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One of the very first telltale signs women notice is a newfound struggle with dry skin. This is a tricky one too, because while dry skin is a sign of aging in and of itself, it can also worsen the appearance of many of the other signs. So, while you’ve probably included a moisturizer in your skin care regimen for some time, if you’re finding this problem cropping up more and more often, it may be time to alter your routine. Be sure to use a product formulated to pull moisture into your skin and hold it there (look for items made with hyaluronic acid), and be sure to really pamper your skin with gentle, deep moisturizers after using other harsher treatments like retinoids or peels that can increase sensitivity. And of course, be sure you’re always drinking plenty of water – healthy, hydrated skin starts on the inside!
2. Dark Spots
Alas, those years of running around without sunscreen and laying out working on that tan inevitably catches up eventually. Dark spots, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation begin to show up more as we age as cell turnover slows and damaged cells make their way to the surface. We often notice them first on our face, but keep an eye on your shoulders, chest, and backs of your hands, as they can crop up here as well. Using a two-pronged approach here is usually a good bet. Start with a product designed to help fade existing dark spots, and work in something that speeds skin cell turnover (like a retinol) to keep them from getting worse. It’s also important to keep up with your regular, daily SPF, even if you’ve already seen some signs of damage. Protection from harmful UV rays will help prevent new sun spots from developing, and more importantly, help prevent the development of skin cancer.
3. Fine Lines
Long before developing deeper wrinkles and expression lines, sneaky fine lines may start popping up across your face. You may not even notice them until you go in for a quick makeup touchup, and realize it’s settling into some fine lines you hadn’t realized were there. The first step here, as we mentioned above, is making sure you’re plumping up your skin with a good moisturizer. A skin smoothing primer is another way to help fill in those fine lines and create an even surface, with or without makeup. You may also find that adding in a glycolic acid peel helps reduce the appearance of these tiny lines. Peels like this help by sloughing off dead skin cells that can settle into lines and exacerbate them. Glycolic acid me be harsh on your skin though, especially if your prone to sensitivity. Start using them sparingly and work up in frequency as your skin adjusts, and always be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer.
4. Dull Complexion
You know the drill; that after work happy hour rolled into a later evening than you anticipated, or maybe you broke Skin Care Commandment Number One and slept in your makeup (gasp!). Now you’re looking in the mirror and the face looking back is tired lackluster. As we age, our skin’s ability to cope with things like this starts to wane, and that bright, youthful glow begins to fade. Don’t worry though, this one has a pretty easy fix! We already mentioned glycolic acid peels earlier, and they can be a great option to boost cell turnover and reveal brighter, glowy skin underneath. Not to mention, a quick swipe of a good highlighter never hurt anyone, you can always dab that on top of your cheekbones for an instant skin pick-me-up.
5. Sagging Skin
We have collagen to thank for keeping our skin looking plump and firm when we’re young, but unfortunately our bodies start slowing production of this magic compound as we get older. The result? Skin begins to loosen and appear less taut. Boost collagen production and fortify your skin against damage by looking for products that contain peptides and antioxidants. Adding a serum designed to firm and plump like J. Nicole Overdose serum (which also has the antioxidants you’re looking for) may also be a good option. You can also create temporary tightness before applying makeup in the morning by swiping on a good toner. Look for something alcohol-free so you don’t exacerbate dryness, and in a pinch, the old standby witch hazel works wonders.
6. Loss of Elasticity
Going hand-in-hand with a loss of firmness that results in sagging skin, is a loss of elasticity that makes it harder for skin to bounce back and recover. You’ll probably notice this in particular around expression lines on your face; like the worry lines on your forehead that appear when you raise your eyebrows, or the lines around your mouth that show up when you smile. When we’re young, the skin bounces right back from these natural creases, but as we age and the elastin content of our skin is depleted, those lines stick around longer and longer, and eventually become permanent. You can slow this process by incorporating healthy fats into your diet like olive oil, nuts, and fish. These fats and the amino acids they contain are great for helping your skin heal itself, not to mention they’re also good for your brain. So, go ahead and order that side of avocado, your skin will thank you for it!
7. Dark Circles
Dark circles under the eyes aren’t exclusively an issue that we deal with as we age. You probably first started noticing them during those all-nighters and high-stress finals weeks in college. And while stress and lack of sleep can certainly exacerbate them, your genes may also be to blame (thanks mom). As we get older though, loss of fat and collagen in our skin can deepen and exacerbate existing dark circles as the skin begins to sink and the and the eye socket starts to appear sunken. To combat this, start by getting plenty of sleep whenever possible, and make sure you’re hitting that yoga class, or whatever else helps you manage that inevitable stress! When those steps aren’t enough, adding in a gentle but nourishing cream designed specifically for the delicate skin around the eyes can work wonders for those dark circles and also help keep crow’s feet at bay. Look for a formula containing caffeine for an instant pick-me-up for tired eyes.
8. Turkey Neck
We know, it sounds as bad as it looks. Your neck is supported by muscles, and like any other muscle in your body, they will lose strength and tone as we age. As those muscles weaken, they can’t support the skin resting on top of them, and as a result the neck skin begins to sag and droop. Once the skin begins to fall away completely, there isn’t much that can be done short of surgery, so it’s vitally important to take care of this delicate area before it gets to that point. That means all the meticulous care you devote to your face shouldn’t stop at the jawline. Make sure your SPF is making its way onto your neck, as well as all those helpful products you’ve been investing in to help tighten and smooth. Many people also find that regularly doing exercises specifically designed to strengthen and tone neck muscles responsible for the dreaded turkey neck can deliver great results. Your dermatologist may also have some options like laser treatments to tighten things up. Bottom line: start taking care of your neck early and often to ward off that wattle!
9. Adult Acne
It seems awfully cruel that as soon as we start having to contend with fine lines and other signs of aging, our skin suddenly wants to go on its own 10-year high school reunion. Adult acne, while just as annoying, is not the same as the breakouts you contended with when you were a teenager, so the tools you used to fight acne then should not be what you bring to the battle in your 20s and 30s. Because skin becomes less resilient the older we get, the harsh products that it could tolerate in your teen years may cause itching, redness, sensitivity, and flaking this time around. Look for products that are specifically designed for the needs of adult skin. The good news? Many of the products you’re probably already considering for other issues can help with acne as well. Retinoids in particular are great at preventing acne, while also boosting that crucial collagen production and smoothing fine lines. Just be sure to always follow up with a non-comedogenic sunscreen that won’t clog pores, as retinoids make your skin more susceptible to the sun’s harmful effects.
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