The Gracefully Aging Face

Aging is a combination of internal and external factors. Genetics and natural aging processes such as hormonal changes, loss of fat and bony support and slowing of regenerative processes such as collagen and elastin repair are the major causes of aging that are largely outside of our ability to control.

External factors, what we call “lifestyle choices”, such as not smoking, avoiding sun or UV exposure, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, minimizing stress and taking care of our skin, are usually well within our individual control.

Here are some basic skincare guidelines that will improve our chances of looking as young as we feel.

• Cleanse your face at least once a day and always remove makeup at night.

• Use a mild toner suited to your skin type to replace the skin’s acid balance.

• Moisturize. Even if skin feels oily, it still needs hydration. Toning and moisturizing will reduce the skin’s natural inclination to over-produce oil, as well as minimize signs of irritation in sensitive skin.

• Exfoliate regularly but gently, one to three times per week. This helps prevent buildup of epidermal layers while stimulating new growth.

• Vitamins A, C and E are essential to skin health and rejuvenation, so look for topical products with those ingredients.

• Never leave home without putting sunscreen on all skin that needs protecting from the sun’s ravages. A minimum of 30 SPF is necessary to protect from daily incidental UV exposure. Use higher SPF and cover up if heavier exposure is anticipated.

• Get an annual skin check-up from a dermatologist and see an aesthetic skincare professional regularly to identify skin issues early and keep skin looking as healthy and youthful as possible.

It is important to monitor our skin’s reactions to products and treatments and adjust our regimen accordingly. The goal is to gently, but consistently provide skin with the environment, stimulation and protection that it needs. Mae West once said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” It’s never too late to do the right thing. Start today.

Dr. Suzanne Pear, RN, Ph.D., LE, COE, works at Pampered Skin Studio, in Tucson. Connect at 520-400-8109, or See ad, page 15.

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