WE DIVE DEEP TO GET THE SCOOP ON THE MUST HAVE SKINCARE ESSENTIALS FOR WOMEN OVER 40.
Aging is inevitable and, unfortunately, after the age of around 30, it can start to show its signs on our complexions. While age is just a number and only what you make of it, there are skincare products that can improve the visible signs of aging and even help to prevent or slow them down. We spoke with Brooke Anderson, brand educator at Dermalogica, to get a better understanding of how our skin ages. Anderson explains, “As we get older, our skin tends to dry out and get thin in its structure while the cell turnover tends to slow down, resulting in a duller complexion and a decrease in collagen and elastin production.” What this often leads to is a lacklustre tone and texture, as well as fine lines, wrinkles, and even saggy skin, all compounded by added dehydration. “The other thing that we have to consider is that we actually lose about 10 to 20 percent of our melanonite cells per decade, which are the cells responsible for producing pigment in our skin.” This pigment, she further explains, actually helps to protect our skin from UV and environmental damage, so when we’re deficient, our complexion defences go down and it can have a reverse effect of hyper-pigmentation, resulting in unwanted dark spots. Finding the right skincare products can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for, so we’ve provided a skincare primer on the types of products you need in your routine and some recommendations that’ll help do the trick.
Cleansing your skin properly seems like a simple task, however, between makeup, pollution, and environmental buildup that can occur on the skin throughout the day, it’s a much more important step than many people
give credit for. Anderson explains, “When it comes to selecting a cleanser, you need to look for a product that doesn’t strip your skin or make it feel tight.” Often people associate that tight feeling you get as the ultimate sign of clean skin, but for those who are already suffering with dehydration, it can do more harm than good. Looking for heavier cleansing milks or oils will gently remove all of the day’s buildup without stripping the skin of its much-needed moisture, which inevitably helps prevent further signs of aging.
When it comes to skincare routines, a serum is often overlooked and deemed frivolous for those looking for a less-is-more approach to skincare. But, Anderson argues that it’s one of the most important: “You can think of a serum as a way to boost your skincare routine, since a serum is able to focus on a higher concentration of active ingredients that are able to penetrate further into the skin.” Since serums are so lightweight and the molecules are so small, they’re doing quite a bit of the legwork when it comes to things like boosting collagen production; trying to firm your skin; or, improving skin’s texture, tone, and hydration levels.
Dehydration is a common concern for aging skin, so a good moisturizer is a no-brainer. However, increasing hydration levels is only part of the solution if you’re not working to prevent further signs of aging. Anderson warns that the number-one cause of aging skin is UV exposure, so adding in an SPF of at least 20 — though up to SPF 50 is ideal — is a must to keep skin protected. “The biggest thing that we can do to prevent further aging is using an SPF product, and one of the best (and easiest) ways to do that is in a moisturizer,” she explains. Anderson adds that for those dealing with extremely dry skin, no matter the season, finding a medium to heavy moisturizer (always with an SPF) will help to nourish and replenish some of that hydration.
When your face starts to feel dry, scrubbing your skin may seem like the last thing you want to do, but exfoliation is an essential step to keep your complexion looking fresh. We’ve come a long way from the environment-killing micro-bead-infused cleansers that gave your skin a quick buff, and now have so many options available to help aid in reversing the visible signs of aging. Anderson explains that the importance is understanding the differences: “If you’re looking for a physical exfoliant, think about your traditional scrub for the skin — so this is going to have some kind of grit to it to help buff and polish the dead skin cells off of the skin.” However, for those who tend to have more sensitive complexions, physical exfoliants can aggravate your skin, but chemical exfoliants can be a good alternative: “Often we think ‘chemical’ can’t possibly be good, but they can be very effective because we’re able to achieve high levels of exfoliation without having to physically scrub something over the skin.” These chemical exfoliants can come in different forms, such as alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids, different fruit enzymes, such as papaya or pomegranate, and even retinol, all of which will work in a more delicate and prolonged fashion to do, what Anderson refers to as, “digest and dissolve the dead skin cells.”
If you’re looking to take your skincare to the next level, there are a variety of treatments that can take a more powerful approach to reversing the hands of time when it comes to your complexion. For professional treatments, Anderson likens them to going to the dentist, where your skin is essentially getting a tune-up, while you do the day-to-day work on your complexion. “Chemical exfoliants, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, micro-needling — where we’re actually able to do a controlled wounding of the skin — are all popular treatments to help resurface skin and improve texture, tone, and cell turnover,” explains Anderson. And, of course, let’s not forget the good old skin treatment or facial. If you haven’t experienced the moisture-boosting effects of an oxygenating facial, that’s a very low-key way to start your skin treatment journey. Of course, for those who like to keep their masking to an at-home affair, multi-tasking treatments, such as ones that also have chemical exfoliants or the antioxidant-packed brightening vitamin C, are the way to go.