It is crucial to grasp the changes our skin goes through over time, which implies periodically revamping our skincare habits from early-morning rituals to dermatologist consultations.

In your twenties, you typically face challenges like dryness, acne, enlarged pores, blackheads, hormonal pimples, and preventive anti-aging. Your skincare routine should adapt to tackle these issues. Celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy underlines the importance of good and consistent cleansing without over-exertion during this decade.

Dermatologist Ann C. Zedlitz, MD, from Baton Rouge, LA, recommends using a cleanser enriched with exfoliating properties, such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid, to tackle oiliness and clogged pores. The acid aids in shedding dead skin cells and reviving your skin. To secure youthful moisture, having useful facial creams is crucial. Joy proposes incorporating a moisturizer packed with antioxidants into your routine to replenish your skin of what the environment and sun have stripped. She also advises using a gentle under-eye product a few times weekly. Dr. Zedlitz endorses adopting a habit of using a vitamin C serum and retinol or Tretinoin in your twenties.

Early twenties might still involve the harmful practice of sleeping in makeup after a tiresome day, but specialists warn that this must cease. Dermatologists Gilly Munavalli, MD, and Hayley Leight-Dunn, MD, from Charlotte, NC, state that leaving makeup on overnight can cause irritation, acne-prone skin, dryness, and generally dull complexion. They advise employing a two-step procedure for thorough makeup removal: using an oil-based cleanser or micellar water to wipe off makeup first, followed by a second cleansing with a gentle facial wash.

“You start losing about 1 percent of your collagen annually in your mid to late twenties,” says dermatologist May Hall, MD, from Hopkins, KY. “If you haven’t already established a basic skincare routine involving a cleanser, moisturizer, and daily sunscreen, now is the time to begin. Your skincare routine doesn’t need to be overly complicated, but understanding your skin type and selecting products that will fortify your skin barrier is vital.

For oily skin, choose a cleanser with ingredients like salicylic acid, and for dry skin, go for a creamy, hydrating cleanser to avoid excessively stripping the skin's natural oils. The same applies to moisturizer - opt for a lightweight formula for oily skin, and for dry skin, prefer a dense emollient such as SkinFix Triple Lipid Peptide Cream. Additionally, applying SPF 30 or higher every day, irrespective of the weather, is the best practice for skincare. Dr. Hall recommends EltaMD UV Clear for sensitive skin and Sente Even Tone Mineral Sunscreen for varying skin tones with a bit of coverage and tint.

The unanimous advice from all experts is that applying sunscreen is the most important step in your skincare routine during your twenties. Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn emphasize, “The most vital thing you can do for yourself and your skin in your twenties is to use a daily sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. Protect your skin and foster good habits early!” Dr. Zedlitz recommends using sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

In your twenties, you do not need to go heavy on treatments, but some preventive steps can be advantageous in the future. “During this decade, frequent microdermabrasion and microneedling can be beneficial. Small quantities of Botox can start to hinder wrinkle formation in expression areas,” mention Dr. Munavalli. According to Dr. Zedlitz, preventive neurotoxins, microneedling, PRX-T33 “no peel, chemical peel”, and Facial Infusions are all feasible in your twenties.

In the battle against acne, nutrition is key. Celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas emphasizes, “You need ample greens to oxygenate your skin, combat bacteria and keep it clean. Inadequate dietary habits will result in continuous breakouts.” Alex Caspero, a registered dietitian and nutrition expert for HUM Nutrition, prefers supplements promoting healthy hair and nails for this age group. “Biotin enhances both hair and nails, while gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the form of black currant oil or evening primrose oil, is a vital fatty acid promoting healthy skin, hair and nail growth,” she adds.

"The impact of genetics, sun exposure, and aging on the skin, which often takes the form of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, sunspots, and early volume loss, generally start to become evident when we're in our thirties," Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn explain. They recommend a two-pronged approach to skincare: "Protect your skin in the morning and repair your skin at night!"

When it comes to skincare for individuals in their thirties, Joy recommends regular gentle cleansing, daily application of a protective serum, a good moisturizer targeted to your specific skin type, a high-quality under-eye cream, and sunscreen. Exfoliating with a mild mask once or twice every week is also beneficial for skin health. If using masks is not your preference, exfoliation can be achieved through other means. According to Dr. Zedlitz, glycolic acid 10% peel pads are a great way to promote a healthy glow and address fine lines.

If you haven't already incorporated vitamin C serum and retinol into your skincare regimen by your twenties, it's not too late to start in your thirties. "Vitamin C serums help to brighten the skin and combat oxidative damage caused by the sun, which are some of the initial signs of aging," clarify Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn. They advocate the use of retinol at night a few times a week to manage fine lines, even out skin tone, and stimulate collagen production.

According to Dr. Hall, a combination of a vitamin C cream or serum in the morning and a retinol product at night can truly enhance skin radiance and tone. Retinol also assists in long-term collagen production.

In your thirties, you might begin to notice discoloration or melasma. To even out your skin pigment, Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn recommend using products containing kojic acid, arbutin, glycolic acid, and azelaic acid.

Considering neurotoxins at this stage of your life is advisable, suggests dermatologist Dr. Tami Buss Cassis. In addition, slight use of fillers might be needed to maintain volume under the eyes and in the nasolabial folds. Neurotoxins, fillers, and minor chemical peels are among several effective treatments for people in their thirties, according to Dr. Zedlitz and Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn.

Like in your twenties, collagen-stimulating and preventative treatments are highly beneficial in your thirties. Dr. Hall mentions that several patients opt for treatments like microneedling and chemical peels to boost collagen production.

