This article appears in Summer Boomers magazine.
From fine wrinkles to deep creases and saggy necks, you can’t stop the effects of aging on your skin, but you can nourish, hydrate and fight future damage.
“One thing that we cannot change is the natural aging process. With time we all get visible lines on our face. This type of aging is referred to as ‘intrinsic aging,’ ” said dermatologist Dr. Dustin Mullens of Affiliated Dermatology in Scottsdale, Arizona. “We can, however, influence ‘extrinsic aging,’ such as how our lifestyle choices and our environment contributes to premature skin aging.”
Good skin-care habits make a difference.
“Sunscreen is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. It can slow down skin aging. It can also help prevent skin cancer,” said Nicole Burkemper, associate professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University. “Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher) and water resistance.”
Keep it clean
Never go to bed without cleansing the skin, said David Pollock, an independent beauty chemist who has formulated beauty products for brands including Smashbox, Bliss and SkinCeuticals.
“While makeup is an obvious culprit for clogged pores, many people don’t consider the fact that our skin is in a constant state of renewal, and dead skin cells also can clog pores and create dull skin,” Pollock said.
After cleansing, “targeted serums can deliver the nutrients suited for individual needs. And moisturizing helps keep the skin hydrated, plump, radiant and healthy,” Pollock said.
In addition to washing your face morning and night, cleanse it after sweating, Burkemper said.
“Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating,” she said.
— Get your beauty sleep. “Sleep aids in the maintenance of your body’s largest organ (your skin), allowing it to be restored and replenished,” Mullens said.
— Moisturizer matters, said Dr. Paul B. Dean, medical director of Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic in San Diego, California, and founder of Skin Resource MD. “A good moisturizer will be fragrance-free and rich in antioxidants. Always apply moisturizer to face, neck around the mouth and in front of your ears, as these are the places that age first; so best to really focus on those areas,” he said.
— Sunscreen, moisturizer and other anti-aging skin-care products will work best if they are formulated for your skin type, Burkemper said. “For example, if your skin tends to be oily, select a moisturizer made for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, you want to see the words ‘sensitive skin’ on the label,” she said.
— Night creams are heavy, ultra-moisturizing lotions. “Choose one that contains hyaluronic acid, which helps plump and firm the skin,” Burkemper said. “Consider using a skin-care product that contains retinol, adapalene or peptides. These ingredients can increase collagen in your skin and reduce the signs of aging.”
— Sleeping on your stomach or side means there is constant pressure on your face that can produce unwanted sleep lines. “You can remedy this by sleeping on your back,” Burkemper said. “If you can’t get comfortable sleeping on your back you can still prevent those pillowcase-induced wrinkles by upgrading from cotton to silk or satin. With a silk pillowcase, your skin slides on the pillow.”
— Beware of unrealistic expectations. “Exaggerated promises, such as looking 10 years younger overnight or quickly reducing all signs of aging, are too good to be true,” Burkemper said. “It’s important to remember that anti-aging skin-care products deliver modest results. You cannot get the results of a face-lift from a cream.”
— Whenever possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat, pants and long sleeves, Burkemper said. Gloves help to minimize common signs of aging on hands, such as age spots. Sunglasses help reduce fine lines around eyes.