Our blog Series: How to Keep Your Best Face series continues by looking at what people in their 60’s can do to put their best face forward.
Your 60s and beyond: nourish and lift
The upper layers of skin struggle to retain moisture, oil production slows, and dark spots are more pronounced. Bone loss, particularly in the lower part of the face, creates jowls, says Beer, and the area below your cheekbones and your temples may look sunken. Fair-skinned women often start to notice concentrated areas of roughness, called actinic keratoses (AKs). These scaly patches are more than an aesthetic concern — they can be precursors to skin cancer.
Best home treatments
Minimize facial cleansing: Even creamy cleansers can irritate very dry skin, so you may want to use just a milky makeup remover that tissues off without the need to rinse. Try Albolene ($12; drugstores) and Avène Gentle Cleanser ($20; drugstores).
Slather on seriously intense moisturizers: You can handle the thickest ones available now; look for formulas with a high concentration of oils, such as petrolatum. Many doctors recommend straight Vaseline at night. “It seals in moisture, and is gentle enough to use on eyelids,” says Waldorf.
Adjust your retinoid: Instead of applying it on bare skin, layer a light moisturizer underneath, or mix it with your moisturizer. If all else fails, downgrade to a more moisturizing formula.
Turn to the pros – Abloom Med Spa
Attack all signs of aging: The fractionated CO2 laser softens lines and wrinkles and makes dark spots disappear without downtime or risk of scarring associated with the original CO2 laser. In a recent study, side effects (including redness, swelling, and flaking of the skin) subsided in about 5 days. One to three treatments at about $1,000 and up each are usually necessary. Fractional CO2 lasers may cause collagen to “contract,” leading to skin tightening (and less sagging) 3 to 6 months after treatment; Goldberg says about 50 percent of patients experience this.
Lift and tighten: Titan and Thermage help pick up the slack in the lower face without a scalpel. Both heat the skin deep below the surface (Titan uses infrared light; Thermage draws on radiofrequency energy), inducing the production of more collagen and causing existing collagen to contract. The only downtime is a few hours of redness, but you’ll need up to three treatments at $1,200 each to see maximum results.
Eliminate early skin cancers: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) offers both medical and cosmetic benefits. The skin is painted with a photosensitizing acid, which is activated with light; a chemical reaction destroys abnormalities in skin — removing both visible AKs and precancer cells. Skin is left red, swollen, and sore for up to 4 days, but after a week, it will be softer, healthier, and more evenly toned. One or two sessions, which run about $250 and up, usually suffice.
Sunscreen, the ultimate skin saver: There’s no question that UV exposure makes you look older than your years. “It’s responsible for about 75 percent of skin aging,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD. Don’t think that it’s too late to start protecting your skin: One study found that you’ve received less than half your lifetime UV exposure at age 40; by age 59, you’ve soaked up 74 percent. For the best protection, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 (30 is even better) containing Mexoryl, Helioplex, avobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide.