Your Skin Is Mature, So Your Skin-Care Regimen Should Be, Too
A trip down the skin-care aisle in the drugstore can be a bewildering experience at any age. But as fine lines start to appear on your face, it seems as though the number of lotions and potions available to you increases exponentially. When it comes to skin care for women over 50, where should you begin?
A good starting point would be a consultation with an expert. You might not consider spa trips a necessity, but caring for your skin is important. In fact, facials can be thoughtful gifts for women who aren’t used to pampering themselves. Although every woman’s skin is different, we spoke to two industry professionals to learn the essentials of caring for mature skin.
What Can You Expect?
Men, of course, will also notice skin aging. But when women experience the onset of menopause, they may find that the process accelerates. At the very least, they’ll notice substantial differences in their skin.
“There are hormonal changes, so the normal checks and balances in your skin get altered,” said Dr. Sejal K. Shah of Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York City. “I find that women, as they hit menopause, [suddenly] think their skin looks a lot older.”
Common signs of aging are wrinkling, a loss of skin elasticity, discoloration, and a redistribution of fat that surfaces as thinning skin. Kate Leydon, founder of Chicago’s Ruby Room spa and salon, tends to notice an overall lack of brightness. Many women will experience much drier skin—even if they had oily or normal skin for most of their adult life. That dryness may force them to rethink parts of their skin-care regimen. (For example, the products used to combat teenage pimples might be too harsh for adult acne.)
A skin analysis from a dermatologist or aesthetician can help pinpoint your particular skin concerns.
Caring for Mature Skin in Three Steps
You’re going to hear it again and again: the key to skin care for women over 50—indeed, for women of any age—is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Dr. Shah typically recommends a skin-care regimen that includes a moisturizer infused with peptides, a sunscreen, and an antioxidant serum.
- Moisturizers, especially natural, oil-based ones, help the skin retain hydration. Peptides, the building blocks of proteins, can boost the synthesis of collagen, which slows down with age. More collagen production means tauter, fuller skin.
- Sunscreen is essential because thinning skin is especially prone to wrinkle-causing sun damage. The American Cancer Society suggests using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher; however, regular reapplication is more important than an extremely high SPF.
- An antioxidant serum also helps to prevent UV damage.
Gentle cleansing—perhaps with cold cream, that favorite of grandmas everywhere—can keep the skin hydrated, whereas daily use of exfoliating agents can target certain skin concerns. For this purpose, look to skin-care products with retinoids or vitamin A.
“A lot of people are introduced to retinoids when they’re very young because they help with acne,” Dr. Shah said. “When you get older, they can help with pigments, [and] improve the overall color and evenness of the skin. They regularly exfoliate the skin. They also help with collagen and elastin production.”
Don’t Skip Out on Spa Days
There’s plenty you can do for your skin outside of your own bathroom. Both experts noted that cosmetic resurfacing—laser treatments, microdermabrasions, peels—can help maintain skin smoothness.
Leydon extolled the benefits of monthly facials for everyone. “Women over 50 benefit from skin-brightening treatments in addition to any facial,” she added. “We use brightening fruit enzymes and a diamond-tip wand, which pulsates and helps to penetrate the skin and provide deep exfoliation.”
Dr. Shah recommended Ultherapy, a noninvasive treatment that seeks to mimic the effects of a face-lift. It uses ultrasound waves to lift skin on the brow, chin, and neck, reducing the appearance of listing eyelids, jowls, and neck lines.
If you’re especially concerned by wrinkles, she added, you might want head to a doctor’s office. Injectables and dermal fillers, such as Botox and Juvéderm, can temporarily restore a more youthful look to faces.