This is a great question, because the answer is…it depends. Since there isn’t a “one-size fits all” approach here, we’re going to break it down in terms of the issues at hand.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and more than 25 percent of women between the ages of 40-49.” When looking at ways to treat acne, it’s important to understand how it happens. First, your body produces oil called “sebum” from your sebaceous gland which is located inside a hair follicle. To keep skin from losing moisture, the body will release sebum to coat the skin. At the same time, your skin turns over in a natural cycle. When dead skin cells get mixed with sebum, it can get trapped in a hair shaft and thus a blockage is created. Bacteria that is naturally on your skin is trapped in this pocket and multiplies causing inflammation. Hence you have a pimple.
Pregnancy mask? Liver spots? Sun spots? All the same thing, but in the medical world it’s called hyperpigmentation. Your skin is comprised of a few layers which functions to protect the inside of your body. Within these layers are small cells called melanocytes (me-lan-o-cytes) which create brown pigment when sun rays hit them. It’s your body’s natural sunscreen. At times this can also be caused by hormones and various triggers.
30’s - 40’s+
Statistically speaking, most women are done with acne by age 40. However, as we age, our body doesn’t produce collagen at the same rate it did when we were younger. Thus, the anti-aging and the search for the “fountain of youth” begins to take place. To understand skin, it’s important to distinguish between collagen and elastin. If you were to take a room and look at the framework within the walls you would have elastin--it provides structure and elasticity to our skin. On the flip side, the walls in the room could be thought of as collagen, because they provide structure to the skin. Regarding skincare, it’s time to start using retinols, because they tell skin to turnover and create new collagen. Just don’t go overboard here. It’s important to start slow and take your time. Retinol in large doses can cause irritation, redness and swelling. Instead, for the first two weeks, try it every other night for an hour, then wash it off. As your skin adjusts, you can begin to increase the frequency; be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, or by a licensed physician.
A large study by published by Clinical Interventions in Aging, it demonstrates how well retinol works for anti-aging. But it also shows that it takes a minimum of 90 days to see results and that significant results start at 120+ days. It does work, but like anything else it takes time and consistency.
At the end of the day, you should start as soon as you are comfortable. We are all aging (even as you read this :)), so the sooner the better. Keep it simple and ease into it. Always wear sunscreen. And reapply it as it only lasts 2 hours tops. If you want a good place to start, take our skin care quiz. It custom tailors a full regimen for you (based on your lifestyle) that is delivered to your doorstep with instructions for use.
To healthy skin,
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