For women living in L.A., the blissful climate is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, we have enviable sunny, 70° weather year-round, but this just means we’re especially prone to turning pruny because of the constant sun exposure (ick). And let’s be honest. Wrinkles may be markers of maturity and experience, but they’re also indelibly the markers of age, and I have yet to hear of any woman who cried out in joy at the sight of her first wrinkle.
Aging is unalterable, but how you age is not. And preventing wrinkles is much easier than trying to reverse them, so it’s good to start early.
Today we’ll cover cleansers, the first step in any good skincare regimen. Make these changes to how you wash your face now and you’ll be guaranteed youthful, luminous skin even as you get older.
How to Wash Your Face
Use lukewarm water rather than hot water (which strips skin of vital moisture) or cold water (which closes pores and inhibits thorough cleaning).
Avoid soap-based cleansers that strip your skin of its natural protective lipid layer. Dry skin depleted of this layer is much more prone to wrinkling than moisturized skin.
How do you know if a cleanser is too harsh for your skin? If your face feels tight and dry after washing—yes, that “clean” feeling a lot of us like—you probably need to switch to a more emollient cleanser or a cleanser for sensitive skin. If you have oily skin, try a gel formula instead.
Also, don’t clean with a washcloth. Your own hands are a lot gentler and won’t irritate skin.
After cleansing, pat—don’t rub!—your face until it’s damp. Apply moisturizer when skin is still damp. Wet skin is like a sponge, and will soak up anything you put it on it.
Do Anti-Aging Cleansers Work?
Yes and no. While many cleansers claim to have anti-aging benefits, a great deal of their claims—“look 5 years younger in two weeks!” is a typical allegation—are pure gimmick.
Plus, did you notice how they always sound science-y without actually getting into any actual science of how your skin will magically time travel back to its youthful state? It just will, because of this “breakthrough” or that “innovation.” Hmm. Suspicious.
Anti-aging cleansers don’t stay on skin long enough to produce dramatic results. But there are some ingredients that have been proven to fight wrinkles by increasing cell turnover rate (even in the measly 10 seconds they’re on your face).
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are plant and milk-derived acids that exfoliate by dissolving the matrix that binds cells together.
AHAs reverse photodamage and increase elastin in skin, but they heighten sun sensitivity, so don’t forget sunscreen.
When you combine them with acne-fighting beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), AKA salicylic acid, you have an unstoppable exfoliator that addresses multiple issues at once.
Cleansers For Your Skin Type
Non-irritated skin is strong, resilient skin that resists external aggressors like the sun, smoke, and pollutants, so by aligning your cleanser with your skin type, you’ll be giving your future face some lovin’.
And remember to look out for products with AHAs and BHAs – they’re effective for all skin types, but those with sensitive/dry skin should be careful, because they’re very drying.
Girls with dry/sensitive skin – Cleansers with hyaluronic acid and glycerin draw water into the skin to keep it moisturized. Look for the words “fragrance-free” on the label, since fragrance is the top skin irritant.
These natural extracts reduce redness: Feverfew, chamomile, licorice extract, soybean extract, and sunflower seed oil.
Try: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It only has 8 ingredients (fewer ingredients = fewer skin irritants), and it’s even safe to use on babies!
Girls with oily skin – A cleanser with 1-2% salicylic acid removes sebum and sloughs off dead skin. Look for the words “non-comedogenic” on the label, meaning it won’t clog pores.
Try: Dermadoctor Ain’t Misbehavin’ Medicated AHA/BHA Acne Cleanser. Witch hazel minimizes ruddiness, while glycolic and salicylic acid make a clean sweep of makeup and acne.
Girls with combination skin – Choose a light foaming cleanser for oily skin. Because your skin has attributes of both oily and dry skin, you want the exfoliation of cleansers for oily skin without the parching effects.
Try:DDF Blemish Foaming Cleanser. Calendula and myrrh extracts keep skin calm as BHAs rapidly sweep gunk from pores.
Allure magazine’s “17 Bad Skin Habits” cites using the wrong products for your skin type as one of the top “skin skins to leave in 2009.” Expert Dr. Baumann of Skin Type Solutions says that not catering to your skin type will result in inflamed skin and, eventually, wrinkles.
What happens when you practice good skin maintenance? Check out my slideshow of ageless celebrities who invested early in their skin and have the results to prove it.
Also check out:
Finding the perfect shade of red lipstick for your skin tone
Get the look: Top 5 makeup moments at the Golden Globes
Did you know Cleopatra bathed in AHAs? She would take long, luxurious baths in sour milk (lactic acid) to make her skin soft and supple. Hey, if it’s good enough for the original inventor of makeup, it’s good enough for us! Know any other odd beauty rituals from the days of yore? Send Linda a line here or comment below. And subscribe above!