Skin care is a lifelong project

These days, the au naturel look is in. Which is great news for young, smooth-faced, dewy-cheeked 20-somethings. 

The rest of us are adjusting. 

But the truth is, having healthy, luminous skin is in at every age. Minimalist makeup and skincare companies like Glossier and Undone are including models in their 50s and older in their marketing, celebrating moisturizer and cosmetics in tandem, for everyone. 

That means today there are more options than ever for nailing down the best skin care routine based on your own skin type. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), skin can feel dry and irritated during our 60s, 70s, and beyond. “This happens for many reasons,” the AAD notes, “including skin that is thinner and loses water more easily.” Medications and medical conditions can also play a role, the association says.

Kelly Pacifico, master aesthetician at Dr. Lucie Capek Plastic Surgery and MedSpa in Latham, explains what happens to our skin as we get older. “Collagen and elastin give the skin structure and fullness; we lose these compounds as we age,” she says. “When we lose collagen and elastin, wrinkles around the eyes, forehead, and mouth appear. The skin becomes thinner, and you may notice more pigmentary changes like brown spots or red spots. However, we should always treat our skin based on the current state, not necessarily by our age. Professional advice is the best way to choose the best skin care for you at any age.” 

So here are a few best practices. 

Take care in the bath

The AAD suggests that some simple changes to your bath time can reduce or alleviate dry, itchy skin and prevent it from becoming a serious problem. Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free, moisturizing soap and use a washcloth instead of a sponge or loofah. Look for moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and lanolin in the products you purchase.

Also, try to use warm water instead of hot; hot water can strip skin of its natural oils, increasing dryness. When you step out of the shower or tub, gently pat your skin to sop up dripping water, but leave yourself a little moist before applying lotion. That will help to hydrate. 

Use a humidifier 

Especially in the winter, dry air can be a killer. A good humidifier in the bedroom can go a long way toward keeping your skin from getting dry or lackluster. The AAD recommends keeping indoor humidity between 45% and 60% to reduce dryness and itchiness. The best way to measure the humidity in the air is with a hydrometer, which you can buy at a hardware or home-improvement store.

Stick to the basics

“The most basic skin care routine should include a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, and this is for both men and women,” Pacifico says. “As we age, we may notice changes in pigmentation or fine lines and wrinkles. To address these concerns, use products designed to treat and target these concerns. An aesthetician can help you develop a plan of action and recommend products.”

Use creamy, fragrance-free moisturizers formulated for dry skin within three minutes of bathing or washing your face—and even throughout the day, if you feel the need. When your skin feels especially dry, the AAD says, dermatologists recommend using an ointment instead of a cream. An ointment will do a better job of retaining water in your skin. 

Don’t forget to indulge yourself from time to time

“Various MedSpa treatments can help improve your skin and make you feel pampered,” Pacifico says. “Choosing the right treatment depends on what type of results you are looking to achieve with your skin.” 

One treatment Dr. Capek’s office offers is the HydraFacial, which is good for all skin types, genders, and ages. The HydraFacial is a medical-grade facial that deeply cleanses, extracts, and hydrates the skin to help improve its overall health and quality. 

Treatments like these also use “power booster” serums to treat more specific concerns like pigmentation, redness, fine lines, and dehydration, Pacifico says. You can also get treatments like LASER Genesis, a popular treatment that improves premature signs of aging. Other laser treatments can be used to treat brown or red spots from acne scars, age spots, broken capillaries, port-wine stains, and minor fine lines, she adds. 

 “The gold standard facial rejuvenation procedure for older patients is a face-lift if you are looking for a more dramatic, fully rejuvenated result,” says Dr. Lucie Capek. “This in no way replaces skincare and treatments to improve skin quality but rather restores volume and lifts sagging tissues back into a more youthful contour.” Dr. Capek says her goal with face-lift surgery is “to turn back the clock, but not to make you look like a different person.” 

Be vigilant about checking for cancer

The AAD recommends regularly examining your skin for signs of skin cancer. After you turn 50, your risk of developing skin cancer increases and keeps increasing as the years pass. So if you notice a spot that’s different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

Avoid these mistakes

You knew it was coming: Pacifico says the most common mistake people make is forgetting to use sunscreen. “The sun causes the most damage to our skin over our lifetime,” she says. “Protecting our skin year-round with SPF can help prevent signs of premature aging and protect the skin while we treat that damage and problem areas.”

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