BETTER, WISER SKIN FOR SENIORS
We’re celebrating Senior Health and Fitness Day (May 29th) with good news: it’s never too late to improve your skin, and make it healthier and more luminous.
TAKE IT EASY, TIGRESS!
We all crave immediate gratification, but a full-frontal attack on the aging process will usually backfire. We typically seek stronger ingredients and more invasive procedures to offset signs of aging—but go easy on those high-test chemical smoothers and power peels. Aggressive treatment thins out the lipid layer, which is the skin’s natural protective coating. When this layer gets too thin as the result of rough handling, skin actually looks older.
TAKE AN HONEST LOOK:
Assess the condition of your skin as it really is. Get yourself a magnifying mirror and a strong lamp and take a good long look.
How we age depends upon a number of factors. The classic markers of age often have to do with sun damage and other environmental factors, including lifestyle choices like smoking and exposure to pollutants, all falling into the broad category of free radicals.
Ask yourself specifically what do you want to change about your skin? And how much are you willing to invest in terms of time, energy and attention to make it happen? Consistency is crucial to the success of any anti-aging plan, so be prepared to follow the needed steps for at least 5 – 6 weeks before expecting visible change.
Today’s innovative technologies make it possible for single products to tackle multiple issues simultaneously. The most effective formulations use micro-carriers, or smaller molecule weights, which can infuse ingredients into the skin faster than conventional formulas were able to accomplish. Focus on one goal at a time so you can monitor your progress.
SET REALISTIC GOALS:
While nothing—not even the scalpel or the laser—can truly turn back time and make a 60 year-old complexion look 21 again, it’s also never too late to improve your skin. The keys are obvious, and familiar, but here’s what you may not know:
Exfoliate at night. Using exfoliators as a night treatment means you’ll be less likely to resort to the over-zealous scrubbing that can lead to irritation.
By mid-life, the rate of cell-turnover slows down dramatically, so skin surface starts to look dull. Buff away this dullness with a micro-polish, 2x to 3x evenings a week after cleansing. The active ingredients, including antioxidants like Japanese green tea extract, will continue to work while you snooze. This means that by the following morning, dead, dry skin cells have been loosened and can be whisked away with just a gentle foaming face wash, revealing a fresher glow beneath without abrasion.
Hydration is key. Properly exfoliated skin is more responsive to moisture, since the barrier of cast-off cell debris has been removed. Exfoliated skin can capture and hold moisture more efficiently, so skin looks plump and resilient. Choose moisturizers containing Hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1000x its own weight in water.
Handle retinol with care. Whether Rx (stronger retinoids) or over-the-counter (milder retinol), these potent derivatives of Vitamin A are sometimes thought of as exfoliants, but they’re actually something quite different.
Retinoids are cell-communicating ingredients that connect to almost any skin cell receptor and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell—great as a night-treatment for mature skin, 2 or 3 times a week after cleansing and before using a rich moisturizer.
A pea-sized amount for your full face is all you need – and use a second dab to revive the delicate tops of your hands, where thin skin shows sun damage early on, as well as your neck and chest.
Skip retinoids a week before and after a facial wax, to avoid redness and inflammation.
You may need to use more sunscreen! This is especially important when using retinol, which can sensitize skin. Keep in mind that SPF 50+ is now the highest legit number for a sunscreen, according to the FDA.
Some products, including many made outside the USA, still claim triple-digit SPF, but beware getting overconfident when using these. You still need to re-apply your sun protection product every two hours, even if you’re not swimming or sweating.
Be sure you’re using enough sunscreen. The recommended application is a tablespoon for your face, a shot-glass sized amount for your bod.
Make chic, broad-brimmed hats part of your wardrobe for instant shade, and avoid direct exposure to the sun during the peak UV hours (10 A.M. to 2 P.M.).
Take inspiration from timeless style icon Iris Apfel, and the work of photographer and author Ari Seth Cohen, creator of Advanced Style blog and books inspired by his late grandmother, Bluma. Be fierce at 40, be fab at 50, and beyond— because if not now, when?