Sunday, March 29, 2009

Break outs on Mature Skin

Today's question is from Tracy who asks - 
I am 46 and always had problem skin except when I was on birth control. Can you give a good cleaning regiment for gettin old skin that has a tendency to break out when ever it feels like it.

Thank you for your question Tracy.

The skin care regimen for older skin is basically the same regimen that everyone should be following - Cleanse, Tone, and Moisturize in the morning and before bed.  The two things I recommend for my clients over 30 is the addition of an eye cream twice a day, apply after toning and before moisturizing, and using a glycolic acid peel at home twice a week.

I recommend a glycolic acid peel because skin becomes less able to shed dead skin cells as we age.  A light home glycolic acid peel is a very safe and effective exfoliator that will leave your skin looking brighter after just a few uses.  A 10-20% peel would be ideal for home use.  The extra exfoliation can also help prevent some breakouts because it will get rid of the dead skin cells that hang around and clog up your pores.  Please note that people with rosacea should not use an acid peel and people with sensitive skin should test a 10% peel on a small patch of skin before trying it on their entire face.

If you are following the twice daily Cleanse-Tone-Moisturize regime and using a peel but still getting breakouts then you should try changing your skin care products.  Many factors in your daily life can cause your skin to change how dry or oily it is and how it reacts to the products you are using such as medications, hormone levels (which is why BC pills often correct skin problems), diet, and environment.  Not every product line is going to be good for every situation so do not be surprised if you find yourself having to change product lines every few months.  I find that I need to use products for oily skin in Summer but need products for dry skin in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.  This is common and while annoying, is nothing to worry about.

So Tracy, my advice to you is - try a glycolic acid peel.  If this doesn't solve your problem then try a new product line for your skin.  If a new line doesn't help then I would suggest getting a professional facial with a licensed esthetician.  Tell your esthetician what your issues with your skin are and have her do a detailed skin analysis.  She can recommend a skin care line suitable for your skin and give you a good, deep cleaning while you are there.

As for the occasional breakout we all get, I suggest a nice clay mask.  Whether you apply a clay mask to your entire face or just dab it onto the blemishes a clay mask is great for absorbing extra oils and drawing impurities out of your skin.  A clay mask on a blemish can help it heal up much faster than it would if it were left alone.

Tracy, I hope this answers your question.  Thank you for asking.

If you have a question you would like answered please leave it as a comment on the blog or email me at

For  more information on why toners are important and how to chose a glycolic acid peel please see my blog post on Pore Problems dated March 10, 2009.

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