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Dos and don’ts for aging skin

As people age, their skin loses its ability to rejuvenate itself and natural elasticity decreases. This, along with genetics, exposure to the elements, diet and bad habits like smoking can cause skin to dry out and wrinkle. However, caring for your skin from an early age may actually help it age slower and maintain a youthful appearance longer. Learn ways to care for your mature skin so it will stay healthier longer.

Woman applying lotion to aging skin

Causes of aging skin

Your skin ages due to both internal and external factors. Tanya Kormeili, M.D., FAAD, a practicing dermatologist in Santa Monica, California states, “The production of collagen and elastin decreases and the firmness and elasticity of the skin is reduced.” Unfortunately, you cannot stop these changes from occurring, nor can you choose at what age this process begins. Genetics play a big role in determining when your skin will begin to age from the inside, so if the women in your family began to wrinkle at 30 or 40, you probably will too.

You can, however, control the external factors that cause aging. Sun, heat, extreme changes in temperatures, repetitive facial expressions like frowning, smoking, drinking alcohol and poor diet can all cause your skin to age faster. Preventing as many external factors as possible will help you maintain healthier, younger looking skin.

Caring for aging skin

As you age, you need to be more careful about the products you use to prevent further skin damage. Rough, abrasive skin care products are not necessary on mature skin. The American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) suggests using a mild face cleanser, toner that does not contain alcohol and a cream moisturizer. Avoid regular soap because it can have a drying effect. It is imperative to use sunscreen on your face and body whenever you are outside. The AAD recommends wearing a minimum of SPF 15 or higher, depending upon your skin type and the length of time you spend in the sun. To help reduce fine lines and keep skin smoother, Cynthia Bailey, M.D. of Sebastopol, California says, “Use alpha hydroxy products to exfoliate and lighten age spots and to deeply hydrate your skin. Apply a professional strength glycolic or lactic acid moisturizer immediately after washing.” There are many products available over the counter that contain these ingredients.

Choosing cosmetics for aging skin

Aging skin tends to be dry so you should start with a good cream moisturizer and eye cream before applying foundation. Choose a lightweight foundation that is one color lighter than your skin tone to brighten the skin while preventing it from caking into fine lines and wrinkles. Loose face powder works well to take away the shine, but use with a light hand. A bronzer or illuminator used sparingly on cheeks and under the jaw will bring back your youthful glow. When choosing eyeshadow and lip color, go for softer shades in cream finishes instead of frosts. Cream finishes are less likely to show up in creases and will give your face a softer look.

Diet to prevent aging skin

A balanced, healthy diet is important for maintaining healthy skin, especially when it includes foods rich in antioxidants. Lawrence Gibson, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic suggests eating a diet filled with brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including carrots, apricots, spinach, and fresh berries like blueberries, as well as fish and nuts that contain important Omega-3 fatty acids. Limit foods high in fat and carbohydrates as these have been found to promote aging of the skin. And most importantly, drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated.

More skin care tips

Dos and don’ts for oily skin
Dos and don’ts for dry skin
Dos and don’ts for acne-prone skin

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