When I was 13, I felt really mature having horrible acne and going to the drugstore to get my whole set of Clean & Clear face wash, toner, moisturizer, and spot treatment. I had to have the entire Morning Burst line, including the facial scrub with microbeads, and then a separate nighttime line. It was all the same thing for double the money. I was an asshole. The truth is, most basic skin care is the exact same thing—unless you’re looking for a specific ingredient change, such as anti-aging or to repair acne, it doesn’t matter what cleanser/toner/moisturizer/spot treatment products you use, so long as you continue using them consistently. However, eventually you’re going to get old. And your skin care will need to adjust to your new skin problems that come with aging. There are definitely anti-aging moisturizers and products you can use, but you still have to add additional products if you really want to stay ageless forever. Here’s what you need to add to to your skin care system to look flawless through every decade.
Congratulations. You’ve made it through your teenage years lathering up in baby oil and baking in the sun. You looked amazing, like a bronzed goddess. Unfortunately, unless you want to look like your leather handbag by the time you’re 35, you better cut this shit out. No more tanning beds. No more suntanning. And you know what? No more leaving the house without a decent SPF of 30+! I KNOW, it sucks, but it’s your new reality unless you have a will to die of skin cancer and be a wrinkled mess. This is the time for you to use a daily SPF and hope to God your years of abusing your skin won’t turn into irregular moles someday. Say hello to sunless tanning like self-tanners, or what I prefer, just being pale and calling it fashion. If you want to push it further, throw in a retinol cream that will hopefully shed your sun-damaged skin cells quickly enough that it won’t matter, and it prevents wrinkles.
30’s: Retinol & Chemical Peels
Soo, if you ignored my v helpful suggestion of using a retinol in your 20’s, it is no longer optional in your 30’s, as your cell turnover slows down and you’re going to get super old fast if you don’t let your skin get rid of the old dead cells. Pretty, right? You still need the basics (cleanser, toner, moisturizer, etc.), and you still need SPF, so retinol is an add-on here. Also? I used to be on Differin in high school for my acne when it was prescription only, so it’s amazing that you can buy this retinol cream over-the-counter now. Keeping your skin cells fresh helps evenly distribute oils so that the tissue stays elastic and flexible. To help it even further, get chemical peels twice a year. Sure, you’ll look like Freddy Krueger for a week, but that’s a price you should pay to be an immortal vixen.
Oh cool, you’ve hit your 40’s and you’re in that awkward spot where you’re not really young but also not dead. Congrats! That said, your skin is basically telling you to fuck off at this point, because it’s thinning, it’s inflamed, and your hormones are going berserk. Sounds fun. Shit to look forward to. I hope you’re still using your retinol religiously, but as your skin gets more dry as your estrogen levels sink, it may be time to see a doc and step up to a moisturizing prescription retinol like Renova. My stepmom was on this and looked like she was 25, so I’m a believer. In addition, to combat the hyper-pigmentation and inflammation that comes with hormone change, throw in an antioxidant serum that will even out your skin in the worst of times. And again, this in addition to what is above, so you better still be using SPF every day.
Wow, you made it to your 50’s without dying from skin cancer or dying on the streets from not being able to afford the high rent costs in your city or getting whacked by Sallie Mae’s goons for failing to pay your student loan debt. Great job! However, now that you’re getting up there, your skin is dry, dry, dry. At this stage, your natural oils are depleted, especially with your incessant retinol usage. But that is a necessity, so what can you do? Put some oil back into your system by washing your face only once daily instead of twice and using a night oil. You need to still use your SPF to prevent further damage, retinol to continue cell turnover, chemical peels so that old shit comes off, and antioxidant serum to reduce inflammation, but somehow you’re still at risk at turning into a human basset hound if you don’t properly moisturize. A night oil (or even thick night cream) will force some elasticity into your old af skin and keep it from stretching out too much and creating fine lines. You also are supposed to reduce stress, the biggest source of aging early, so do your skin routine, avoid men, drink often, and take up yoga. Idk, I’m not a doctor.
Images: Sephora (2); Ulta; dermstore
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