REVERSE RADICAL SKIN CHANGES IN YOUR 30s, 40s, 50s, AND BEYOND

Do you have more than your share of "bad skin days"?  Do you notice your skin becoming duller, drier and more lined than the day before?  How your skin looks is so emotional for many women.  You can feel beautiful on the inside, but if you have things on your skin that make you feel subconscious you can't project that beauty. When you can improve your skin and feel more confident its extremely emotionally and so rewarding.

Your skin is the largest organ on your body but one of the most exposed. When you are young, your skin is smooth, healthy and vibrant.  But as we age, it can become wrinkled, saggy and discolored. Dr. Jeannette Graf is a Board Certified, Clinical and Research Dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City says, "Our skin glows most when the dominant hormone is estrogen: It keeps things firm, plump, and smooth by increasing collagen, the building block of skin." 

In Your 20s

Estrogen peaks during your 20s, giving most women their best-ever complexion: luminous, taut, and even-toned. The shift in hormone levels around your period, however, can lead to acne. Throughout the month, estrogen masks the oily skin effects of testosterone, but when estrogen dips the week leading up to your period, newly dominant testosterone makes its presence known in the form of breakouts and blemishes.

What it looks like:

More oil production, larger pores, and breakouts along the jaw line during your period. "The wild swing of hormones can be inflammatory, causing deep, painful zits called cysts," says says dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington D.C.. And for some women, this can happen during any time of the month. "Even women who have never had a pimple could have early onset of adult acne at this age," she adds.

 

How to treat it:

Regulate hormones causing chronic acne by getting a prescription for birth control pills, which balance hormone levels, or medications such as Spironolactone and Aldactone, which counteract the effect of male sex hormones on the skin. "These drugs help block some of the testosterone receptors, shifting hormones so oil production and acne diminish," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. For occasional breakouts, Tanzi recommends applying an acne mask with salicylic acid 2 to 3 times a week, and using spot treatments as needed. We like Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub ($5, target.com), which has 0.5% salicylic acid.

 

 

In Your 30s

This is when estrogen levels start to dip, heralding sinking levels of skin-tightening collagen and elastin and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. Cell turnover slows, too, and skin bounces back less easily from inflammation. Dryness and acne are likely to show up during this decade, too, says Tanzi.

What it looks like:

Dryer, thinner skin, more obvious traces of expression lines on the forehead and around the eyes, the beginnings of age spots, and an increased flaring of inflammatory conditions like rosacea and occasional acne.  Wrinkle creams used to be reserved for the over-40 set, but now more and more beauty companies are marketing anti-aging products to twenty- and thirty-somethings. Why?  You really need potions to make you look younger while you’re still, well, young.

How to treat it:

Ramp up your anti-aging skin regimen, especially at night when skin naturally rests and repairs. Nazarian recommends adding a product containing retinol, a vitamin A derivative that thickens skin by increasing collagen production to smooth wrinkles and reverse volume loss. Try Vichy LiftActiv Supreme Anti-Aging and Firming Night Cream, because their breakthrough formula delivers whole collagen molecules to the skin. The peptide-rich nourishment cream is applied to the skin, rebuilding and rejuvenating the skin, which is gentle enough for first-time users.

In Your 40s

So long, estrogen. During this decade, expect less firmness, elasticity, and moisture. According to Nazarian, estrogen-related bone loss can start to affect your facial structure, too, leaving you with sunken-looking eyes and slackening skin.

 

 

What it looks like:

One viewer's explains her experience this way, "Sometime in the past few years, my skin underwent a significant change—suddenly and without warning. One day I was fine with my erratic use of oily-skin-anti-blemish wash, the next I came out of the shower with my face on fire. By bedtime my skin was taut, but in a very bad way, and when I woke up, my skin was literally peeling. I began using a sensitive skin lotion to try to combat the flaking. Now I have acne. I thought acne was a teenage malady."

 

Significant drying, dulling, hollowing, and more visible wrinkles, capillaries, broken blood vessels, and age spots. "Patients tell me, 'my skin changed overnight!' " Tanzi says. "I used to think it was an exaggeration, but it isn't—there are dramatic changes in the 40s, especially when it comes to loss of elasticity."

 

How to treat it:

If you have crazy-heavy periods and hot flashes, Diana Bitner, MD, an ob/gyn at Spectrum Health Medical Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan recommends birth control pills or Mirena, an IUD with progesterone, plus a low-dose estrogen patch just during the week before your period to even out your hormones. Healthy lifestyle choices, like staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced whole foods diet low in sugar, and exercising, will help improve your look, too.

 

Extra steps:

In addition to a good at-home skincare regimen—a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, serum, eye cream, and SPF daily on your face, neck, and chest—it's time to upgrade to a prescription retinol like retinoic acid or Retin-A, or move up in concentration, from .025%, for example, to .03%. "Retinol reminds skin cells to behave as they did when they were young and healthy—it minimizes wrinkles, thickens skin, controls acne, strengthens blood vessels (so there's less breakage and discoloration), and fades sun spots," Nazarian says.

In Your 50s

Estrogen sputters to a halt during menopause (which happens around age 51 or 52 for most), and testosterone takes center stage. You'll lose a third of your collagen within the first five years of menopause, and with it your skin's bounce-back, moisture and glow, Bitner says. Inflammation also peaks, making skin more vulnerable to skin damage from sun, smoke, and pollution.

 

 

What it looks like:

Skin thins, dries, deflates and gets looser. Lines become deeper, pores stretch, lids may sag and become hooded, eye sockets hollow, spider veins may become more visible, age spots show up, and small-yet-benign bumps, patches, or skin tags may grow. Expect peach fuzz, if you didn't already have it, on the cheeks, chin, and upper lip.

 

How to treat it:


Hormone therapy, where estrogen levels are raised just high enough to alleviate symptoms, is a safe option for many women, Bitner says. Skincare-wise, it's time to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, because without the natural hyaluronic acid that comes with estrogen, skin doesn't hold onto moisture.

 

"My patients in this age range complain that their skin is literally cracking from dryness," Nazarian says. Ditch harsh soaps, lower the temperature of your showers, and wash your face only at night to avoid endangering the already-low levels of hydration in your skin. Choose a product with hyaluronic acid, redness-reducing niacinamide, and skin barrier-supporting ceramides. Try CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream, which contains all three ($15, target.com).

 

Extra steps:

To really turn back the clock, see a dermatologist for injectables, lasers, or radio-frequency or ultrasound treatments. A few possibilities: Botox and Dysport injections to smooth lines, fillers like Juvéderm XC, Juvéderm Voluma, Belotero, and Radiesse to fill in deeper grooves and replace lost plumpness, and Restylane injections to camouflage dark circles (take a look at this ultimate guide to injectables if you're going to go that route). Lasers like the Clear + Brilliant Perméa will erase brown spots, while others, such as the new Smoothbeam, can help clear acne. Finally, radio-frequency technology Thermage, and ultrasound wave procedure Ultherapy can tighten skin in areas like the brow, neck, and chest.

 

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