In a little over a month I will be turning 40, so aging and getting older in general have been top of mind this year, especially when I look in the mirror.
I was so surprised to learn some common things I believed about aging recently are, in fact, not true and plan to make some changes. Quick!
Myth #1: If your makeup has SPF in it, you’re covered.
Over the past several years, makeup with SPF has been appearing on store shelves. But does it really offer sun protection? Fredric Brandt, M.D. recommends wearing at least a teaspoonful of sunscreen on your face every day. “Protecting your skin from the sun lets the repair enzymes shift from defending skin to healing it.”
In other words, your foundation alone is not enough. A favorite non-greasy light weight sunscreen is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100+ ($11.00).
Myth #2: SPF only matters on your face.
Speaking of SPF, don’t neglect your neck! The same age-fighting ingredients you put on your face can also be applied below the chin, but be careful with retinol and acids. “The skin on the neck is more sensitive,” says Dr. Brandt, who advises you use retinol on this fragile area no more than two or three times a week.
A product like, Clinique Youth Surge SPF 15 ($50.00) helps boost collagen while protecting from sun damage.
Myth #3: The more you exfoliate, the better.
For most women, exfoliating once or twice a week is enough to ensure silky skin. To some degree, though, the frequency of your scrub-down depends on your age (older skin may be too dry and delicate for lots of scouring) and the climate you live in. Warm weather increases perspiration and oil production, leading to speedier accumulation of dead cells.
All you need is a clean nubby washcloth. Never use a sponge because they tend to stay damp and trap dead skin, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
Myth #4: Looking old is all about wrinkles.
According to Dr. Brandt, women tend to spend a lot of time focusing on tiny fine lines that don’t have a big impact on their appearance (I know I’m guilty!). “It’s the changes in the shape of your faceâ€”sunken cheeks, under-eye hollowingâ€”that really show your age.”
After 40, most women get more “bang for their buck” with hyaluronic acidâ€“based products such as DermaDoctor’s Wrinkle Revenge Serum ($65.00), which plumps up the entire face.
Myth #5: The older you get, the more foundation you need.
Turns out, the opposite is true. “As you age, base tends to settle into wrinkles and lines, which makes skin look duller,” Dr. Brandt says. This is especially problematic (not to mention frustrating) for women over 40, who have already lost some luminosity because the turn-over rate of their skin cells has slowed.
Apply a lightweight tinted moisturizer in place of a heavy foundation instead, and see a dermatologist to correct uneven skin tones that you’re tempted to cover up.
Yes, getting older is rife with emotional landmines, including fears of losing one’s independence or getting a serious illness. Aging gracefully isn’t always easy, but attitude is key! I believe having a good attitude will get you a lot further than any wrinkle cream or “magic” potion.
Photo credit: glenn~