Navigating skincare as you age can be a tricky business. There’s so much information out there that it can be confusing to figure out what really matters most when it comes to anti-aging.
To make things clearer, we reached out to several dermatologists to get to the bottom of what really counts when you’re trying to beat both Father Time and Mother Nature.
1. You’re applying sunscreen incorrectly.
Yes, we’ve all heard that sunscreen is the single most important step we can take in the fight against wrinkles and lines. It’s believed that around 80 percent of the visible signs of aging come from sun exposure. But it’s important not to forget to reapply and apply it on all the right spots, dermatologist Joel Cohen stresses.
“Many ladies that come to see a dermatologist for either aesthetic or medical purposes are insufficiently protecting their skin,” Cohen told The Huffington Post.
Simply wearing sunscreen or a foundation that contains sun protection isn’t enough. You need to make sure the sunscreen contains the right ingredients and make sure you’re reapplying about every two hours you’re in the sun. And make sure you look for one with broad spectrum sun protection.
But here’s the really critical part. Your face isn’t the only part to show signs of aging.
“Ladies should NOT forget sunscreen on their hands, ears, chest and lips. Many ladies try to be so careful to protect their face and forget about these other areas,” Cohen said.
2. You’re not sleeping enough.
“Many women after menopause have trouble sleeping through the night,” dermatologist Patricia Farris told The Huffington Post. With hot flashes and night sweats, it’s no surprise that getting comfortable can be difficult.
If you’ve resigned yourself to sleepless nights, Farris says it’s crucial to act fast.
“It’s important to discuss this with your physician since lack of sleep makes skin dull, puffy and exacerbates dark circles,” Farris said. Some studies have actually shown that lack of sleep can speed up the aging process.
Your doctor can help offer treatment options along with lifestyle changes like cutting out stimulants, and avoiding trigger foods.
3. You’re ignoring certain signs.
Dealing with a changing body along with the stresses of daily life can be a lot to cope with, but it’s best to tackle aging head on. Dermatologist Lisa Chipps says it’s good to act as soon as you see the first signs of aging.
“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” Chipps told The Huffington Post. “When you start to notice something about your skin bothers you a little bit, that’s the best time to treat it! It’s much easier to nip it in the bud than to try to undo years of procrastinating.”
4. You’re using too much Botox.
Botox is an injectable drug that’s used to temporarily smooth out wrinkles for anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It’s popular in Hollywood and many stars have openly admitted to using it, but many also say they aren’t fans of the frozen face look.
Either is Dr. Farris. “Our muscles thin or atrophy with aging, meaning it takes far less Botox to relax them,” she said. “As we age we need some of our muscles to keep us looking younger. A good example of this is the frontalis muscle in the forehead that keeps our eyebrows elevated. So I tell patients that less is more with Botox as we age and proper placement is essential.”
5. You’re shelling out the big bucks for a miracle cream.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” but dermatologists say this doesn’t always mean the more expensive or “organic” products are going to perform better.
“There are a lot of expensive creams and serums out there, but make sure they have an active ingredient that can do something beneficial for your skin beyond just being a good moisturizer,” Cohen said.
Consumer Reports tested several anti-aging creams, from modestly-priced drugstore brands to high-end potions that cost several times as much and found price and efficacy actually have no correlation. Even the best face creams provided only modest results, which just goes to prove that prevention really is the best cure.