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Skincare by the Decade THE FORTIES


By Tara Ichelson, Licensed Esthetician, Owner Pretique SkinSpa

Skin undergoes a variety of changes as we age, and at times, these changes can even occur day by day simply by the habits we adopt. Yes, we all would love to have kept that baby-soft skin from our youngest years, but unfortunately that’s not reality. Truth be told, changes in our skin and appearance can have many different effects on a person’s life, not just in the area of confidence, but more importantly, related to very real health concerns such as pigmentation, adult acne and of course, skin cancer. We are going to explore the importance of a skincare regimen related to different decades of life, and how we can not only combat these issues, but also take steps to prevent them in the first place. Many people can be put off by a regimen, citing that it takes too much time, or that it’s too confusing. My job is to not only educate my clients on how we can implement a regimen in the time that can be committed to, but to also educate on why it’s important. When that happens, it’s as easy as brushing your teeth twice per day, and it’s never too early to start. In this month’s edition, we will focus on the forties, when the changes in our skin are more pronounced.

When skin enters in to the forty-something years, the lymphatic system has begun to slow considerably, meaning the body isn’t as efficient in ridding itself of toxins.  It is also when certain habits we may have adopted in earlier decades really begin to show. From increased dehydration and loss of collagen production due to smoking, to splotchy areas of pigmentation as a result of sun exposure, skin really starts paying the price for those lifestyle choices. Not only has being exposed to those harmful elements affected our skin, but the natural signs of aging as we reach this decade have become more noticeable as well. Expression lines begin to deepen, pores become more obvious on the nose and the eyes begin to show the undesirable look of crow’s feet, puffiness, and dark circles. Not to fear however, these issues can be tackled through upping the ante in regards to skincare and even getting professional treatments.

Obviously the routine of a twice daily cleansing, treating, hydrating, and protecting stays in place, the only modifications are going to be what kind of ingredients are used in our regimen. One of the huge culprits in regards to the appearance of more pronounced lines is due to a loss of hydration. As we discussed in the previous article, hormonal changes wreak havoc on our skin, and this is the time when estrogen production in women begins to slow. That means skin is drier, and not as supple or able to recover as easily.  Deep hydrating products are key for this age group, because the drier the skin looks, the more pronounced the lines will look. For the cleansing step, finding a gentle, non-drying cleanser is a great start, and most of these types of cleansers will be a cream consistency. Using a deep hydrating cream at night, or even a touch of argan oil in the morning under your moisturizer and SPF is a great way to boost hydration in the skin. A product that contains hyaluronic acid is a fabulous option, as it holds 1000 times its weight in water, making the skin look plump, youthful, and dewy. Keep in mind, hydration is not limited to topical products; we must also make sure we are drinking enough water. I can always tell in a client’s, and in my own skin, when hydration isn’t at ideal levels, because it shows in the skin. Add a lemon to give some high dosage of Vitamin C and powerful antioxidants, it’s a winning solution all around.

Another couple of tidbits that were touched on in previous months that still rings true, is the importance of exfoliation as well as the use of alpha hydroxy acids in a skincare regimen. Exfoliating a few times per week with a manual exfoliant, such as a scrub, will help dissolve dead skin cells and reveal a fresh faced look, otherwise skin tends to look tired and weathered. Alpha hydroxy acids in certain treatment products and night creams can increase cell turnover and most are gentle enough to be used daily within the creams they are formulated in. Another great ingredient that should be incorporated into a treatment product is peptides. Peptides can rebuild collagen, and are most effective when used in a serum, as the thin consistency of a serum will actually penetrate deeper than a moisturizer. Peptides are also extremely effective when paired with a Retinoid product, which in this decade is ideal to begin using. Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, and can be found in several products over the counter, or if a stronger dose is needed, can be prescribed by a physician. Note, the prescription formulation can be a little more irritating to the skin, and may temporarily increase dryness as skin adjusts. With over-the-counter retinols, some have the added peptides and calming properties to limit that irritation, which can come from prescription brands, and is ideal for those with more sensitive skin.

Finally, the most important piece as always is — sunscreen. It is an absolute must to protect the skin from the sun. I know I emphasize this each and every month, but it’s essential, and so easy to find in the most common of products these days, from moisturizers to makeup. There is no excuse not to use it.

Everybody can have fabulous skin in their 40s. Those who want the most optimum of results routinely pair their at-home regimen with routine professional facial treatments that target specific concerns. From chemical peels and eye treatments, to a deep exfoliation and extractions paired with a relaxing skin firming facial massage, working with a skin professional can help take the stress out of trying to figure out what to use for any one person’s specific needs, provides a pampering experience while having a deep results-oriented treatment, and helps achieve the most beautiful feeling skin.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to your specific skin type or concern, and seek an effective treatment regimen, feel free to contact me for a free consultation to come in and discuss your individualized needs. My passion is to educate and help others to achieve the goals they have for their skin, and effectively take the stress out of knowing what and how to use products that will give the desired results, with each client’s individualized time and budget in mind.

Tara Ichelson is a licensed esthetician and owner of Pretique SkinSpa in Bettendorf, Iowa. She offers professional luxury facials and skin treatments at practical prices, and is available for free skin consultations. Tara is available Tuesdays – Saturdays by appointment only. Call 563-650-0290 to schedule an appointment or a FREE skin consultation. Visit www.pretiqueskinspa.com to view a service menu.

Photo credit: courtneyk/iStock