Boy! She blew me away. Here is a lady in her 40s (or is it 50s?) and she looks lovely and radiant as ever. All this is thanks to really good skin care and of course maybe a little help from other sources (*wink, wink*)
But even despite that you too can take good care of your skin to look nice always.
As they say, "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones."
Below is a quick guide to skin care through the ages, please note it is cumulative. That is, when you get to the next stage, you still keep doing what you did earlier. You only need to further add the next step.
From 0 to 18: Sun Protection.
Young skin by it self is just so youthful and pretty that there is little that you need other than sunscreen and physical sun rays blockers to prevent damage. UV radiation causes 80% of the physical signs of skin aging.
Use sunscreen as well as physical protection like scarves & sun glasses.
Be sure your sunscreen has both UVA and UVB protection. SPF is a measure of UVB protection only. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer makes a good sunblock with spf 50 that offers both UVA & UVB Protection.
When buying sunscreen look out for
- SPF of at least 15, preferably 30 or above if you are going to be spending more than 30 minutes in the hot day sun.
- Active ingredients such as
- Zinc oxide and micronized zinc oxide
- Parsol 1789 (avobenzone)
- Cinnamates such as octyl methocinnamate and cinoxate
- Salicylates such as octyl, homomenthyl, or triethanolamine salicylate
- Helioplex (Neutrogena)
Use a moisturizer if you feel that your skin needs it. Also please note that you don't need anti wrinkle creams or microdermabrasion in your 20's.
From 18 to 25: Extra Moisture.
So now in addition to using the sun protection, you need to add a little bit extra moisturiser to your regime. Moisturizing is not just a temporary plumping up of cells. It supports the skin’s water matrix and allows the skin’s natural moisturizing system to work more efficiently and even repair itself to some extent.
You do not need to use thick creams if you don't like them. There are a lot of good light moisturizers available in the market today. You can go herbal with Biotique & Blossom Kochhar or high-tech with Neutrogena. Pick a brand, any brand. But be absolutely sure that your moisturizer has SPF 15 or 20, and that it gives you both UVA and UVB protection. Apply it all over your face and on your neck and chest
To make it simple, simply use a moisturizer with SPF and get a pair of good sunglasses.
Be sure your moisturizer has both emollients and NMFs.
Emollients: substances that soften and soothe the skin. They are used to correct dryness and scaling of the skin. Look out for
- Lanolin and other animal oils
- Mineral and plant oils such as shea butter, cocoa butter and petrolatum
- Stearates, myristates, palmitates and triglycerides
- Hyaluronic acid (a.k.a. sodium hyalurate, sodium hyaluronate and other glycosaminoglycans)
- Glucose, fructose, or sucrose
- Amino acids
From 25 to 30: Antioxidants
So you have already incorporated sun protection and moisture. Now we need to add antioxidants to the mixture to help the skin repair free radical damage and maintain flexibility. Anti-oxidants such as Vitamin A & C repair the damage to skin proteins: collagen and elastin, and also prevent further damage.
At 25 oil production also slows down in some women (it did in my case), so you might also have to go in for a thicker creams.
Examples of Anti-oxidants:
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Green tea extract
- Lycopene (found in tomatoes)
- Superoxidase dismutase (this is an enzyme)
- Grape seed polyphenols
- Coenzyme Q10
- Olive leaf extract
- For dark circles, use one with hydroquinone, vitamin C, or botanicals that brighten, like kojic acid, soy, or licorice;
- for puffiness, look for one containing caffeine;
- for extra moisturization, use one with hyaluronic acid
DIY Tip: Most natural fruits are very rich in anti-oxidants. Cotton pads steeped in green/black tea can be used daily for a supply of anti-oxidants. Even regular honey is full of anti-oxidants. So is papaya, pomegranate, tomatoes, amla (full of vitamin C). Experiment in the kitchen and rustle up your own anti-oxidant potent face mask. But remember, you will need to do this at least 3 times a week to obtain benefits.
From 30 to 40: Exfoliation
As we age, the cell renewal rate decreases. This is why skin begins to look dull and loses its luminosity. Exfoliation using gentle chemical ingredients and not rough abrasive ingredients will ensure that the skin on the surface is constantly renewed and healthy and pink. Use a gentle exfoliant on a daily basis nightly to reveal younger cells by morning.
Once you're in your 30's, a retinoid or retinol isn't optional anymore.
Examples of chemical exfoliants:
- Vitamin A derivatives called retinoids and including retinol and retinyl palmitate
- AHAs like glycolic, lactic, tartaric, malic, alpha-hydroxyethanoic or alpha-hydroxycaprylic acid and sugar cane
- BHAs such as salicylic acid (less irritating than AHAs and also used to treat acne)
DIY Tip: Milk and curd are natural sources of lactic acids, sugarcane juice is rich in glycolic acids, even citrus fruits have citric acid that help exfoliate skin.
You can even start using a home microdermabrasion kit once a week.
From 40s onwards: Peptides
You may lose 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.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. Peptides have been shown to strengthen collagen. Unfortunately I could not locate one with peptides being sold on retail - I think this is because this is the latest technology and therefore either is expensive or may not be sold in retail.
Continue using antioxidants on a daily basis and exfoliants such as retenoids. Sun Protection as always is a must.
I hope this guide helps you plan out your skin care regime. This has been made just out of what I have seen and learnt over the last few years. Of course it goes without saying, that a good diet, regular exercise and avoiding stress go a long way as well.
Please do refer to a dermatologist for a more informed medical opinion and skin care plan that is suited to your unique skin conditions.