Skincare tips for women over 50 isn’t much different than for women over 40: Clean, serum, moisturize, protect.
But browse any beauty blog and a sense of gloom starts to creep in. Yes, collagen begins to wane, smile lines blossom and something mysterious starts happening to our necks. Skincare after 50 isn’t about looking younger, it’s about looking more you. It’s about seeing yourself in the mirror and liking what you see, even as the reflection changes.
There is a lot of beauty and pleasure in middle age. We are lucky to have options and make choices our mothers and grandmothers only dreamed about! And thanks to the women and scientists who have come before us, there’s a variety of simple solutions for aging gracefully. I’ve written before about how to get more beauty sleep for your skin, including adding melatonin supplements, changing your pillowcases and sleep position, and the tips below will add to your skincare arsenal.
As we age, our skin cell turnover begins to slow down. New skin cells don’t make their way to skin’s surface, leading to skin with less of a rosy glow, as well as increased wrinkles. Exfoliation removes the old skin cells, provoking the skin to create new skin cells to replace them. And while older skin requires exfoliation, look for products that are gentle and non-drying. You can make your own with lemon, sugar, and honey or look for a natural product with the word “soothing” in the title. You could also try a chemical peel, but be sure to talk to your dermatologist about your skin’s sensitivities.
Whenever I reference chemical peels, someone always mentions the infamous Sex and the City episode where Samantha has a chemical peel and looks red, burned and with sheets of skin falling off. The type of chemical peel depicted in the episode is not often performed anymore because (thankfully) modern laser treatments now provide this same deep resurfacing with no red or burned skin. A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin, by applying a chemical solution that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. Chemical peels improve age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration. The “chemicals” used in the peels are natural active acids found in nature. Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane, lactic acid from sour milk and salicylic acid from wintergreen leaf. You may have also seen over the counter products that contain the extremely mild alpha and beta hydroxy acids. Chemical peels can be performed in a dermatologist’s office, at a Med Spa or with a specially trained esthetician.
Retin A and Retin A Derivatives
Prescription Retin A became popular in the 1990s as an acne treatment but gained momentum when patients noticed an improvement in skin tone, texture, and diminished wrinkles. Since then, hundreds of Retinol (Retin A derivatives) containing cosmetics have hit the market and for one reason: It works. Repeated studies prove that Retinol works “on a molecular level,” and the secret is consistent use. Penetrating the lower layer of skin while you sleep, Retinols diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Prescription Retin A can be obtained from your dermatologist or Retinols are available OTC. A few well-reviewed brands include: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Moisturizer (Costco), Skinceuticals Retinol 1 Maximum Strength (Amazon) and Patricia Wexler M.D. Intensive Deep Wrinkle Treatment with MMPi-20 and Retinol 1
Still Wear Sunscreen
Older skin is still very susceptible to the sun. While I didn’t see much sun damage in my 20’s, my 40’s revealed damage in places often overlooked: my chest/décolletage and legs. The key to choosing sunscreen in your 50’s is selecting one that is at least 40 SPF and blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Wear it every day, even if it’s a cloudy day. Another place to wear sunscreen: Hands. Big lover of gel manicures? That UV light setting your gel is also aging your hands. Slather on some SPF before your appointment and minimize your exposure.
Yes, you read that right: Snail Masks. Snail secretions, known as snail mucin, have existed in Korean Women’s skincare arsenal for a long time. Much like retinol, snail mucin is praised for its skin softening, plumping and moisturizing attributes. It naturally contains hyaluronic acid and helps boost your skin’s production of collagen and elastin. While snail mucin comes in cream form, the easiest way to get the benefits is by using a sheet mask. Search for “Snail Sheet Mask” on Amazon and you’re sure to find something that you piques your interest.
Botox & Jeuveua
When UK’s Daily Mail asked her the secret to looking youthful in her 40’s, talk show host Kelly Ripa replied, “It’s the Botox. Every seven months or so my eyelid skin rests on my lashes.” FDA approved for forehead lines, crows feet and “the elevens,” between our eyes, Botox works by blocking signals from your nerves to your muscles, preventing the muscles from contracting, improving their appearance. It lasts approximately 4-6 months and costs $200-$500 per visit, depending on the area and how many units you need. In late February, the FDA approved a new injectable neurotoxin called Jeuveau, which has similar properties to Botox. I’m hearing Jeuveau may be 20%-25% less expensive than Botox and last longer. Scheduled to be available this summer, Jeuveau joins the other available products like Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin, giving women more options and choice for the product that works for them.
Midlife is a transition for women and loving our reflections is its own journey. For women over 50, some days we find gold in the mirror and some days, bronze. But darlings, we have so much more freedom and opportunity than our mothers, that we should absolutely enjoy every minute.