The key to good skin care throughout the ages

The key to any skin regime is first of all finding out what skin type you have oily, normal/combination, dry, sensitive or sun- damaged. Next you need to find a good cleanser that your skin responds well to, and stick with it. Most beauticians would advise avoiding soap on the face as they are very drying on the skin. Choose a creamy cleanser if you have dry skin or a clear cleanser if you have oily skin.

Never wash your face with hot or cold water (both can cause broken capillaries).

Exfoliate
Exfoliation is the step most people skip in their weekly skincare routine. But if you start properly exfoliating your skin, you will notice an almost immediate difference.. Exfoliating skin once a week keeps skin glowing year-round. Make sure you use a gentle scrub with tiny grains. Big grains in cheap scrubs can tear skin and cause more harm than good.

Moisturize
A basic law of beauty is that everyone, no matter her skin type, should moisturize. Even if your skin is oily, it will benefit from moisturizers. Choosing a moisturizer is down to individual tastes and what your skin needs according to your age.

Apply Sunscreen
The most important part of your skincare regimen.

The number-1 cause of wrinkles is sun damage, so it’s important to use sunscreen from your early years. Don’t use moisturizers with sunscreen at night, the ingredients are not meant to be used 27/7 and can aggravate skin.

In your 20’s
Use gentle products, and focus on damage prevention. “You don’t need anti wrinkle creams or microdermabrasion in your 20’s,” says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., president-elect of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology & Aesthetic Surgery.

• Use a mild cleanser — either a gel, if your skin is oily, or a milky one, if it’s dry.

• Moisturizer: What moisturiser you choose is up to the individual. But be absolutely sure that your moisturizer has SPF 15 or 20, and that it gives you both UVA and UVB protection.

• Night-time treatment: Use a hydrating fluid or an oil-free moisturizer. Many dermatologists recommend starting on the vitamin A-derivative prescription retinoids (like Retin-A, Tazorac, and Avage), the gold standard for reducing fine lines, stimulating collagen, and treating acne, or products containing the less potent, over-the-counter retinol.

In your 30’s
Even if you’ve taken good care of your skin, you’ll probably start noticing fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth.

•  Cleanser: In the morning, use a cleanser with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to encourage exfoliation. In the evening, wash with a creamy cleanser.

• Moisturizer: In addition to SPF 20 with UVA/UVB protection, your moisturizer should contain antioxidants, like green or white tea, pomegranate, or vitamin C, which will protect your skin from damaging free radicals. Start wearing an eye cream daily. For dark circles, use one with hydroquinone, vitamin C, or botanicals that brighten, like kojic acid, soy, or liquorice; for puffiness, look for one containing caffeine

•  Night-time treatment: “Once you’re in your 30’s, a retinoid or retinol isn’t optional anymore,” says Hirsch. So if you’re not on a prescription retinoid, choose a night cream or serum with retinol.

In your 40’s
Those great beach vacations you took in your teens are showing up on your face: You’re beginning to see cumulative sun damage in the form of blotchiness, red spots, and ruddiness. You’re also losing more collagen and elasticity, and your skin retains less moisture. Because it doesn’t reflect light evenly, your complexion is losing some of its glow.

• Cleanser: Use a creamy (rather than gel) cleanser morning and night, unless you can tolerate one with a mild AHA or salicylic acid once a day.

• Moisturizer: Supplement your broad-spectrum moisturizer, which should contain SPF 15 or 20, with a couple of creams, lotions, or serums containing at least two types of antioxidants, such as lycopene, green tea, or soy, alternating them every other day. Or, if your skin is beginning to look crepey, try a formula with peptides, which have been shown to strengthen collagen, says Hirsch. Treat dryness with a rich moisturizing cream that contains hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, shea butter, or oils.

• Nighttime treatment: A prescription retinoid is the way to go, say Hirsch.

It reduces brown spots, increases exfoliation and collagen production, thickens the epidermis, and can reverse precancerous sun damage. If your skin can’t tolerate a retinoid every night, use it every other night.

In your 50’s and beyond
Cell turnover is slow; the most significant change you’ll notice in your complexion is dryness and loss of elasticity. Expression lines no longer disappear after you stop smiling or squinting; pores are more visible, especially on the nose and cheeks. You’re likely to have developed spider veins and hyper pigmentation (age spots), and precancerous spots from sun damage.

Moisturizer: Apply a serum containing peptides or an antioxidant like vitamin C when your face is still damp. Serums, in general, are more easily absorbed than creams and lotions. Then apply a broad-spectrum moisturizer containing SPF 15 or 20, with UVA/UVB protection.

Night-time treatment: Try Renova, a prescription retinoid, which is more moisturizing than others.

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