If Truth In Aging's Real Beauty At Any Age annual survey revealed anything, it is that self-doubt starts to creep in during our 40s, while 30-somethings are still feeling good about themselves. Of those members of the Truth In Aging community in their 30s, 54% felt they looked their best in their 20s, while 42% feel they look their best right now. That’s about half of you with a feel good factor. For 40-somethings, 54% felt they looked their best in their 30s, while only 15% feel they look their best at the moment. The good news is that by our 50s, we are ready to embrace beautiful at any age.
Fine lines are the number one concern
71% of Truth In Aging 30-somethings said that fine lines were their main concern, with almost the same proportion (69%) of 40-somethings echoing them. Prevention is everything for 30 and 40-somethings, and antioxidants are the essential component of a prevention regimen. Antioxidants protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Although the body makes some antioxidants, we rely primarily on external sources — namely a diet of fruits, vegetables and grains. Topical antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase, vitamins C and E (tocopheryl), alpha lipoic acid to name but a few join a host of plant extracts with a proven track record of protecting skin cells.
A good antioxidant serum would be Medik8 CE-Thione Rechargeable Vitamin C Serum ($150 in the shop). It takes a clever approach by using glutathione — a super antioxidant — to “recharge” vitamin C and vitamin E. The glutathione regulates the vitamins so that they are more stable and renders them more potent, ultimately helping protect the skin against free radicals.
I also think amino acids are a really good choice. Amino acids are the proverbial building blocks of the body, accounting for the smallest molecular components of proteins. BRAD Biophotonic Essential Elixir Multi-Peptide ($95 in the shop) is an amino acid based serum that restores elasticity and radiance.
Sensitive, allergy-prone skin
About 30% of 30-somethings have some skin sensitivity or allergies to topical products. What this says to me is that when you get to your 30s, some of your skin care assumptions may need to be revisited. Sensitivity to products is not going to be solved by febrile experimentation. Better to really get to understand your skin — it will tell you a lot about what it does and doesn’t like. As Stephanie put it when she completed the Truth In Aging survey: “I always thought my skin was dry, but discovered it is normal but tends to get dehydrated. A big epiphany!”
There are good products that are formulated for sensitive skin. A favorite is Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Time Release Vitamin D Moisture Mist ($39 in the shop) — a spray moisturizer with shiitake mushroom, a rich source of vitamin D that soothes irritation and redness. Alpine rose extract helps to increase skin's resistance to environmental stressors and dryness. La Vie Celeste products are also generally suitable for sensitive skin. Try La Vie Celeste Eclairage Restorative Serum ($98.50 in the shop) as it is multitasking and packed with antioxidants and skin-brighteners, such as lilac leaf cell culture extract, licorice and B-white, to reduce dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles and large pores.
With 30-somethings, 47% reported acne. This is such a large number that I wonder if acne is used as a blanket term for breakouts and the above mentioned product sensitivity, or if it's due to the fact that 21% of 30-somethings go to bed with makeup (tsk, tsk). For real deal acne, the best approach is not even more product but blue light therapy. Blue light wavelengths penetrate the skin and produce singlet oxygen which can destroy acne-causing bacteria. The Truth Renew Ultrasonic and LED Anti-aging System ($109 in the shop) has blue, green and red LED light.
Hyperpigmentation is a major concern
Among 40-somethings just under half said that hyperpigmentation was a major concern. What’s happening here is that sun damage can manifest itself as uneven skin tone and dark spots before wrinkles really set in. Hyperpigmentation is mostly caused by melanocyte activity. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin's epidermis. Melanin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is responsible for both its color and the skin's absorption of UV rays. When the skin has been exposed to UV radiation, melanocytes send more melanin to the skin's surface to protect the skin from burning. Too much melanin can result in age spots, freckles, and hyperpigmentation.
Topical actives that inhibit tyrosinase include decapeptide-12, SymWhite 377, arbutin, glabridin (licorice extract), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and hexylresorcinol. Some effective natural dark spot faders include m-Tranexamic acid (in E'shee Serum Intensive Brightening / $119 in the shop), lumiskin, bearberry (Osmotics Lighten FX Serious Brightening Solution / $62 in the shop), kojic acid, glycolic acid, ferulic acid and vitamin C and B-white (M.A.D Spot On / $42 in the shop).
New versus a tried and trusted regimen
70% of 30 and 40-somethings said they’re more likely to try new products than stick to a routine. I personally think that is a good thing — especially in these decades when skincare needs are changing significantly. Let’s face it: Clinique’s 3-step thing just isn’t going to cut it anymore. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Truth In Aging community member Alison, who sagely noted: “Gradual improvement is good enough for me. I used to try too many things impatiently at once.”
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to try anything and everything, driven desperate by a mile-long laundry list of skin and aging woes. But before acting on this, take a deep breath and focus on just one major concern and hunt down the very best thing for treating it within your price comfort zone. Then give it time to work. After that’s been nailed, you can branch out to tackle other issues. And, of course, keep an eye out for anything even better coming along!
Some last words
“My real "aha" moment came late in life… when I started using products from TIA. My friend asked if I had gotten "work" done but actually I had just started using great products... mostly moisturizers and a good micro-brush. I haven't looked back since, and all the money I used to spend on shoes now gets spent on skin care!” — Lisa
“After I turned 47, in the midst of a long midlife crisis, post-divorce, and between careers, I looked in the mirror and realized I no longer recognized my own face. This was when I discovered the TIA website, and I have gradually turned back the clock on my face.” — Laura
Marta Wohrle is an anti-aging skin care and beauty expert and the founder/CEO of Truth In Aging. Marta is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind anti-aging product claims.