While 50 may be the new 30 and Beyoncé’s proven she’s 24 forever (see: Renaissance World Tour announcement), even the genetically blessed among us will admit the passing of decades means inevitable change.
“We’re all going to get older. Our skin is going to shrivel up and we’re going to look different,” Halle Berry told the AARP. Actress Diane Lane previously said, “I take comfort that aging happens to everybody. It’s part of life.”
Perhaps legendary artist Yoko Ono summed it up best when she told Vogue in 2006, “I don’t believe in ages like 40s and 70s. I believe in change.” (Keep in mind she modeled hot pants for the magazine when she was 79 years old!)
We can accept change, but maybe we don’t need to accept our skin shriveling up just yet, Halle.
So we asked Karyn Grossman, M.D., a cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist, to tell us what skin changes to expect in our life evolution and how to best support those changes.
Meet the Experts
Karyn Grossman, M.D. is a cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist, and the founder and director of Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica.
Keep It Simple in Your 20s
“In your 20s, skincare should be about prevention,” says Dr. Grossman. “Good skincare starts when you’re a child or at least a teenager and that will help you age well.”
Luckily, that prevention is pretty easy. “Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and put on sunscreen,” Grossman says. “I know a lot of 20-year-olds aren’t great at taking care of their skin because they’re busy in school or at new jobs. So keep it simple. If you can add a light moisturizer and eye cream, that’s great, but I know it doesn’t always happen.”
Grossman is adamant about washing twice daily. “There’s this new trend about not washing your face in the morning because you were sleeping and didn’t do anything to get dirty,” she says. “At night, there’s buildup from the products you’ve used or oils from your hair. Your skin’s already absorbed the active ingredients from your nighttime skincare so it’s useless to keep it on in the morning. Just wash with a hydrating cleanser.”
Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser is gentle and hydrating enough to use every day, morning, and night, while washing away oils and impurities. Follow up with Sunday Riley’s Light Hearted, a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen that’s packed with antioxidants and can double as a moisturizer.
Retinoids and Hyaluronic Acid in Your 30s
“This is the decade to start thinking about different issues and addressing aging,” advises Dr. Grossman. “For almost everyone in their late 20s and early 30s, there’s a drop-off in collagen and hyaluronic acid production. There’s some thinning out of the skin.”
The answer is retinoids if you haven’t already used them for acne in your 20s. “It’s the gold standard for increasing cell turnover, boosting collagen, and reducing pigmentation, pores, fine lines, and wrinkles,” says Grossman.
However, Grossman has a caveat. “Start with a gentle, over-the-counter retinoid, two to three times a week. Once you can tolerate it daily, get a prescription strength if you want to go stronger.”
Sunday Riley’s A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum is strong in retinol but balanced with Hawaiian white honey, which was designed not to irritate.
Grossman also recommends adding a hyaluronic acid product. “I love HA. It really helps to hydrate and plump the skin without adding oils,” she says. “It’s great for everyone, whether you have dry or oily skin. Layer HA under a moisturizer for more hydration and use it with retinoids to decrease irritation.”
Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Gel Cream moisturizer has the skin-brightening properties of vitamin C along with sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, for deep hydration.
Step It Up in Your 40s and 50s
“You are facing significantly more changes in your skin now,” says Dr. Grossman. “This is where you want to step up and address aging in a multifactorial way: Peptides to increase collagen production and ingredients to promote DNA repair and anti-glycation.”
So keep up with your skincare regimen from the previous decades and add potent ingredients like niacinamide to the mix. Sunday Riley’s B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum, an advanced 10% niacinamide serum that helps with minimizing pores, dark spots, and improving skin’s radiance.
The peptides in Sunday Riley’s Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence are designed to help firm and resurface the skin while a green tea antioxidant fights the aging effects of pollution and oxidative stress on the skin.
Grossman does warn against overdoing it with exfoliation. “People think they need scrubs, AHA and BHA toners, followed by retinoids,” she says. “And they wonder why their skin is irritated. It’s too much. Make sure you’re not stripping your skin barrier.”
Stay Hydrated in Your 60s and 70s
“As you get older, the skin barrier gets weaker and there are a lot more issues with dryness,” explains Dr. Grossman. “You need thicker, richer creams, and add oils to them. You want to prevent water in the skin from evaporating, so mix oils into moisturizers for extra hydration.”
Sunday Riley’s Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil restores and rehydrates the skin’s moisture barrier with superfood seed oils. It can be layered under your moisturizer or mixed in with it for extra hydration. Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream is the perfect moisturizer to hydrate and protect dry skin.
“When I see my patients who follow these protocols throughout their lives, they’re aging pretty well,” says Dr. Grossman. “So it’s nice to know that using these skincare ingredients works. As you get older and have more skin and aging issues, you want to activate as many pathways as possible to get the best results. But remember, staying out of the sun is super important your whole life.”
The doctor has spoken!
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