Cleanse, tone, moisturise, repeat. There is no better way to improve your skin after 50 than sticking to these three main steps: a simple beauty routine that can have a great impact on what you see in the mirror.
If you used to neglect your skin in the past, midlife is the right stage of your life to start looking after it as investing your time in your complexion now will future-proof your skin for years to come.
But don’t get lost in the chaos of skincare treatments and serums, a good beauty routine doesn’t need to be expensive or involve multiple steps. In the end, it’s the one you can stick to and that can fit your lifestyle and budget that works.
“Beauty routines are an opportunity to notice changes within yourself,” says the San Francisco skin-care specialist Kristina Holey. “It’s not about creating perfection. As your skin needs shifts with age, so will your products.”
If you are unsure of where to start, we’ve dug around to find out a few little beauty secrets from experts you can easily follow to improve your skincare routine.
Building your skincare routine
As we age, before starting any skincare routine, aesthetic doctors usually suggest becoming more cognizant of the ingredients we search for.
“A bottle can say it does one thing, but if it isn’t full of the right stuff, it might not actually work – says Amy Brenner, MD & Associates-. To complement your aesthetic procedures, check for high-quality products with Retinoids, Peptides, Hyaluronic acid or Antioxidants“.
Ideally, in midlife antioxidant-rich products and moisturisers should be your current go-to’s to build and strengthen the skin barrier and protection against blue light, pollutants and sun rays.
“Free radical damage to the skin’s structures like collagen and DNA cause premature skin ageing – says Dr Rachel Ho of La Clinic in Singapore-. I use vitamin C during the day and niacinamide at night. I usually pick my antioxidants in serum as the concentrations are higher for better efficacy“.
She also includes retinoids in her skincare routine as believed to be great anti-agers that also prevent comedones and pimples.
If the regular face washes were effective until our 30s, now our skin requires some extra care. In midlife, any effective beauty routine should start with a gentle facial cleanser that won’t dry out the skin. Ideally, because our face comes in contact with environmental pollutants, dirt and other factors, we should choose a lightweight cleanser in the morning and something more hydrating, such as a cleansing balm, at night.
For those with dryer skin, New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D., cautions that because it’s usually sensitive, it’s best to use a cleanser that provides a good barrier protection with skin-protective ingredients like ceramides. “After an initial oil cleanser to remove my makeup, I use a cream cleanser, then use a lukewarm water to rinse, and pat my skin dry with a soft cloth,” Wexler explains.
Based on your skin type, you should reach out to a facial wash infused with antioxidants, vitamins (such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E), and enzymes, to be followed with an alcohol-free toner to avoid overdrying.
Whether you consider it superfluous or not, most experts consider toner a great ally as it can add in specific ingredients that you may not have in your other products.
Most formulas can be used morning and night, but you might want to use those with exfoliating acids only at night or every other day.
“I’d suggest Alpha and beta hydroxy acids to gently remove dead skin cells that can clog pores, improve sun-damaged skin and minimize dullness – says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a Manhattan dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group-. Hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, seal in dewiness and plump skin to subtly treat fine lines or Vitamin E and C to fight daily exposure to free radicals that can age your skin“
The market is flooded with various types of treatments that promise a youthful glow, but when it comes to performance, dermatologists and skincare professionals agree that a targeted serum remains one of the most important steps in any beauty routine.
Whether it’s day or nighttime, incorporating serums into your skincare routine in midlife is no negotiable as it can add extra vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other ingredients to your skin. Filled with concentrated doses of active ingredients, these elixirs can mitigate a number of issues, from dark spots to wrinkles.
Opt for vitamin C serum in the morning, and retinol at night for the best benefits. Remember to always follow with sunscreen, especially if you’re using retinol. You can also combine a couple of different kinds of serums to get a custom formula that suits your skin’s individual needs.
Now it’s time to apply your favourite moisturizer. This allows you to seal in your serums while helping your skin cells maintain their water content.
Experts usually recommend moisturizers with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and occlusives (that aren’t silicones). In the morning, go for moisturizers with SPF 30 (it helps to prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, and changes in the appearance of pores over time), or use sunscreen on top of a light moisturizer. At night, choose an anti-wrinkle cream with a richer formula.
Last but not least, it’s very important to give a skincare product at least three to four weeks before making a verdict on whether you see any improvements, especially for anti-ageing products. The skin cells renew every 28 days for most people, so some products like retinoids may require that duration for results to be seen.