"The food you consume significantly affects your skin health," states Dr. Germain. She suggests following an anti-inflammatory diet that minimizes consumption of sugar, white flour, and dairy products to improve skin health. Despite our best efforts, wrinkles are a natural part of aging due to various factors like sun exposure, pollution, and loss of subcutaneous support. Consuming enough good fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, is beneficial for the skin and recommended for women in their thirties," adds Caspero.

Once you've established a good skincare regimen in your twenties and thirties, it's about maintaining consistency and adding a few extra steps in the following decades. As the skin's moisture retention, collagen, and elastin production decreases, serious wrinkles and volume loss can occur in our forties," explain Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn, who recommend using an eye cream with retinol, peptides, antioxidants, and caffeine.

During your forties, Dr. Zedlitz advises using a neck cream in addition to skincare products for your chest and the back of your hands. If you're starting to notice crepey skin, a retinol body cream might be helpful.

In your forties, skincare should involve the use of actives, according to Joy. She recommends a gentle cleanser, a daily antioxidant serum, a moisturizer, sunscreen, and a gentle weekly exfoliant. To help tighten skin at night, she suggests incorporating ingredients like peptides, alpha hydroxy acids, or retinoids.

According to Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn, incorporating Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) and nonablative fractional lasers into your skincare routine in your forties can be beneficial. They advise that a microfocused ultrasound treatment can help with lower face laxity. Dr. Zedlitz also recommends non-surgical lifting treatments such as Botox Cosmetic, fillers, Morpheus8, Sublative rejuvenation, and Ultherapy.

Agnes Ju Chang, a dermatologist based in Washington D.C., advocates for PRP rejuvenation as the best in-office treatment for those over 40 as it boosts natural collagen production, helping to firm skin and reduce fine lines and sun damage. She views it as a significant game-changer for her patients as a long-term investment in skin health.

Dr. Hall suggests considering treatments in-office that aim to rectify volume loss and preserve facial structure, such as biostimulatory fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse, during this time. He sees this as the best time to also consider resurfacing laser treatments, which aid with sun damage and increasing collagen production.

Caspero explains that collagen, the protein responsible for skin strength and elasticity, naturally decreases over time. Hence, taking a collagen supplement is advised. According to her, after using collagen for 12 weeks, there should be a noticeable reduction in lines, skin dryness and wrinkles.

Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn recommend being proactive about collagen production enhancement during the fifties. They suggest incorporating a prescription-strength retinoid in the skincare routine if not done so before. They also urge people to start using a growth factor or peptide-based product.

If retinol is too harsh on the skin, Dr. Hall proposes a switch to a retinol-alternative like bakuchiol. He also suggests considering growth factor serums and peptides for dull and dehydrated skin. He mentions that topical estrogen products may be suitable for some post-menopausal individuals. He vouches for the effectiveness of a good hydrating face cream like the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2.

He also warns about the decrease in moisture retention, reduced cell turnover, and lower estrogen levels from hormonal changes causing dull and dehydrated skin during the fifties. He recommends a once or twice-weekly chemical exfoliant with AHA or BHA for this reason. Dr. Zedlitz further advises incorporating AHAs in form of peel pads on the arms and chest.

Joy emphasizes the importance of the method of application of skincare products. She suggests upward movements while massaging to stimulate muscle tone and increase blood oxygen levels. Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn support thick and cream-based nightly moisturizer use.

For the fifties age group, Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn recommend IPL, fractional laser and radiofrequency microneedling, based on individual needs. Other recommended treatments include PRP injections, peels, HydraFacials, and laser treatments. Dr. Hall suggests considering injectable treatments with biostimulatory fillers like Sculptra, Radiesse, and lasers for brown pigmentation or resurfacing, if a facelift isn't an option.

For those past fifty, an antioxidant-based supplement is advised by Caspero, especially one containing turmeric. The active ingredient, curcumin, can potentially prevent arthritis and bone loss in women. It also provides antioxidants to fight skin-damaging free radicals, making it an ideal supplement for women over fifty.

Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn warn of dry skin being a common issue in the sixties and beyond, suggesting shorter lukewarm showers and using thick cream-based moisturizers may help. They encourage moisturizing both the face and body and also consider the use of a humidifier to replenish the skin barrier.

Joy believes layering treatment serums and using protective moisturizers are key during your sixties. She also recommends reducing the frequency of exfoliation and focusing on hydrating and protecting the skin to counteract dryness, volume loss, and skin laxity.

“Fractionated CO2 laser skin resurfacing gives my patients the biggest bang for their buck. If they’re willing to tolerate a little downtime, this literally erases wrinkles,” says Huntington Beach, CA dermatologist David Rayhan, MD.

Dr. Munavalli and Dr. Leight-Dunn suggest considering full-face resurfacing if you have wrinkles and sun damage that won’t respond to other treatments. Dr. Zedlitz recommends neurotoxins, fillers, CO2 laser, Ultherapy and Profound Tightening.

In addition to potent anti-aging supplements, Caspero also recommends both vitamins D and B12 for anyone over the age of 60. While we don’t often think of these as beauty vitamins, Caspero says they can help with normal metabolism and skin function. “As we age, we lose the ability to absorb nutrition in the same capacity as we did when we were younger,” she explains, adding that this is especially true for those over 50 who may not be able to absorb enough B12 from food. “Vitamin D deficiency also becomes more common, thanks to a lack of exposure and reduced absorption. In addition to B12 and vitamin D, a more potent anti-aging supplement is helpful.”