6 (More!) Things Nobody Explains to You About Aging
3. You're more prone to facial redness
Why: Those great beach vacations you took in your teens are showing up on your face: You're beginning to see cumulative sun damage in the form of blotchiness, red spots, and ruddiness. Menopause can also cause a multitude of skin problems, including extreme dryness and rosacea.
What to do about it: To tone down the pink with makeup, start by applying a lightweight moisturizer with sunblock. On top of that, apply a silicone gel primer over your entire face, says Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani Beauty makeup artist. (The primer creates a smooth surface for foundation.) Then blend a very small amount of green—yes, green—concealer over the areas that are most pink (try Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Concealer Stick). Finally, with a brush—because it gives you the best coverage—apply a yellow-based, long-wearing foundation. (Quinn says Giorgio Armani UV Lasting Silk Foundation in shade 4.5 flatters almost any skin tone.)
Rosacea can be treated with topical antibiotics—such as MetroGel and Rosac, oral antibiotics and lasers. If your biggest problem is broken blood vessels, usually two to three treatments with either the KTP, pulsed-dye, or diode laser will zap your veins, says Roy G. Geronemus, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University Medical Center. But, if you have rosacea, remember to avoid triggers that induce flare-ups, including the sun, stress, alcohol (especially red wine), spicy or thermally hot foods and drinks, and even exercise, says Jeanine Downie, MD, coauthor of Beautiful Skin of Color. (She advises patients to drink ice water when they work out, to cool the face.) It also helps to use gentle products and to avoid irritating your skin by scrubbing.
Bottom line: You can tone down the redness with a mix of lasers, oral and topical treatments and makeup, but if you have rosacea, avoiding your triggers is a must.
4. You may start to see spots
Why: Age spots can be either light (hypopigmentation) or dark (hyperpigmentation), says Wendy E. Roberts, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at Loma Linda University, and both are caused by sun damage and excess melanin in the skin.
What to do about it: To prevent age spots in the first place, wear an SPF of at least 15 every day. If you already have hypopigmentation, a self-tanner can help blend the spot into your complexion. If you've got hyperpigmentation, apply a topical prescription bleaching agent like Solagé (2 percent mequinol) directly to the spots, which will fade them gradually. A hydroquinone cream also inhibits melanin production—at prescription-strength (4 percent), it should fade darkness in four to eight weeks. An over-the-counter (2 percent) cream takes at least eight to 12 weeks. However, the most effective way to get rid of them is with a laser treatment—either the Q-switched ruby or alexandrite, says Anne Chapas, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. It leaves a small scab where the spot was, but this disappears in a couple of weeks. Generally one or two treatments are needed, at $400 to $700 per session. If your spots are diffuse (like a Milky Way splash across your cheeks or chest), Chapas recommends the new Fraxel dual laser. One or two treatments, at $750 to $1,500 each, should do the trick. (And for that kind of money, let's hope so.)
Bottom line: Unless you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, rain or shine, you'll be looking at new age spots no matter how often you visit the dermatologist.
Next: How to get rid of spider veins