30s: what’s happening?
The ultimate juggling decade where career, family and home all demand attention. Add lack of sleep, pregnancy, dieting and drinking and your skin will soon reflect the chaos. Fortunately, the pillars of blooming skin – collagen and elastin structures - are still working efficiently. With a little encouragement, skin can bounce back to a healthy, radiant state.
Step 1: the lazy cleanse Cleansing is the cornerstone to happy skin, but ironically, it's the step that often gets disregarded as you’re just too shattered. For these instances, keep a bottle of Clarins One Step Cleanser and cotton pads by your bed. The formula in this product acts like a magnet, gently lifting away impurities from the skin – no water or washing needed. Don’t view it as a substitute for proper cleansing, but it is great when exhaustion kicks in.
Step 2: double-duty cleansing
The reason thorough cleansing is so important in your 30s is because on the skin’s surface lies an ever-thickening matrix of dead cells and oils called the stratum corenum (think of it like the greasy film on a windscreen), which blocks good ingredients penetrating down to the lower dermal layers and also stops fresh new skin cells rising to the surface. Massaging your cleanser deep into the skin with warm water is the easiest way to remove the layer of dead cells and get a deeper clean. Applying toner afterwards is optional, but you don’t want to see the words ‘alcohol’ or ‘alcohol denat’ on the ingredient lists as it will leave your pores parched.
Step 3: splurge on serum
If budget is a concern, ask any skincare expert where to splurge and scrimp, and the answer will be: invest in a serum. Serums are a concentrated hit of nourishing and energizing skin actives, like vitamins, antioxidants and peptides contained in tiny molecules to infiltrate the dermal layers quickly. Serums are also so light that they can be worn under any moisturiser and applied after the first product which is always your eye treatment.
Step 4: be vigilant with SPF
If you only do one thing in your 30s for your skin, let it be a daily application of a SPF. 90 per cent of skin ageing is a result of incidental exposure – that which occurs every day, even in the depths of a grey Irish winter, and while on holidays or when the sun comes out - just think of a piece of furniture fading and ageing by a window if you need convincing. The ratio of SPF in most facial mosituriser formulas will not protect your skin all day, so invest in separate sun protection, such as Clarins Sun Cream for Face Wrinkle Control SPF 50, and apply generously over moisturiser, and under makeup, and be sure to apply it on the neck and chest area too.
40s: what’s happening?
We typically shed up to a million skin cells an hour, but by the time we reach 40, the turnover can decrease by half. The result is a duller and more lacklustre skin. Also, due to oestrogen levels tempering off, extreme dryness and lack of suppleness can become a problem. Many of these developments can be countered, and even reversed, with select skincare ingredients and a bit more dedication to your regime.
Step 1: extra TLC for the eyes
Everybody over 40 develops some degree of stretched skin on the upper eyelids, and most will see the mallar pads on the cheeks begin to lose their plumpness - the combined effect makes the eyes appear more aged looking. Invest in a lifting and contouring eye cream with peptides and plant oils to nourish and strengthen the skin. Apply it all in dots over the orbital bone (under the eyes, around the sides and below the brow area), and pat in with your fingertips. As we age, we tend to retain more sodium and fluids, which can swell under the eyes. If this is an issue, use gentle pressure to massage the eye creams in further, circling around the orbital bone a few times each morning. This helps drain fluid, boosts blood circulation and gives the underlying muscle structures a little workout too.
Step 2: attack age spots
Accumulated UV damage, which has been lurking in the lower layers of the dermis from as early as childhood, starts making its way up to the skin’s surface in your 40s, tarnishing it with patches of pigmentation and age spots. Here’s where the micro delivery systems of serums really come into their own, as they can send active ingredients right down to these melanin clusters and literally blast them into smithereens and halt the process from reoccurring. You can choose a specific age spot formula or an all-round formula such as Clarins Double Serum, which is great for evening skin tone and adds suppleness in one quick hit.
Step 3: maximise beauty sleep
Night cream is not essential all the time, but when your skin needs some extra TLC, or a good detox, specific formulas can work wonders. Skin cells have a natural purification process called catabolysis - a deep cleaning system that peaks at night. When we’re not sleeping well, skin cells become cluttered and overburdened with debris and free radicals. Use a light night cream loaded with antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, or green tea, to help mop up all the accumulated free radicals and make them function and ultimately look better.
Step 4: make friends with masks
Face masks have made a big comeback in the past few years as they are a great way to infuse skin with nutrients, tighten pores, smooth the surface, and encourage speedier cell turnover ... all in less than 10 minutes. Choose natural clays or marine mud masks with added boosters like fruit, lactic or glycolic acid for serious skin brightening. Or if you have a big event coming up, opt for one of the gauze masks. They harness post-surgical, healing technology to infuse skin with hydrating, plumping and glow-giving ingredients, and often can contain up to a quarter of a bottle of serum. The magic rejuvenating results only last a day or two but they are amazing when a quick fix is required.
50s: what’s happening?
If you take a look at skin cells at this age under a microscope, you’ll see that their shape has changed from a youthful, star-shape to a spindly floppy one, causing slacking and deeper lines. So the key to boosting skin density is to help inject structure back into the cells with ingredients like peptides. Skin needs lots more TLC now, a good dose of lipids to support the skin barrier and light layers of targeted products to keep it springy.
Step 1: sparing layering
While it may seem logical to use a thicker cream to help skin density, rich, heavy creams can often weigh skin down and aggravate sensitivities. Light layers of nourishment are needed first, via a good all-round serum, sealed in with a plant based, hydrating moisturiser or lotion, and possibly a morning and evening beauty oil is a better combination than one heavy product. In addition, the thinner skin gets, the more ultra violet light is able to penetrate and damage DNA, so vigilant SPF application on face, neck, hands and bust becomes even more crucial now.
Step 2: sugar rush
Glycation is a big concern for all age groups but, it becomes particularly aggressive in your 50s. It’s a process whereby both naturally occurring and ingested sugars degrade the collagen and elastin tissues. These skin substructures are already in shorter supply in your 50s, especially around the neck, bust and eye area, so using products targeted to directly reboot collagen supplies is key. As skin becomes more transparent, products designed to protect the walls of the blood vessels will help prevent more redness creeping through, too. We recommend Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate for turbo charging the thin epidermis with lifting and protecting ingredients.
Step 3: oil slick
A valuable addition to your routine at this point is a facial oil, as their high lipid content will compensate for diminished sebum production in your skin. Avoid anything with mineral oils and look for pure plant oils only, such as avocado, geranium, hazelnut, and lavender. These will help seal in moisture and keep skin supple, while also calming underlying inflammation. Most pure plant oils are bioavailable – skin registers them as natural - so they get quickly absorbed and won’t leave a greasy film on the surface. Be sure to extend all the way down to your neck and bust and you can put a few drops in with your body cream too, when your skin needs some extra comforting.