It’s all about timing: especially when it comes to the delicate balance of moisturizing, line-filling, and bacteria-zapping, your skin’s age is a great indicator for what kinds of treatments will be most useful. A reminder of what you should be doing—and when—is always helpful, so we looked to Charlotte’s Book expert dermatologist and dermatological surgeon Dr. Dennis Gross for a quick review on the best anti-aging ingredients and skincare techniques, by age.
THE ROARING TWENTIES
1. The Bad News—Breakouts from Not Cleansing Properly
At this age, cleansing is critical. Never go to sleep with your makeup on (although Charlotte’s Book has heard the opposite!). Doing so can block pores, leaving oil trapped inside. This leads to bacteria buildup and, yes, breakouts! Try a cleanser that includes witch hazel extract, a natural toner with antioxidant and anti-irritant properties—and/or willowherb extract, which has natural antibacterial properties. This will act as a cleanser, makeup remover and toner in one!
2. Your Worst Mistake—Not Wearing SPF
Sun damage in your 20s equals wrinkles and sun spots later on in life. Skin discoloration is a major issue for many of my patients, and the truth is discoloration comes in various forms; sunspots, dark spots, hyper-pigmentation, melasma. Sun is our skin’s worst enemy when it comes to causing signs of premature aging. Daily SPF application is key to minimizing signs of aging and preventing skin cancer. Find a sunscreen you like, and you’ll be more likely to wear it each day! Use a physical sunscreen with zinc and titanium dioxide. I’ve been formulating my new Dark Spot Sun Defense SPF50 for years and the texture and finish is simply amazing. It is formulated with state of the art antioxidant complexes, including a Melatonin Defense Complex which includes three forms of Vitamin C and E to address sun spots while preventing future damage.
3. Do This—Opt for Oil-Free
For healthy-looking hydrated skin, it is imperative that you incorporate a moisturizer with humectants to help the skin absorb and retain moisture. It’s always good to look for hyaluronic acid as an active ingredient because it moisturizes via these humectants, which basically pull water vapor from the atmosphere and into the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring ingredient found in the body that is completely compatible with the skin. It helps plump skin and reduces fine lines, deep facial wrinkles and folds. Avoid heavy formulas. This is excess congestion in the oil glands. Switch to an oil-free formula, especially in warmer temperatures, such as the Hydra Pure® Oil-Free Moisture or Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion. For more twenties-focused advice, see this recent Charlotte’s Book piece on best skincare practices for your twenties, by CB expert and master aesthetician Jillian Wright.
THE FLIRTY THIRTIES
1. The Bad News—Fine Lines and Wrinkles Starting to Show
Scientific research shows that at age thirty, collagen and elastin production starts to decline in quantity and quality. Vitamin C has proven to be one of the strongest catalysts of collagen growth, especially when it’s applied topically (at night, to avoid de-activiation by sunlight). Retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, are also an important part of the anti-aging arsenal. They stimulate the production of new skin cells and inhibit the body’s natural enzymes that break down collagen. Peptides and Coenzyme Q-10 (aka ubiquinone) are additional collagen building ingredients, which also defend against free radicals, and will help ease lines and wrinkles.
2. Your Worst Mistake—Starting Too Late with Anti-Aging Products
When you enter your 30s you’re not seeing deep signs of aging—perhaps some fine lines and wrinkles, or a little hyperpigmentation. Now is the time to start exfoliating daily a healthy rate of skin cell renewal is one of the key components of radiant and even-toned skin. Add a little oomph to your exfoliation regime by using an exfoliating product with alpha or beta hydroxy acids (they build skin-firming collagen, especially when incorporated into a two-step chemical peel, such as our at home Alpha Beta® Original Formula Daily Peel). This universal complex of ingredients addresses fine lines, tightens pores and smoothes texture—this truly acts as an all-purpose treatment.
3. Do This—Treat The Eye Area With Care (And Retinol)
Eye cream is a good product to invest in at this age. The periorbital skin around the eye area is prone to a phenomenon called solar elastosis—breakdown of collagen and elasticity. Because skin in this area is so thin, there is a paradoxal need for a specially formulated cream that is both strong yet gentle. While a moisturizing eye cream will keep the area looking plump and dewy, use one that also contains ferulic acid and retinol—this is the best way to go. This powerful combination which I used in my Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum treats the delicate skin around the eye, evens skin tone, improves dark spots and smooths lines and wrinkles. It’s amazing for brightening, and ferulic acid is a powerful antioxidant. It also aids in the fight against free radicals. To learn more about using retinol creams vs. serums, see this recent Charlotte’s Book article.
THE FANTASTIC FORTIES
1. The Bad News—Collagen Production is Decreasing/Collagen Breakdown is Increasing
That can mean deeper creases and enlarged pores. As your skin becomes less elastic, pores expand because the collagen fibers in the walls around them are diminishing. As we mature, naturally-occurring enzymes that erode collagen become stronger than the mechanisms in our skin that combat them. To combat this loss, choose products with boosters such as retinol, which combats these destructive enzymes. Vitamin C, a very potent antioxidant, as well as peptides act as collagen stimulators and should also be added into a daily regimen.
2. Your Worst Mistake—Not Dealing With New Creases, Wrinkles, and Depressions
All of these worsen with age. Non-invasive lasers like Smooth Beam can help stimulate collagen production and fight wrinkles without downtime. Collagen injections, hyaluronic acid fillers, and botox are all options to fill in or deplete lines and wrinkles. For deep lines, you have the option of using fillers like Restylane. In addition to these procedures, using a daily peel, such as the Alpha Beta® Daily Face Peel at home and alternating with a stronger chemical professional peel once a month, will help boost collagen production and reverse the trend of collagen breakdown.
3. Do This—Quench Skin’s Thirst
Dryness increases as you age, so now is the time to incorporate oils into your routine. I am a fan of essential oils such as almond, rose and jojoba. In addition to hydrating skin, oils can brighten your complexion, replenish skin’s surface layer and restore its natural moisture barrier to prevent water loss. One of my newest products is Triple C Peptide Firming Oil, a scientific cocktail that harnesses the power of water and lipid-loving molecules in a nutrient-rich formula. By adding an oil to your existing routine, dehydrated and weak skin is renewed and fortified.