I was recently re-watching the classic gal pal comedy, “The Golden Girls” and realized that the women (except Sophia) are supposedly in their 50’s but their hair and clothes dated them to look older. Bea Arthur and Betty White were both 63 when the show premiered with only Rue McClanahan being at the actual age range of her character at 51. Estelle Getty who played Sophia was 62, so she played much older. This is just one example from media growing up that influenced what I thought an older woman looked like. When I was in high school, I actually couldn’t imagine being over 30, that somehow I would go from my 20’s to an old lady with a walker.
To say I was concerned about my skin is an understatement, I was buying anti-wrinkle cream at 20! My knowledge of my own skincare has grown immensely in the decades since. At 41 and with four teenage boys, most people assume I am way younger than I look. I’ve often been mistaken for my kid’s older sister, which is both flattering and weird. I’m going to share what I know here since so many ask what my routine looks like.
First, I avoid sun damage. Part of this was easy growing up because I lived in Alaska until my late 20’s and didn’t sport a tan for much of my life. I’ve also avoided tanning beds, except for a few weeks right before going on vacation to Hawaii from Alaska in my youth. We all know by now that the sun and UV rays can damage your skin, causing wrinkles, spots, cancer. You should wear sunscreen every day when you are out, even if it isn’t hot. This is the best way to protect your skin from premature aging.
Daily Cleansing. I use a gentle cleanser on my face. Find what works for your skin but I prefer using one that is gentle, organic, and non-synthetic. Gently wash your face. There is no need to scrub the heck out of it. As we age, our skin changes and can become more fragile, so be kind to your skin and use warm water and soft, gentle motions.
Toning. I use rose or orange blossom water sprayed onto my face after rinsing cleanser off my face. I will also spray this on my face throughout the day, anytime it feels dry. Toners with alcohol will dry your skin, try to avoid them.
Moisturize. I used to be so freaked out by face oils. I thought it would make my skin clog up, but as long as it’s a non-comedogenic oil, it’ll moisturize and nourish without clogging pores. I have come to love my face oils and they are a crucial step in my skincare. I prefer grape seed and safflower based face oils. I put it on and gently rub it in giving my face a nice little massage and stimulating blood flow. I give my face another spray of my toner, add some gentle sunscreen and I’m good for the day. If your skin is really prone to dryness, you’ll probably want to follow the oil up a nice cream-based moisturizer that has SPF in it, instead of just sunscreen.
I generally don’t wear makeup but when I do, I make sure to do my daily skincare regime at least 30 minutes before I need to put makeup on to let the oil fully be absorbed into my skin and to let any flush from the process to die down.
Three times a week I do an at-home mask and exfoliation. I like enzyme-based exfoliators versus the rough mechanical kind, it goes back to my view on being gentle and kind to your skin. After I rinse ( again, with warm, not hot water) I use a cream, clay, or sheet based face mask. My skin doesn’t like the peel-off ones at all. I love face masks of all kinds and tend to grab up any I see when I’m out. Having a variety to switch between keeps things interesting.
You can have great skin at any age, but you just have to take care of it! Hopefully, the media will start changing what “older women” look like on-screen and how we as a society view women as they age. In the meantime, you can all keep being your amazing selves and shining on!
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