Une femme feels fortunate to have been blessed with mostly-good skin: not much acne as a teenager, and fewer wrinkles than one might expect at my age. However, since the Menopause Fairy visited me a couple of years ago, I've noticed an increasing dullness and coarseness of texture, as well as some "softening" around the jawline.
Aside from religious daily use of sunscreen and nightly makeup removal, the rest of my skincare routine has been inconsistent at best in recent years. I've skimped on some items and probably overspent on others. A couple of glycolic peels from a facialist showed me that my skin could look better; my mishmash of products at home based on others' recommendations and hard-sells from department store counter sales associates wasn't getting optimum results.
So while on our recent cruise when my MIL mentioned there was a free skincare seminar at the spa, I figured, why not? I was pretty sure this would be a sales pitch for products and spa services, and while that was true, it was also an informative hour.
Some of what I learned:
1. Don't apply your eye cream on lids right up to the lash line. Apply around the orbital bone only. The cream will get to where it needs to be. This keeps product from getting into the eye itself and irritating. (Since I've begun doing this, I've noticed that my eyes are noticeably less red most of the time.)
2. Sun damage begins at deeper layers of skin and takes up to seven years to become apparent. (Yikes! Glad I got serious about sunscreen a while back.)
3. If you don't exfoliate regularly, even the priciest moisturizer won't penetrate the top layers of dead skin and get to where it can do some good.
4. The active ingredients in any skin treatment product are bound up with carrier molecules (inert ingredients). The larger the carrier molecules, the less they will penetrate the skin. (Which may explain why Oil of Olay and some other drugstore skincare products seem to sit on top of my skin like a sticky film.)
5. Women over 40 should be using a cleansing milk twice daily, rather than soap. (Cleansing was the step I'd been shorting, using a Pond's makeup remover cloth in the evening, with thrice-weekly St. Ives Apricot scrub, and nothing but water in the morning. I did buy the cleanser she recommended and started using it immediately, and saw marked improvement in the texture of my skin after just a couple of days.)
6. Brown spots that develop as a result of hormones probably will not respond much to brighteners or even lasers. (This is also what my dermatologist has told me, merde!)
7. A twice-daily non-alcohol toner and weekly clay mask will help reduce the size and appearance of pores. (I'd stopped using toner many years ago as I found them drying, but apparently that was because of the alcohol. I've been doing the non-alco toner for the last three weeks, and will get serious about finding a clay mask this weekend. I don't know if it's the toner or my overall regime, but my pores do seem to be less noticeable.)
8. Use a collagen cream to firm skin. (My overall skin texture has improved, hard to say if it's noticeably firmer or not.)
9. Glycolic night cream will improve skin's texture and clarity. (I've just started using this, so jury's still out.)
10. Microdermabrasion is what she recommended for fine lines and acne scars. (My dermatologist is lukewarm on the microdermabrasion, feels that peels are more effective.)
So my skin is looking better and I'll probably keep this routine going. I'm also going to make a point to visit the facialist for a gentle peel every three months or so. My goal isn't to necessarily turn back the clock, but rather to keep my skin looking and feeling as good as possible whatever my age.
Do you have a regular skincare routine? Has it changed over the years? Are there any particular products that you swear by?