When you entered your 30s, you probably thought your days of dealing with breakouts were behind you, but many women in their 30s, 40s and even 50s still have acne. It’s also a time when we start to develop fine lines and, eventually, wrinkles. The good news is that dermatologists have found that acne patients tend to have younger-looking skin – even long after their acne has subsided. That silver lining aside, what do you do when your skin is suffering from both acne and signs of aging at the same time?
A Skincare Plan For Acne and Fine Lines and Wrinkles
1. Start With the Right Cleanser
A common mistake many people make is not changing up their facial cleanser as they get older. While acne can persist well into adulthood, it’s typically not as pervasive as it was in your teenage and young adult years. That means you no longer need those acne-fighting facial cleansers with harsh ingredients. Someone older will also have drier skin, meaning that these types of cleansers can cause even more acne and worsen signs of aging.
2. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate (Or Exfoliate, Exfoliate)
You might be worried about exfoliating, especially if you have dry skin, but exfoliating is A-ok. Aging skin has a slower cellular turnover rate, so exfoliating 2-3 times a week can help to bring those new cells to the top layer of your skin, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and dullness.
Just be sure not to overdo it. Over-exfoliation can actually speed up skin aging. Use your judgment – if you have sensitive skin, twice a week is probably fine.
FYI: There are two kinds of exfoliators: chemical and physical
Chemical exfoliators use a topical acid, like lactic or citric acid, to dissolve dead skin cells.
Physical exfoliators are abrasives that manually remove dead skin cells. They include washcloths, exfoliating brushes and gloves, and face scrubs.
Remember St. Ives apricot scrub? Who didn’t use the ubiquitous facial scrub at one time or another in the 90s and early 2000s? Well, it’s still popular, but more and more people have spoken out against it. Users say that the super gritty scrub, which includes ingredients like walnut shell powder and corn meal, is too abrasive, leading to long-term skin damage. There was even a class action lawsuit, but the case was dismissed.
The bottom line: Physical exfoliators aren’t all bad, but exercise caution when using them.
3. Re-Evaluate Your Relationship With the Sun
Our sun sustains life on our planet. Without it, we could not survive. 🌞
Be thankful, but don’t forget that the sun can harm us, too.
You’ve probably been taught since childhood to use sunblock when spending the day at the beach or pool, but you should always protect your skin when you’re going to be outdoors (even if you’re just driving somewhere – studies have confirmed that we get more sun damage on the left sides of our bodies, just from driving to work each day).
Sun damage is the #1 cause of signs of aging in skin, like wrinkles and liver spots. UV light from the sun and tanning beds actually cause “DNA changes in the skin” that can lead to premature aging – and skin cancer. 😬 So, protect yourself with SPF.
4. Use an Anti-Aging Moisturizer
So, you’re finally ready to admit it’s time to start using an anti-aging moisturizer. But how do you choose one – especially if you’re still getting those pesky pimples?
Here’s a tip: choose products with ingredients that pull double duty.
Many anti-aging products contain ingredients that can help with aging skin and acne. Retinol is the most well-known of these.
Related: Struggling to accept your aging skin? Practice makes perfect when it comes to embracing your natural beauty.
Retinol’s Role in Managing Acne and Aging Skin at the Same Time
Retinol has been shown to help with acne and even reverse signs of aging.
Dr. Sandra Lee (a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper) says that, while managing acne and aging skin together can be challenging, it is possible:
“My favorite ingredient for this is retinol, which is clinically-proven to help exfoliate, regulate the skin cycle, and support skin repair.”
What Is Retinol?
Retinol falls into the category of retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with cell turnover.
When a moisturizer or other product that contains retinol is applied topically, it can lead to increased collagen production and decreased collagen breakdown. What this means is that it can do a whole lot for your skin, no matter what your main concern is.
- Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots
- Make your skin more resistant to new wrinkles
- Treat mild acne
- Even out skin tone
- Dissolve oils
- Tighten pores
Popular retinol products include:
Is Retinol Safe?
Retinol use can come with some side effects, but you can take some precautions to minimize harm.
Potential side effects of retinol use include:
- Dryness and irritation – for many, this only lasts the first few weeks while your skin adjusts, but symptoms may continue for those with sensitive skin
- Sensitivity to sun – it’s recommended that you wear sunscreen when going outside, or, better yet, avoid retinol use altogether if you’re often outside
- Potential risk of serious harm – Retinols are often stabilized with BHT and Parabens, which have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues
- Potential dangers for pregnant women, children and older adults – If someone has a higher-than-average amount of vitamin A in their body – like a pregnant woman taking a daily prenatal supplement – consuming even more vitamin A can cause health problems
More research is needed to better understand retinol and its potential risks, but if you’re concerned, or if you have sensitive skin, there are retinol alternatives you can use instead.
Retinol alternatives are naturally occurring substances that have also been shown to improve the overall health and look of skin. They include peptides, azelaic acid, and bakuchiol.
Bakuchiol, the most well-known of these alternatives, comes from the babchi plant, an herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Popular bakuchiol products include:
Bonus recommendation: a well-reviewed night serum that combines retinol and bakuchiol ($$$)
Not Sure Where To Start? Try Salt Therapy for Aging Skin
Getting started with a skincare routine for aging skin can be confusing. A lot of people don’t know where to begin. While different things work for different people, at Sage Blossom Massage, we prefer all-natural treatments, like Salt Therapy.
During your Salt Therapy session, a superfine aerosol of crushed medical grade salt is released into the air. The fine dust settles deep within your skin, absorbing impurities.
Salt is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and can help to treat:
- Signs of aging
- Skin texture
- Dry and flaky skin
- And more
Ready to love your skin again?