It seems there's always something. In our 20s we battle the dark circles that are our reward for last night's pub crawl. In our 30s, we lament the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles and the dimming of our youthful glow. In our 40s, those wrinkles are firmly entrenched and we notice age spots in places we never thought possible. But the news is not all bad. It is possible to look great, no matter what our skin says.
We asked celebrity beauty and skin-care experts to share their tricks of the trade for glowing good looks at every age.
If skin has a heyday, this is it. You've dealt with the worst of adolescent acne and your skin has yet to bear the marks of aging. But with hormones still stabilizing, oily skin may still be a problem, so limit your play to oil-free, hypoallergenic cleansers, moisturizers and makeup.
Toronto makeup artist Michael Bonneville, who has worked with young performers such as Chantal Kreviazuk and Celine Dion, as well as with the more mature Annie Lennox and Vanessa Williams, recommends that all women in their 20s supplement a good basic skin-care routine – cleanser, toner, exfoliator, moisturizer – with healthy doses of prevention.
"A sunscreen and eye cream are essential," he says. "Sunscreens will stall any sun damage, and eye creams will help hold off fine lines and wrinkles."
He also encourages young women to begin exfoliating to speed up the natural sloughing process of the skin and keep that baby face shining.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are derived from natural ingredients such as sugarcane and fruits and are used in many cleansers and moisturizers, can also hasten the natural sloughing process.
Page 1 of 2 – Read more about skincare in your 30s, plus find tips for women in their 40s on page 2.
In our 30s, the effects of more than three decades in the sun begin to become apparent in lost collagen and elasticity and the resulting fine lines around the eyes and lips.
"We lose some collagen simply from aging," says Vancouver-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Alastair Carruthers, "but the rest is damaged by exposure to sun and cigarette smoking."
If you aren't already using UVA/UVB sun protection daily, it's time to start. To prevent future problems and even reverse existing sun damage, Carruthers also recommends using products with vitamin A derivatives. Sometimes referred to as Retin-A, vitamin A acid can be found in low doses in many over-the-counter products. However, most dermatologists prefer the higher doses in prescription creams and gels such as Retisol-A.
The gradual – and inevitable – loss of collagen that is a part of "intrinsic aging" becomes more apparent in the deep furrows and frown lines of the 40s and 50s.
Unlike that part of collagen which is damaged by sun, there is little that can prevent the loss of elasticity that comes from natural aging. We can, however, slow cellular degeneration with antioxidants, found in vitamins C and E, which protect the skin from the free radicals that scavenge our healthy cells.
Eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods is a good start. And try using a product containing vitamins C and E. Additionally, vitamin A acid used topically is a potent free-radical fighter.
There is also some suggestion that vitamin C, quite apart from protecting us from normal cell degeneration, can boost the synthesis of collagen, especially when it is applied in a potent form.
Some aesthetics salons, such as Skinworks in Toronto, offer vitamin-C facials, which use a 100 per cent active solution of vitamin C to speed up collagen production. "Vitamin C is the best tool we have to stimulate cellular renewal," says Skinworks owner Annalee Weston. "And it's the best way to get that elasticity back into aging skin."
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