skin care products

How can I improve my skin as I get older?

By Allison Dawson

skin care products

It’s safe to say that finding the perfect products for your skincare regime can be… Overwhelming, to say the least. There are so many to choose from: would it be best if you bought a Vitamin A or Vitamin B serum? Should you use two different moisturizers, or just one? Should peptides be a thing for you yet? What other products do you need to know about?? Look: we all want perfect skin. We all want to slow down the hands of time… And of course we’d like to be able to get our hands on every great skincare product there is, but 1. That’d be a lot of money, and 2. There’s a lot of gimmicky products you don’t really need out there. 

So… What are the primary items you should focus on?

As you probably know, everyone’s skin is a little different and therefore has different needs; so in terms of products that will help with anti-aging, we can start to classify what you should include in your routine by your age group. Let’s go through the different stages of your life, and what you should start to consider introducing to your everyday care.

Ages 10 to 20: Introducing the Basics

Some of you may be panicked seeing that age frame because you are definitely beyond that, but don’t worry—starting a skincare regime in this group consists mostly of the basics you already know…

And if not: it’s never too late to get started!

The second decade of your life is crucial to implementing the foundations to great skincare: washing, moisturizing, and using SPF daily.

Gently lathering with a mild facial cleanser twice daily will allow for some of the impurities on the skin’s surface to be removed—without over-scrubbing the skin and causing more irritation. This is especially true for the acne prone skin we all had as teenagers… Or, well. Any age. It’s also vital that you start using SPF on a regular basis if you haven’t already, as 80% of sun exposure happens before you’re 18—a number we definitely wouldn’t like to get any higher.

Ages 20 to 30: Antioxidants For Further Protection

Your 20’s aren’t just for figuring out who you are--it’s also for nourishing your skin!

Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from damaging free radicals (essentially the wasteful by-product of cells). Free radicals—caused by a variety of both external and internal factors like smoking, sun damage, pollution, etc—can wreak havoc on our cells and bodily functions if not properly rid of.

Antioxidants, on the other hand, fight these radicals and keep them in check. So… How does this relate to your skin?

Well, the free radicals also speed up the skin’s aging process as it damages the cells. As environmental damage builds up, skin cells have a harder time recovering fully and may come back less vibrant than before…. Like: appearing aged or dull. 

Antioxidants can slow down free radicals, thus resulting in a slower aging process. They might also prevent skin cancer!  

While you can certainly consume your fair share in antioxidants from food, nourishing the skin directly with serums never hurt. Some of the best to include in your regime are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid!

Ages Late 20’s to 30’s: Recovery

Antioxidants certainly help to slow down the damage free radicals have on your skin--but  it doesn’t stop them.  And seeing that there’s no permanent way to get rid of the external factors like pollution aging our skin… Well. Our skin has a dilemma, doesn’t it? Not only that--it won’t bounce back from the havoc as quickly because the fact remains: it’s aging. The skin isn’t what it used to be. And that’s okay. It’s natural! Luckily, there’s some more ingredients you can start introducing into your skincare routine…

Enter: Retinoids.

Derived from Vitamin A, retinoids are considered somewhat of a miracle over-the-counter product for skincare. It’s shown in study after study to give a more youthful glow, decrease wrinkles, and even stimulate collagen… You know, the protein that wellness experts claim is the secret to ever-lasting youth? That same one.

You might be wondering: why aren’t we supposed to be taking retinoids any earlier? If it’s such a miracle maker… Doesn’t it benefit us to be taking it as soon as possible?

Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where the saying “with great power comes great responsibility” applies. Retinoids have some potentially nasty side effects, including dry, itchy skin and an initial increased sensitivity to ultraviolet light. 

At this point, you should start off with lower level retinoids, like retinyl palmitate or fat soluble forms. By doing this you’re introducing it to your skin little by little, still experiencing the benefits while also adjusting your body to it. 

The 40’s: Helping Your Skin Along

By now, your skin is having a bit of a harder time protecting itself; and while it certainly still has some fight left in it… It’s time to bring in something a bit stronger.

This is the time where you should be adding stronger doses of retinoids to your routine. Talk to a doctor for what might be right for you--it’s possible you can qualify for a prescription!

Another ingredient you might want to consider adding is a peptide product. Peptides are also considered potentially anti-aging, and work similar to proteins in that they build muscle… Resulting in stronger, healthier cells.

One of the most common peptides cosmetic and supplement companies put in their products is one we’ve mentioned above… Collagen! These usually come from a meat source--eggs, fish, etc--but can also be found in plant sources such as soy and flax. 

In addition to potentially contributing better elasticity and hydration to your skin, collagen peptides may also stimulate melanin to fight harmful sun rays. 

The 50’s: Adding Everything Together

Welcome to the Golden Age of Skincare!

Or: welcome to the privilege of being able to use all of what we discussed above…  And then some!

This is the time to have strong levels of retinoids (Congrats! You’re at the boss level!), to keep going with your collagen intake and even introduce ceramides. Ceramides are lipids that make up for about 50% of the epidermis, and helps to lock in moisture. They’re lost over time, though, so supplementing ceramide creams and moisturizers is a great idea at this age. All of what we just talked about… Combined might sound ambitious and intimidating, but we promise: it’s not. It’s just doing what you’ve been doing for these past few years or decades: treating your skin to a healthier you.

There’s nothing wrong with aging--so why not pamper your body to its needs as it grows older?

Whether you started your skincare regime a matter of years, weeks, or minutes ago: it’s never too late to show some love to your skin.