A few months ago, a 10-year challenge rippled across social media platforms. From celebrities to your high school friends, it seemed like nearly everyone was sharing a picture of their transformation that has taken place in the past decade. Whether or not you chose to participate in the challenge, if you take a look at a picture of yourself from ten years ago, you may notice some changes. When it comes to skin, change is inevitable. While we may not realize these changes day by day, over time we may recognize some differences that can feel as though they appeared overnight. Aging is inevitable and is an amazing process that takes place over time. In order to care for your skin, it’s important to recognize the ways in which it changes throughout your lifespan.
The teenage years are accompanied by many changes, especially regarding puberty and hormones. This spike in hormone levels can lead to changes in the skin, commonly leading to acne and oiliness. Researchers at Stanford Children’s Health attribute the rise in acne during puberty to the enlargement of sebaceous (oil) glands around the hair follicles of the skin. When this happens, the surrounding ducts can become clogged and lead to whiteheads or blackheads, which I am sure many of us are all too familiar with.
When seeking treatment, assuming that the skin will clear itself may only be true for a small group of people. For teenagers experiencing their first bout of acne, it is a great time to speak to a dermatologist about what type of acne you have and what works best to clean your skin. A common starting part is beginning with a gentle cleanser that will not irritate the skin or make the acne worst and following up with a hydrating moisturizer.
The twenties are a great time for you to hone in on your skincare and truly figure out what works best for your skin. This is the time in which you can take preventative steps, if you choose, to maintain healthy skin throughout the rest of adulthood. Generally, skin in your twenties is its healthiest and your hormones fluctuate less than they did in your teenage years. The skin in your twenties is benefitting from healthy collagen and elastin production, as well as skin renewal that makes your complexion bright and plump.
Just as in the teenage years, it is important to maintain or establish a routine that involves cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliating when needed. This is also the time at which extra steps are added to prevent or reduce the visible signs of sun damage. According to dermatologist at Modern Dermatology, incorporating hyaluronic acid and antioxidants into your skincare routing can help bring moisture and even out discoloration in your skin.
While you may have gotten away with spending long hours in the sun and sacrificing sleep in your twenties, your skin in your thirties may be more revealing of unhealthy habits. The rate at which your skin cell turnover occurs in your thirties has slowed down and the skin may not appear as vibrant as it once did. As your skin elasticity changes, there are a few ingredients to look out for in your skincare products that can reduce signs of aging.
Retinoids are a topical vitamin A based compound that are most often used in anti-aging products. According to a publication by Harvard Medical School, retinoids can reduce the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, by increasing the amount of collagen produced and stimulating the production of blood vessels. Just as wrinkles do not occur over night, nor do they go away. Be patient with your skin because it may take three to six months to notice the improvements associated with retinoids, such as a smoother complexion and faded age spots,.
The forties are indicative of perimenopause in many women– the point before menopause in which ovarian hormone levels are fluctuating leading to additional changes in the skin. At this point, most women experience a decline in estrogen levels. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes that this change in hormone levels may lead many people to notice volume changes in their skin during their forties due to an additional loss of collagen and elastin. This often leads to skin that may appear lower on the face than it was in your twenties or thirties. Skin laxity is inevitable, but if you choose to decrease the degree of laxity, factors listed by the AAD including sun damage, pollution exposure, diet, weight fluctuations and lifestyle factors such as smoking may all contribute to the way in which your skin ages.
Just when you think you’ve figured out your skin, it may come as a surprise when you realize your skin has changed once again. During menopause, which often occurs between ages 45 and 55, the skin continues to change with falling levels of estrogen. One of the results of this hormone fall is an increased susceptibility to bruising because the skin becomes thinner. The AAD suggests using a sunscreen with SPF 30 (or higher) to prevent the skin from thinning any further. Although you can’t reverse the effects of thinning, you can take preventative measures.
Dry skin is also common during menopause because the skin does not retain water as well as it used to. In order to keep your skin hydrated, avoid soaps that can over-dry the skin and opt for mild cleansers and moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid or glycerin. It is also possible that some women may experience pimples or other types of acne in their fifties due to the changing hormone levels. While it may be tempting to reach for the same treatment you may have used in your twenties, it is possible that the skin has become more sensitive due to the thinning and drying that often accompanies aging.
Each age may accompany different changes for different individuals, so it is always important to schedule an appointment with a board certified dermatologist to find what works best with your skin.