40 years of healthy skin
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Wash This Way2 of 13
It's never too early to implement a basic skincare regimen that you follow throughout your life. Start with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer, along with a daytime face lotion with at least SPF 30. Wash and moisturize before bed every night, smooth on the SPF every morning, and—if you're prone to flaky, clogged pores—de-gunk with a facial scrub once or twice a week in the shower. For sensitive skin, whip up a gentle scrub using brown sugar and honey.
Battle Breakouts3 of 13
Your teenage years may be well behind you, but many women in their 20s and early 30s are still plagued by the occasional rogue pimple. To control oil and kill bacteria, look for cleansers with salicylic and azelaic acid or, for a mild alternative, a natural tea tree oil treatment.
Have Fun4 of 13
But not too much fun. Overdoing it at happy hour can aggravate skin conditions like rosacea and break fragile capillaries. Drinking is also a serious hydration zapper. The fix? Down at least one full glass of water for every cocktail you finish.
Relax & Recharge5 of 13
If the decade before had a "work hard, play hard" mentality, then this decade is often the "work hard, work harder" one. With a high-octane career or young kids (or both!), it's easy to skimp on sleep. But getting those crucial eight hours a night goes a long way in maintaining gorgeous skin. The body rebuilds tissue and cells when we're in dreamland, and with prolonged sleep deprivation, skin woes like fine lines and splotchiness are more likely to develop early on.
Get Physical6 of 13
Working up a sweat does more than keep your ticker healthy—cardio-based exercise (anything that gets the heart pumping) promotes healthy circulation, which gives your skin that coveted rosy glow. And the fresh blood carries oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, while also carting away free radicals, a common enemy of youthful skin. Take that!
Give Me An A!7 of 13
With fine lines and discoloration starting to appear, this is the perfect decade to introduce retinoids into your skincare routine. Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that unclog pores and speed cell turnover, while smoothing the surface of the skin. Prescription retinoid formulations come in different strengths; a dermatologist can help you decide which one will best service your epidermis.
Find Your Zen8 of 13
This is the decade when career goals come to fruition for many women. But be mindful of keeping that healthy work-to-play ratio. Stress shows up on your skin in various ways. The fight-or-flight hormone cortisol increases, revving up oil production, and your skin's barrier function can go haywire, resulting in water loss that makes skin's ability to repair itself more strained. Mitigate intense days with chill-inducing activities such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture.
Make A Change9 of 13
Yes, it's that time. The hot flashes of menopause hit around 51 leading to a drop in estrogen. As a result, collagen production slows and skin loses its density and elasticity. To counteract the effects, look for products packing alpha and beta hydroxy acids that help increase skin's thickness, as well as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which draw in moisture and keep skin plump and hydrated.
Look On The Bright Side10 of 13
Hyperpigmentation, fueled by hormonal changes and sun damage, can leave your complexion looking splotchy. To even out your skin tone, there's a crop of new brightening treatments featuring ingredients such as hydroquinone, azelaic and kojic acids, vitamin C, mulberry extract and niacinamide.
Eat This Up11 of 13
A diet full of good fats yields a good face. Cells rely on fatty acids to maintain the vigor of its membranes, which hug nutrients and water to the actual cell. As we age, cells have a harder time holding on to water. Help them out by replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats (found in walnuts, avocado and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fats (like in salmon and sunflower oil).
Stay Sun Smart12 of 13
You've been shielding your skin from aging UV rays for years, and there's no reason to stop now. If your skin has become more sensitive, then look for a sunscreen that provides a physical barrier against the sun—not a potentially irritating chemical one. Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are now fine enough that they won't leave a haze of white residue on your skin.
Be A Natural13 of 13
It may be tempting to invest in products loaded with potent (and expensive) anti-aging ingredients in this decade, but treating skin with harsh acids and other serious exfoliators can backfire, leaving it thinner and less smooth-looking than before. Instead, consider ingredients straight from nature, such as pomegranate, basil, grape seed, green tea, ginseng and acai berry extracts. On the whole, botanicals tend to be gentler than their chemically wrought counterparts, but no less rejuvenating.