Problem: Blotchy skin and dark spots:
A blotchy appearance stems from a combination of skin type and sun exposure.
The lighter your skin, the more freckling, broken blood vessels,
and blotchiness you're likely to experience as you age. If you were once prone
to acne, it's likely that the dark red spots are the remnants of past blemishes.
Over-the-counter products that contain lightening ingredients
such as hydroquinone can help fade dark spots on skin of every shade.
You may also want to consider microdermabrasion in which tiny
aluminium oxide crystals are blown onto skin and then vacuumed off
along with dead cells. Microdermabrasion's exfoliating action can also
help bleaching agents penetrate more effectively.
But if your skin is extremely ruddy or blothcy, a chemical peel performed
in a doctor's office is a better bet. A solution containing an AHA
(usually glycolic acid) or trichloroacetic acid is applied to skin,
left on a few minutes, and followed by a neutralizing solution.
The acid lifts off dead cells, revealing new skin underneath.
These "lunchtime peels" - so called because they take only
about an hour - cause little or no redness and irritation,
though your face may be flaky the following week.
An intense-pulsed-light (IPL) device specifically targets areas
of brown or red discoloration on fair-skinned women (it's not recommended
for use on dark skin, however). You may need a series of three to six
sessions to achieve the desired effect.
Problem: Dull/dry, rough skin :
As you age, decreasing estrogen levels influence the production
of other substances in your body. For example, the amount of hyaluronic acid,
a naturally occurring chemical that helps keep skin firm,
begins to decline, affecting your skin's ability to retain moisture.
Oil production also slows down, reducing natural lubrication.
To help counteract these changes, use creams that contain humectants
(like glycerin, citric acid, propylene glycol, urea, and phospholipids) and
emollients (such as petrolatum, shea butter, and cetyl alcohol) to seal in moisture.
For more info, download Skin Care in Your 40s, a free ebook.