As women, we're often surprised to find that, just as we reach an age where anti-aging skin care products begin taking on greater importance in our routine, acne begins rearing its ugly head. If you count yourself among those dealing with acne in middle age, you're hardly alone; 26% of women ages 31 to 40 and 12% of those 41 to 50 are estimated to have clinical acne. Just as when we were teens, hormonal fluctuations are typically to blame. However, the use of overly aggressive skin care products, stress, diet and medical disorders could also play a role. (Read more about the causes of adult acne.)
Building a skin routine that concurrently addresses the signs of aging and acne can be tricky. That's because many acne treatments are drying to the skin and when you're working to minimize signs of aging, dryness is the last thing you want. Not only does dryness contribute to rough skin texture, it also exacerbates the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, when skin becomes dry, it increases production of sebum (skin's natural oil) to compensate for its dry state. Given that increased sebum levels is a primary cause of acne, dry skin spells trouble for acne. (Learn the four main causes of acne.) Conversely, in an attempt to optimize skin hydration, some anti-aging products are formulated with oils and heavy ingredients that could clog pores. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the formulations used in your routine are non-comedogenic.
To get you started addressing both acne and aging skin, we've outlined recommended skin care steps:
Use a gentle cleanser appropriate for all skin types that effectively removes dirt, debris and excess oil without stripping the skin's acid mantle, a protective film on the surface skin's surface that keeps it smooth, hydrated, and flexible. Consider Lexli Cleansing Lotion, an aloe-based formulation that checks all the boxes.
Those with moderate to severe acne may require the use of a cleanser formulated specifically for acne-prone skin, such as Lexli Acne Cleanser, which features salicylic acid - a beta-hydroxy acid that helps to clear pores, and sulfur - a mineral that clears pores while also minimizing bacteria and helping the skin to shed dead cells. Sulfur is even beneficial in collagen synthesis, making this product beneficial from an anti-aging perspective.
Exfoliation is a crucial step in treating both acne and signs of skin aging. Exfoliation helps to keep pores clear while thinning the outermost layer of dead skin cells, thereby helping the healthy dermis layer to thicken. This process helps with anti aging by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin texture, minimizing dark spots (hyperpigmentation), and evening out skin tone. It's important, however, to select a chemical exfoliator that is more gentle on the skin than physical exfoliators that use a rough substance to remove dead skin cells. (Read more about the many benefits that accompany an exfoliation practice.)
We suggest Lexli AloeGlyC®, a unique glycolic acid exfoliant that offers added salicylic acid to target acne and antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Because AloeGlyC features a base of organic, pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera to help minimize inflammation and redness, it can be used even on sensitive skin.
To minimize the potential for dry skin, utilize a lightweight serum formulated to optimize skin hydration and retain moisture levels without adding oil. Lexli Moisture Intensifier Serum does all that while also calming inflammation and redness, encouraging skin healing and improving skin structure.
When acne is mild, as is the case with those who experience only the occasional breakout, the use of an acne treatment product may not be necessary. In those with moderate to severe acne, however, the addition of a targeted treatment can make all the difference.
Note that we aren't talking about the aggressive acne creams of your youth. It's important to utilize an acne treatment that is formulated with high quality ingredients that target acne without being too aggressive on skin tissue. Look for proven acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and sulfur, alongside ingredients that nurture the skin and fight free radicals, such as aloe vera and antioxidants. We recommend Lexli Clarifying Lotion, which can be used as a full-face treatment or a spot treatment.
To minimize the potential for dryness, acne treatments should only applied to those areas prone to acne, such as the chin, cheeks and neck.
Regardless of your skin type, the use of a moisturizer is essential day and night. Even oily skin can be dehydrated and the use of a moisturizer helps to optimize skin hydration while minimizing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). We recommend Lexli Simply Hydration, a lightweight moisturizer that features a soothing base of aloe vera and is appropriate for most skin types.
While its recommended that everyone applies a broad-spectrum sunscreen before going outdoors each day, it's especially important for those individuals whose routines include the use of alpha-hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid. That's because use of these acids increases sun sensitivity. Skip sunscreen and you'll find your skin showing signs of photoaging. Not great when your goal is to minimize signs of aging! Plus UV exposure can cause blemishes to become pigmented, leaving behind a dark spot on your skin long after the breakout has healed.
Consider Lexli Sunscreen Spray with SPF 15, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is non-comedogenic and appropriate for use on the whole body. If you are looking for SPF 30, you may prefer Day Moisturizer, which combines the moisturizer and sunscreen steps.
If after putting into place an anti aging and acne skin care routine you find that your skin isn't improving, it's essential that you visit your dermatologist to determine if there is a bigger factor at play. In some cases, your dermatologist may suggest a prescription strength treatment, such as a retinoid (e.g. tretinoin) that is not only effective in treating acne but improving fine lines and wrinkles and other aging skin characteristics, as well. For some individuals, dietary changes can be beneficial. Certain foods, such as those that are high on the glycemic index (sugary snacks and drinks, white bread, etc.), milk and even wheat, can contribute to the onset of acne. We have tips to help with that, too, in our post about the Diet & Acne Link.