AgingSkinNet Article
Dermatologists’ Top Tips for Mature Skin
Dermatologists share skin care tips that can help mature skin look and feel its best

No matter what your age, you can have healthy, vibrant skin — skin that leaves people wondering how many years “young” you are. Following are tips that dermatologists regularly tell their patients with mature skin.

  1. Wear sunscreen every day. Sunscreen does more than prevent sunburn. Daily use of sunscreen throughout your life can reduce signs of aging such as age spots and fine lines as well as significantly decrease your risk of developing skin cancer.

Newer sunscreens eliminate that sticky or gritty feeling, and many products feel comfortable under makeup.

Dermatologists recommend wearing a sunscreen that offers:

  • A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30

  • Broad-spectrum protection (shields skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays)

  1. Change your skin care products. Products that worked so well in our teens and 20s often may not be suitable in our 40s and 50s. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners, and products that contain fragrance can leave mature skin feeling irritated and dry. People with mature skin often find that using mild, unscented products year round helps their skin feel better. 
     

  2. Give your skin what it needs. As skin ages, it often needs help to keep it looking healthy and vibrant. A product that contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) can help remove the dead outer layers of skin, leaving your face with a fresh, younger appearance. Anti-oxidants may help repair and prevent further skin damage. If you want to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots, ask your dermatologist if a cream or gel that contains tretinoin may be appropriate for you.

If you are not sure what your skin needs, see a dermatologist. Trying product after product can be just as bad for your skin as your wallet. Applying numerous products often irritates and damages the skin.

  1. If your skin feels dry, moisturize. Oil production in the skin diminishes in our 40s, so it is important to moisturize if skin feels dry. The best time to moisturize is after bathing. If your skin still feels dry with regular moisturizing after bathing, apply moisturizer a few times throughout the day.

A good moisturizer also can reduce the appearance of fine lines and give your complexion a more youthful look. Some moisturizers also contain ingredients found in sunscreen that help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

  1. Manage stress. To keep your skin looking its best, it is important to effectively manage stress. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your skin. Stress causes the body to produce more of the stress hormone, cortisol. As cortisol levels rise, oil production increases. This can lead to oily skin, acne, and related skin problems.

Studies have shown that chronic stress also can cause wounds to heal more slowly.

 

Stress even increases the risk of developing skin cancer. One research study showed that when mice received ultraviolet (UV) exposure for 28 weeks, the stressed mice developed a tumor in just 8 weeks; whereas, the non-stressed mice developed tumors in 21 weeks.

  1. Avoid tanning beds and other artificial tanning devices. Tanning beds, sunlamps, and other artificial tanning devices are not a safe alternative to the sun. Just like the sun, indoor tanning equipment emits UVA and UVB radiation. In some cases, the radiation produced during indoor tanning may be stronger than that of the sun.

Exposure to UV radiation damages the DNA in the cells of the skin and can accelerate skin aging, cause skin cancer, suppress the immune system, and lead to eye diseases such as cataracts and melanoma of the eye.

  1. Be gentle with acne-prone skin. Many women struggle with acne well into their adult years. If you are among them, dermatologists recommend:

  • Use a mild cleanser with acne fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid or sulfur. Such a cleanser can clear up outbreaks and prevent future ones. Look for acne products formulated especially for adult skin.

  • Make sure all skin care products and cosmetics are “non-comedogenic.” This means they that do not contain acne-producing ingredients.

  1. Ask questions before having a cosmetic procedure. While a cosmetic procedure can shed years from your appearance, the success of any cosmetic procedure is highly dependent on the knowledge and skill of the person performing it. Dermatologists safely perform thousands of cosmetic procedures each year with excellent results. When a cosmetic procedure is not performed by a board-certified physician or under the doctor’s direct supervision, complications increase. Be sure you know who will perform your cosmetic procedure.
     

  2. Get regular skin cancer exams. The risk of developing skin cancer increases as we age. Dermatologists encourage regular skin cancer examinations, which can help detect skin cancer early. With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for skin cancer averages 95%. When detection and treatment are delayed, the outcome is not as favorable. 
     

  3. See a dermatologist. In addition to examining your skin for skin cancer, a dermatologist can help ensure that your skin will look its best for years to come. Dermatologists are uniquely trained to analyze the skin, hair, and nails. They can spot potential problems and diagnose a multitude of conditions ranging from minor to life-threatening.

Your dermatologist also can answer your questions about the multitude of skin care products on the market. No one product is suitable for everyone. Your dermatologist can tell you which ones may be safe and effective for you.

Related Links
10 Questions to Ask Before a Cosmetic Procedure

Dermatologists’ Top 10 Tips for Relieving Dry Skin
Free Skin Cancer Screenings
Need for Skin Cancer Exam Increases with Age

References:
American Academy of Dermatology, “Indoor Tanning Fact Sheet.” Last accessed November 4, 2008. Available at www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_indoortanning.html.

American Academy of Dermatology. “Looking Good No Matter What Your Age. The Ingredients and Procedures Dermatologists Recommend.” News release issued August 2, 2002.

American Academy of Dermatology, “Mature Skin.” Last accessed November 4, 2008. Available at www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_mature.html.

American Academy of Dermatology, “Stress and Skin.” Last accessed November 4, 2008. Available at www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_stressandskin.html.

 

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Page last updated 11/13/08

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