It’s natural to feel as if your skin isn’t on your side. It breaks out, your puffy eyes reveal how little sleep you got the night before, and one day you look in the mirror and notice sagging or wrinkles that you swear weren’t there the day before.
If you go to the store or shop online, you’ll be bombarded with a plethora of beauty products that all make lofty claims. Here are some pointers to help you get past the “where do I start?” dilemma.
1. Acne Could Indicate Hormonal Disturbance
What caused your acne as a teen isn’t always what’s causing your breakouts now — and knowing this is important when selecting a treatment. Acne may have been caused by excessive oil production as a teen, but as you get older, it’s more likely to be hormonal.
Women’s hormonal acne frequently worsens during their menstrual cycle. Acne bumps typically appear closer to your jawline and chin, as opposed to acne that may have plagued you during your adolescence, which is often localised to the face and forehead.
Hormonal acne is often more inflammatory in nature (think deep and red), so the treatment focuses on calming the skin. Look for topical benzoyl peroxide, which targets the bacteria that causes acne, Cutibacterium acnes.
Products containing sulphur or willow bark can also help clear skin if you have sensitive skin. Finally, your dermatologist can regulate a disruptive hormonal cycle and achieve clearer skin.
2. Are There Early Signs of Aging? Your skin cell turnover could be slow.
Something that stimulates collagen and speeds up skin cell turnover is required. Retinoids are still the most effective collagen stimulator. Retinols, which are weaker forms of retinoids, are available over the counter, whereas most retinoids require a prescription; ask your dermatologist what they would recommend for you.
You’ll also need an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) serum for cell turnover; ideally, start with 5% AHA and work your way up to higher concentrations as tolerated. In your nightly routine, alternate between the two.
It should also go without saying that good sun protection, such as using a broad-spectrum SPF 30 daily, wearing a wide-brimmed hat when out in the sun, wearing wraparound sunglasses, and seeking shade when possible, is essential for slowing premature ageing.
3. Blushing Could Be Caused by a Damaged Skin Barrier
The most important treatment is to rebuild that foundation. To hydrate, use a gentle, nonirritating face wash and moisturiser. When the skin’s barrier is repaired, it is less prone to burning and stinging, and many people find that they can tolerate a wider range of products.
Look for products that contain niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can soothe sensitive skin.
While treating redness, you can also use cosmetics with a green tint, which neutralises redness and gives the appearance of more evenly toned skin.
4. Undereye Bags Could Indicate a Diet or Lifestyle Issue
Get to the bottom of the issue. Allergies, smoking, and even eating too much salt can all contribute to the appearance of bags under your eyes.
However, lack of sleep is a major contributor to that look, and if it occurs frequently, you may need to work on sleep hygiene habits or prioritise shut-eye. Every adult should strive for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Aside from that, there are a slew of home remedies that can help deflate those bags. You have medication and surgical options, so talk to your dermatologist about whether or not those are right for you. Choose eye creams with a metal-tip applicator for a faster fix. These provide a cooling surface that depuffs (think chilled cucumber slices). There’s no shame in slathering on some foundation if you need some extra coverage after a sleepless night. Every one of us has been there.
5. Dry or Cracked Skin Indicates That Your Dermis Is Likely Thirsty.
Skin begins to lose some of its moisture as it ages. To make matters worse, a dehydrated dermis is more prone to ageing signs such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Nonetheless, reconsider your proclivity to reach for the thickest moisturiser you can find, which can clog pores and cause acne. So, while it may seem counterintuitive, you should choose a lightweight moisturiser with a liquid consistency.
6. Redness and Visible Blood Vessels May Be Rosacea
Check yourself for this common skin disorder. Rosacea is a chronic disease that affects 16 million Americans, and treatment entails far more than slapping creams on your face. The sooner you begin treatment for rosacea, the better.
If your cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead are persistently red, or you notice small visible blood vessels, consult a dermatologist. Treatment entails making lifestyle changes to avoid triggers, such as reducing stress and limiting sun exposure, using fragrance-free skin products, and reducing your overall skincare routine. In-office treatments such as IPL (intense pulsed light therapy) could also be beneficial.
7. Dark Undereye Circles May Not Be Caused by a Lack of Sleep
This isn’t a popular answer, but genetics play a significant role in under eye circles, and it’s something you can’t change. Still, she says, eye creams containing brightening antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E can help reduce discoloration. If the circles appear more blue-grey, this could be due to blood vessels showing through the thin under eye skin. In that case, a caffeine-containing product can aid in the collapse of blood vessels, reducing the appearance of darkness.
8. Dark Spots Indicate Past Sun Damage to Your Skin
First and foremost, continue to use sunscreen, as sun damage is the leading cause of discoloration. Next, hydroquinone (HQ) is still the gold standard for treating hyperpigmentation because it inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin pigments. Make use of a product that contains both HQ and AHAs.
Just be aware that HQ is a contentious ingredient, and some people choose to avoid it due to concerns about its safety or potential to cause irritation. Look for products that contain licorice extract, azelaic acid, niacinamide, or arbutin, which are known for their brightening properties.
9. Wrinkles Mean Your Skin’s Collagen Supply is Depleted.
The goal is to boost collagen with products that contain growth factors and peptides, which work deeper down to strengthen the skin’s support structure. To stimulate cell repair, your dermatologist can provide you with professional PRP microneedling or chemical peels.
10. Skin Sagging? You guessed It: Your Face is Requesting a Collagen Boost.
Topical creams can only do so much if you aren’t ready for a facelift (and may never be). However, you may benefit the most from noninvasive treatment options with your dermatologist, such as FDA-approved ultrasound skin tightening devices. These will stimulate the formation of new collagen, thereby reducing sagging. The end result is a lifted appearance with less pain and no post-surgical recovery time.