As we age our skin changes in many ways. For one, it loses some of the underlying layers of fat that give us a youthful appearance. Our skin also loses elasticity and tone, which leads to wrinkles, and becomes less able to retain moisture. The oil production glands on the face become smaller, as well.
While these changes are a normal part of aging, there are some things that can be done to slow the process and mask some of the appearance. Keep in mind that the key to skin care over the age of 50 is prevention, and consider adopting these healthy skin practices:
- Slather on the sunscreen: I always wish I could have spoken to patients 30 years earlier when they were being careless with sun protection; so many patients want to know how to fix damage that has already been done. The good news is that it is never too late to get started wearing a good broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Wearing sunscreen everyday will go a long way to preventing dark marks and wrinkles.
- Drink up: Because one of the largest concerns I hear from patients is that they notice dry skin, another important aspect to consider as we age is increased hydration. Your goal should be at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Modify your moisturizer: It is important to use thicker moisturizers with ingredients that help the skin hold water. For mature skin there are some key ingredients to look for, including glycerin and alpha hydroxy acids. These can make the skin cells swell a bit, creating a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Angela Lamb, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology and is currently the Director of the Westside Dermatology Faculty Practice at Mount Sinai. She treats a broad spectrum of skin diseases including cancer, pigmentation problems, and acne.