“It’s possible to have vibrant skin at any age, as long as you take steps to properly care for your skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Bethanee J. Schlosser, MD, PhD, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology and director of Women’s Skin Health at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“For example, wearing sunscreen protects the skin from both harmful UVA and UVB rays and is one of the most effective ways to prevent wrinkling and sun damage.”
For additional ways to prevent premature skin aging, Dr. Schlosser recommends the following tips.
- Use gentle skin care products. For healthierlooking skin, consider using mild, unscented products year-round. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners, and products that contain fragrance can leave aging skin feeling irritated and dry.
- Consider using an AHA or retinoid product. Products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or retinoids can make your skin look younger. If you want to reduce the signs of aging, ask your dermatologist if a product that contains a retinoid, such as tretinoin, may be right for you. Also consider using products with antioxidants, as these may help repair and prevent further skin damage. Regimens can also be tailored to minimize potential skin irritation.
- Be gentle with acne-prone skin. If you struggle with acne as an adult, the use— and overuse—of anti-acne cleansers and products may irritate your skin. Consider switching to a mild cleanser with salicylic acid or sulfur. Make sure all skin care products and cosmetics are labeled noncomedogenic, nonacnegenic, or oil-free. In addition, wash gently, as scrubbing can further irritate the skin.
- Moisturize Oil production in the skin diminishes in our forties, so it is important to moisturize your skin regularly. The best time to moisturize is right after taking a bath or shower. If your skin still feels dry with consistent daily moisturizing, apply moisturizer a few times throughout the day.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Research has shown that ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun accelerate skin aging— making sun protection a critical part of every anti-aging skin care plan. To protect your skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your face, neck, and body whenever you are going outside. For additional protection seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing whenever possible.
- Keep your hands protected. Be sure to also apply sunscreen to your hands to protect them from premature aging. Consider applying a glycolic acid or antioxidant product to your hands to help repair sun damage.
- Do not smoke. Tobacco smoke contains toxins that can lead to smoker’s face, a term used by doctors to describe the dull and dry complexion, loss of skin firmness, premature lines and wrinkles especially around the mouth, and leathery-looking skin that smokers often have.
“Many things cause our skin to age—some we cannot do anything about, and others we can influence,” Dr. Schlosser says. “If your complexion bothers you or you’re worried about wrinkles, you should consult a board-certified dermatologist.”
The Skin Care in Your 40s and 50s video is posted to the AAD’s website and YouTube channel. It is part of the Dermatology A–Z Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair, and nails. A new video in the series posts to the AAD’s website and YouTube channel each month.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair, and nails. For more information contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM  or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), and YouTube (AcademyofDermatology). Reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Dermatology.