Our skin is one of the first parts of our bodies that change as we age. Some people may see subtle skin changes as early as their 30s while others may not begin seeing signs of aging until their 50s or 60s. Many factors affect when your skin will begin to show the tell-tale signs of aging: the dreaded wrinkles, crows feet, dark spots, sagging skin, and these include everything from genetics and sun damage to lifestyle choices such as smoking or diet.
It is important to take care of your skin as you age. Your skincare needs in your 20s will be different from skincare needs in your 50s, so if you’re older and still following the same skincare routine you’ve used since your younger days, it may be time to change it up. It is never too late to start a skincare routine that will help delay or reverse some of the signs of aging and can protect your skin from certain types of skin cancer that can develop as you get older. Nurturing your skin can also make a difference in the way you look and feel as you get older.
Signs of aging skin.
Skin changes are a natural part of aging although not always a desirable part. Fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, sun spots, discoloration, and under-eye circles all become more pronounced as we age. While you cannot prevent the skin aging process, there are skincare products that can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and delay the effects of aging. A good skincare routine is crucial in keeping skin looking healthy and supple.
Update your skincare routine.
As your skin changes, the same products you’ve used before may no longer be effective and may even be irritating to aging skin that is often rougher and drier. Your skincare routine for mature skin should now include several steps: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.
The first step in a good skincare routine is the right cleanser—in this case, one that is made for aging skin. Choose products that are moisturizing and gentle for dry, rough skin, and wash your face every morning and before bedtime.
As you age, you’ll want to avoid products with strong fragrances as well as those which contain alcohol (which can strip already dry skin of its natural oils.) Products made for sensitive skin are good choices, as are ones with Shea butter or oats. When washing your face and also when showering, use warm water instead of hot water to help your skin retain moisture.
Follow cleansing with a toner. Toners help balance your skin’s PH levels and brighten dull skin. Toners that are made for aging skin often contain antioxidants that help fight free radicals which cause skin damage and other signs of aging. Products that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and retinol are good things to look for in a toner.
The most important part of your daily skincare routine is a really good moisturizer. Choosing a moisturizer that is specifically made for aging skin is the best choice, and there are numerous products available that can help your skin retain moisture, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and keep skin from looking dull by helping to balance uneven skin tones and dark spots. Always choose a moisturizer that’s fragrance-free and oil-free so it doesn’t irritate your skin or cause breakouts.
Another step you may want to include in your skincare routine as you get older is a serum. Serums are made for aging skin and target fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen and improving your skin’s elasticity. Examples of anti-aging serums include products that contain hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, or peptides.
Don’t forget the sunscreen!
No matter what age you are, wearing sunscreen daily is the No. 1 thing you can do to protect your skin and reduce signs of aging. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 every day should become a habit; some moisturizers or makeup products contain sunscreen, so it’s easy to find products that do double duty. These types of products are great for everyday use for your face, but you should also apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin any time you’ll be spending time outdoors. Seek shade whenever possible, and avoid indoor tanning beds at all costs.
Check your skin.
In addition to sunscreen as your first line of prevention, you should also get into the habit of regular skin checks. Examine your skin regularly for any changes that could be early per-cancerous lesions or signs of skin cancer. If you notice any changes to moles or other skin spots, such as bleeding, discoloration, or unusual growth, see a dermatologist to have the spot checked to rule out skin cancer. Caught early, most types of skin cancer are highly treatable. Left untreated, skin cancers can spread to other parts of the body and can sometimes, in the case of melanoma, be fatal. As you get older, you should add an annual skin check with a dermatologist to your list of preventive care.