As a woman in my late 20’s, I can happily say I sailed through the decade with minimal bumps in the road—pun intended. However, literally, days after my birthday, I had one of the worse breakouts of my life. I’m talking full-on adult acne covering my forehead. I figured once I made it through my teens, the skin drama was over. Sadly, I was wrong and now had to figure out how to navigate a new skin type. Clearly, it turns out the older we get, the more issues we might face—Le sigh. To prep for my next milestone birthday, I decided to reach out to a few experts to break down what to expect in the next decade and beyond!
Big Moments = Big Skin Issues
“Other than sun damage, any hormonal change severely affects the skin,” explains Dr. Patricia Wexler. “Think puberty (acne), pregnancy (melasma and acne), and lastly menopause (tone, texture, elasticity, laxity, and wrinkles.” Another major turning point? Marriage! “The stress [and pressure of planning a wedding] usually causes bad acne,” Dr. Debra Jaliman chimes in.
Your Skin is Actually Going to Change
“Skin becomes drier because sebum production reduces at 3% per decade after age 22,” shares Dr. Carl Thornfeld, founder of Epionce Skincare. “You can actually have oily skin post-menopausal. The excess oil production increases because the skin is trying to protect itself from the environment, irritating skin products, etc.”
Expect Collagen Production to Go Downhill
“As we get older, skin loses elasticity, and the ability to spring back becomes less frequent, which can cause wrinkles,” explains Catherine D’Aragon, Assistant Vice President of Marketing at Vichy USA. “Sun exposure and other environmental factors can also accelerate the decrease collagen production. [Uncontrollable factors like] genetics can also play a part in collagen levels, skin thickness, and moisture content.”
Less is More
“The biggest myth is that [is that the more you do, the better],” explains Dr. Wexler. “It is not necessary to have red, raw skin to achieve results. Retinols are available in many preparations that are easier to tolerate. Peptides stimulate collagen and are gentle to use MMP inhibitors, anti-oxidants, botanicals—all, which produce subtle effects. There are many ways to achieve rejuvenation; it shouldn’t be a second career.”
Create an “Ageless” Regiment
“[All you really need is] a good SPF 30 sunscreen—I prefer a physical sunscreen with a high concentration of zinc oxide,” shares Dr. Jaliman. “I’d also suggest a sonic cleansing system to really cleans the skin. Retinol is [good to have in the mix] because it helps even out the skin color and improves texture. Finally, [products with] niacinamide are important because [the ingredient helps] improves the skin tone and unevenness.”
More Years, More Problems
“In the 20s & 30s, acne lesions occur in 50% of patients [along with] dermatitis,” shares Dr. Thonfeld about patients who booked appointments. “25% of women [in their 40s] have trouble with acne, the incidence of dermatitis goes up, facial skin becomes more sensitive and notice drier skin and signs of aging. In the 50s + age group, clients notice the skin is thinner, weaker, rough texture. [I’d estimate] 1 out of 8 have acne problems, rosacea in about 10%, dermatitis incidence goes up again, [plus we] start seeing pre-cancers more. More than 50% after age 60 have pre-cancers.”
Seek Cover (and Shade)
“Sun damage plays a very big role in the premature aging of your skin,” says D’Aragon. “Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages certain fibers in the skin called elastin which causes the skin to age faster and causes dryness, lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. All of which can add years to your skin. It is recommended to use an SPF [of 30+ or more] product year-round like Vichy Capital Soleil 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.”
Hold On Tight
“Thickness and firmness are attributed to collagen production and elasticity, as well as hydration,” says Dr. Wexler. “Look for products that stimulate collagen. Procedures like Fraxel, Ultheraphy, ThermiSmooth, and [in-office] chemical peels can also accomplish this. Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides all increase (and maintain) hydration levels.”
Get Rid of Excess Baggage
“It’s best to sleep on two pillows if you have puffy eyes,” advises Dr. Jaliman. “You can also take an antihistamine like Benadryl, which helps to decrease the puffiness. Avoid artificial sweeteners and salt, which helps to increase puffiness. Use an eye cream that you keep in the refrigerator that has caffeine. This will also help to constrict the vessels under the eyes.”
Even Things Out
“Avoid products that physically exfoliate, such as with microbeads or nuts. Those tear the skin barrier creating more damage over time,” explains Dr. Thornfeldt. “[As an alternative], I recommend gentle chemical exfoliation. My top choice is Epionce Lytic Tx. It contains salicylic and azelaic acids as well as willow bark extract. However, those acids are paired with other botanical ingredients that make them great for sensitive skin individuals.
“To get rid of dark circles, we recommend a daily treatment to target the look of dark circles and spots in the fragile eye contour area,” explains D’Aragon. “Microcirculation becomes less effective with age, and the stresses and strains of daily life can build up, under-eye issues more visible. [Lean toward products] that contains pure caffeine to stimulate the skin to treat poor circulation—the most common cause of dark circles under the eyes.”