I’m 50, What Happened to My Face?

Yikes!  All of a sudden you look in the mirror and those fine lines have become deeper, your face is sagging,  your skin is thinner, brown spots are appearing and there are raised bumps coming out of nowhere.  By the way,  women have the added disadvantage of a dramatic drop in estrogen as they age which causes dryness on top of it all.  You ask your doctor and he/she says “Welcome to old age!”  No way, I don’t like that surprise, what happened and how did it creep up on me?  It is never too late to start a regimen to boost your skin and perhaps soften the effects of aging.

Very tired eyes

We have all had bad habits in our youth.  Now is the time to discard the bar of soap or drugstore cleanser and start new habits by following this routine:

Step 1: Cleanse

Choose a cleanser that removes dirt without stripping your skin of moisture. Products containing natural exfoliators, such as alpha hydroxy acids, help slough away dead skin, clear up menopausal acne and stimulate collagen production.  Even in your 50’s your skin cells are renewing; they are doing so at a slower rate.  Schedule a facial or a peel at regular intervals for a professional exfoliation to remove those dead, lifeless cells.

Step 2: Protect

Daily sunscreen use can halt skin aging by 24%, an Australian study finds, so slather up.  Most say that they don’t work outside so why wear sunscreen?  No matter!  You get sun exposure everywhere – in the car; on a cloudy day.  And monitor pimples that don’t heal, bumps that bleed easily and rough patches—they could be precancerous.  Consider going to a dermatologist for a skin cancer check on a regular basis.

Step 3: Smooth

Retinoids increase collagen production, which promotes younger-looking skin and minimizes skin imperfections, including wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. Antioxidant creams, lotions and serums containing vitamins C and E also help soften and smooth the skin.  Choose your skin care line with the above in mind.  At this age, it is important to not strip the skin of nutrients, it is important to add and to turnover cells.  Consider consulting an esthetician for a product line that is suitable for your skin type and will leave your skin glowing!

With the right products and regimen, it’s possible to maintain young healthy skin in your 50s.

Adapted from AARP Magazine August/September 2014 Skin Care in Your 50s


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How Should I Apply Facial Products?

This is a question that comes up with many of my new clients that have had a facial and picked up some skin care products. What order should you apply the products and when?

The simplest rule to follow: Apply the lightest, thinnest product first and work up to the heaviest. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for morning and evening.


1. Wash with a creamy, non-sudsy, non-detergent cleanser.  If you have dry or sun damaged skin, try a cleanser with an alpha hydroxy acid.

2. Spray your face with a non-alcohol-based antioxidant toner.

3. Apply a light serum containing either vitamin C or another antioxidant, like ferulic acid or green tea.

4. Lightly pat on an eye cream.  There are ones on the market that also have a little SPF in them.  Keep in mind that under your eyes the skin is the thinnest and more fragile than any other area of the body.

5. Apply a moisturizer—tinted, if you like—with a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher.  Always apply sunscreen last.



1. Wash with a creamy, non-sudsy, non-detergent cleanser.

2. Apply moisturizer/night cream if your skin is sensitive or very dry, or you suffer from rosacea.

3. If you use a prescription retinoid, apply that next, dabbing a pea-size amount on your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin.

4. If you use hydroquinone or another lightner to treat hyperpigmentation, either mix it with the retinoid or apply it afterward.

5. If you are very dry or sun damaged, and are not using retinols or a lightner, apply a heavier serum before your moisturizer or night cream.

Keep in mind: A retinoid, Vitamin C, and hydroquinone makes your skin sun-sensitive, so if you use one to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, be vigilant about sunscreen.

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More Sunscreen Options???

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 2 million new cases diagnosed each year—many of which could have been prevented by proper protection from the sun.

Young woman in sunglasses putting sun cream on shoulder

The two main types of harmful rays are:

UV-B – is primarily responsible for causing sunburn

UV-A – penetrate the skin more deeply, and are also known to play a major role in skin wrinkling and skin cancer.

Ideally, we should protect the skin against both types of UV radiation. Here are a list of chemicals that are either approved by the FDA or awaiting approval that can protect against both types of rays.

Approved in the United States

  • Chemical filters (UV-A protection): avobenzone, dioxybenzone, meradimate, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone.
  • Chemical filters (UV-B protection): aminobenzoic acid, cinoxate, ensulizole, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, padimate O, trolomine salicylate.
  • Physical filters (broad spectrum): titanium dioxide, zinc oxide.

The FDA has not expanded their list of approved active sunscreen ingredients since 1999 because sunscreen is considered a medication and must meet standards for safety and therapeutic effect.  Therefore, there is a long list of sunscreen ingredients that are awaiting approval.

Awaiting FDA Approval

  • Amiloxate: Applied for approval in 2002. UV-B filter. Currently used in Asia and Europe.
  • Bemotrizinol (Tinosorb S): Applied for approval in 2005. The most effective broad-spectrum chemical filter on the market internationally.  Currently used in Australia and Europe.
  • Bisoctrizole (Tinosorb M): Applied for approval in 2005. Broad-spectrum hybrid filter that can both absorb and reflect UV, with minimal skin penetration. Currently used in Australia and Europe.
  • Drometrizole triziloxane (Mexoryl XL): Applied for approval in 2009. Broad-spectrum chemical filter.
  • Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX): Applied for approval in 2007. Broad-spectrum chemical filter. Used internationally since 1991.
  • Enzacamene: Applied for approval in 2002. UV-B filter. Currently used in Canada and Europe as a sunscreen at 4% concentration, and in lip balm, lipstick, and moisturizer.
  • Iscotrizinol: Applied for approval in 2005. UV-B filter with a small amount of UV-A protection. Currently used in Asia and Europe.
  • Octyl triazone: Applied for approval in 2002. UV-B filter with extremely high protection and good water resistance. Currently used in Aisa and Europe

Where Are We Now?

Currently, there is a public push for the FDA to review at least some of its background applications for new sunscreen ingredients. This is known as the Sunscreen Innovation Bill (S.2141 and H.R. 4250). If passed, this bill will make two primary changes to the approval process:

1. It would institute an eight-month deadline for the FDA to approve or deny an application.

2. It would no longer require the FDA to issue a new regulation for the use of a newly approved sunscreen ingredient.

These changes would certainly go a long way toward encouraging innovation in this important area of skin care and protection. In the meantime, when it comes to new sunscreen ingredients, the wait continues.


Source: ASCP Skin Deep July/Aug 2014 The Sunscreen Waiting Game
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