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When I turned 50, I gave thanks for the chubby cheeks that have given me the unsophisticated look of a demented hamster. Of course, my entire previous life I would have traded them for the chiseled planes of a supermodel, but at 50 I could see that those cheek muscles were helping to hold things up. Four years later, I have come to realize that gravity is something to increasingly contend with. Luckily, I have found some solutions to sagging that are the cornerstone of this 50-something’s regimen – along with the tricky issue of exfoliation, repair and how to get back your glow. Here’s my essential four-part regimen for 50-somethings.
I get a lot of mail that goes along the lines of “I’m using a daily retinol at night, an AHA cream in the morning and was wondering which vitamin C serum I could add in.” Everyone has to find what works for them, but this would be way too much exfoliation for me. My personal opinion is that however tempting it is to want to strip away the signs of age, there is such a thing as too much exfoliation and a balanced and patient approach will go a long way to getting back our glow.
The starting point is daily powered brushing. I believe that this is one of the foundations of beautiful skin since facial brushing is a most effective form of daily exfoliation that removes debris and dead cells to keep the skin clear. The trick is to combine effectiveness with a gentle touch and the key to this is to ensure that the brush head has sufficient rotations. The Ultra Clear ($86; currently not available) has 1800 micro vibrations per second to whisk away the years. It can be used dry or with a cleanser that also delivers anti-aging ingredients, such as Josh Rosebrook Moisturizing Cleanser ($27) or La Vie Celeste Exfoliating Mother Of Pearl Exfoliating Cleanser ($40 in the shop).
AHA and glycolic concoctions help a great deal to erase dull skin and leave a healthy glow. If you overdo it though, you can end up achieving the former but not the latter – skin is clear, but dry and papery. A good glycolic treatment a couple of times a week is, however, essential. Lumavera Glycolic Night Cream ($80) delivers noticeable exfoliating effects, but with 10% glycolic and some retinyl palmitate and vitamin C, it is not for the faint-hearted. This night treatment will even out skin tone and refine skin's texture. A gentler alternative is La Vie Celeste's Restorative Exfoliating Gel Mask ($60 in the shop), which brightens skin with a gentle but effective 5% glycolic concentration.
For a glow that doesn’t involve exfoliation, I’ve recommended to countless 50-somethings Royal Nectar Face Mask with Bee Venom ($68 in the shop) – yes it’s the one with bee venom and devoted fans among the British Royals. Anyway, it leaves the skin soft, radiant and hydrated.
Fifty-something skin needs a helping hand with a firm grip and skincare’s most recent breakthroughs come into their own with skin that needs some repair. Peptides and growth factors perform highly specific signaling tasks that give cells instructions to do useful things, such as produce more collagen.
Growth factor serums set about repairing wrinkles and are most notably made by ReLuma ($145), AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum ($149 in the shop) and E'shee Clinical Esthetic Cellular Repair Serum ($179 in the shop). E’shee’s FGF growth factor is also in its KI Therapy Serum ($189 in the shop) along with FAR ceramic powder, and this does a very good job of enhancing skin texture overall.
Peptides also do a splendid job of refreshing and plumping the skin. A great peptide complex appears in BRAD Essential Elixir Multipeptide ($95 in the shop); when used at night, it gives your skin a lovely rested look the next day. Peptides also feature prominently in Sciote Peptide+Defense Firming Eye Creme ($65 in the shop), an eye cream that is most helpful for wrinkles and dark circles. Skinfinite Peptide Repair Serum ($69 in the shop) adds powerful antioxidants to its peptide-packed formula, which stimulates cell growth to repair wrinkles.
So back to the gravity issue. Topical treatment of sagging skin used to be confined to the realms of fantasy, but there have been a couple of breakthroughs. There are some new peptides that claim to help prevent sagging skin, most notably one marketed as ChroNoline. You will find it in Your Best Face Control ($160 in the shop), Prana SpaCeuticals Precious Fluids ($135) and a couple of products from La Vie Celeste: Extra Rich Crème ($75 in the shop) and Eclairage Restorative Serum ($99 in the shop). For an extra little lift for the eyes, I find that AQ Skin Solutions Eye Serum ($99 in the shop) is helpful.
The single most effective (non-invasive) lift for sagging skin in my experience so far is ultrasound. Along with plumping and wrinkle smoothing LED, this technology is found in our Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279 in the shop) and, for firming and lifting the body, in the Ultra Renew Sculpt ($129 in the shop). They are not quick fixes as they require regular (at least three times per week) and sustained use, but if you stick with the program heading well into your 50s, you will need not be accompanied by that sinking feeling.
Note: This article was last updated on October 9, 2014