50-Something and Fabulous: Tips for skin treatments in 2022

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Time and gravity naturally reveal the markers of aging — wrinkles, sunspots, leathery texture and the loss of volume — which is why many look to overhaul their skin care routines in search of the best options, especially women who are older than 50.

“From newly FDA-approved aesthetic treatments to improving your at-home skin care regimen, if you’re looking for that new-year, new-you glow, there are countless options that have remarkable results,” says Marissa Abdo, who co-founded Lumen + Bevel Aesthetics in Scottsdale.

The benefits of healthy skin care habits include preventing or clearing up a blotchy complexion, retaining skin’s youthful firmness longer, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, avoiding leathery skin, and reducing cancer risk.

“Unfortunately, nowadays, we have a lot more than sun damage to think about,” says Morgan Renfro, co-founder of Lumen + Bevel.

“During the pandemic, people were forced to adopt technology into their lives completely by relying on it to continue their daily activities. This dependency also increased our exposure to blue light, which is known to have a damaging effect on skin.”

Research shows blue light from electronic devices can lead to changes in the skin cells, including shrinkage and death. Exposures as short as 60 minutes can trigger these changes. Too much blue light could also lead to pigmentation. This new dependency has led to one of the most anticipated trends expected in 2022, which is beauty brands working on innovative ingredients to minimize blue light’s damaging impact on skin.

“Things that can protect your skin against blue light damage include wearing a tinted, broad-spectrum sunscreen or complexion makeup and using skin care products with antioxidants,” Abdo says.

“Look for ingredients like hedychium coronarium (butterfly ginger) root extract, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract and algae extracts. If a company is selling a product that makes blue light claims, they should be using an extract that’s been specifically tested against blue light.”

Next, collagen is among the most abundant proteins in the body. It makes up for 30% of all the protein in one’s body, and most of the protein in skin at 75%. Women begin to lose collagen as early as 30 years old, but around the age of 50, collagen production diminishes significantly, and visible aging accelerates.

Sculptra Aesthetic is an FDA-approved aesthetic treatment that encourages the growth of natural collagen to add firmness to the skin.

“We like to describe it as a fertilizer for your face because it provides a natural volume replacement that can last for more than two years,” Renfro says. “We inject Sculptra in the face, chest, buttocks and anywhere there is skin laxity like elbows and knees.”

As a poly-L-lactic acid collagen stimulator, Sculptra Aesthetic helps restore the deep, underlying structure of the skin to diminish facial wrinkles and works with the body within the deep dermis to revitalize collagen production. It helps restore skin’s inner structure and volume.

“If you want to appear more youthful-looking without looking like you’ve had work done, Sculptra Aesthetic would be the best choice,” Abdo says.

The third biggest skin care trend to lookout for is acid layering. Morning and night skin care routines are crucial for developing healthy skin. That can be taken a step further with acid layering. It works by breaking down and eliminating dead skin cells on the outer layer of skin to expose brighter, fresher skin. Alpha hydroxy acid, beta-hydroxy acid, glycolic acids and salicylic acids are staples.

“We recommend acid layering for patients who struggle with uneven skin tones, fine lines and wrinkles,” Renfro says. “While it can be highly effective, it’s important to know which one works for your skin because there are so many. Layering AHAs and BHAs is a good place to start.”

Retinol is the “gold standard” of anti-aging serums, as it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and renews skin’s surface. A derivative of vitamin A, it complements the skin’s natural renewal process.

“As you age, skin renewal begins to slow,” Renfro says. “Retinol boosts the skin’s surface renewal process and helps to strengthen the skin’s foundation to minimize the look of age spots, improve texture and help resist the look of lines and wrinkles.”

Wrinkles also respond well to moisture, which is why barrier creams are increasing in popularity. Also known as skin balms, salves and ointments, they all aim to keep skin hydrated and protected. Barrier creams stop transepidermal water loss and skin breakdown by providing a topical barrier on the skin, while also healing skin tears and existing wounds. These products can be useful if the natural barrier function of skin isn’t working as it should, whether that be because of a skin condition (eczema, dermatitis, rosacea and acne) or effects of the cold, dry winter.

“One of our favorite barrier creams is SkinMedica’s HA5 because it blends five different types of hydrators that immediately go to work to replenish your skin’s hyaluronic acid and is ideal for pretty much all skin types,” Renfro says.

“The other we’d recommend is Alastin Restorative Skin Complex because it’s formulated to help volumize and lift skin, combat all visible signs of aging and restore skin health for a vibrant, youthful appearance.”

QWO is a newer treatment for 2022. Approved by the FDA, the injectable treats moderate to severe cellulite in the buttocks of adult women. Cellulite is a fat deposit beneath the skin that looks like lumpy, dimpled flesh on the thighs, hips, buttocks and belly.

“The enzymes in QWO — called collagenases — are believed to target a structural cause under the skin working in three ways by releasing fibrous bands, redistributing fat cells and stimulating the growth of new collagen,” Abdo says.

“QWO works by breaking up those fibrous bands that cause the appearance of cellulite.”

QWO is injected by an aesthetic specialist directly into the targeted dimples in the buttocks using a small needle. The same size needle that is used for Botox injections. Each QWO treatment will consist of somewhere between 12 and 24 injections, depending on the amount of cellulite on the surface of the skin. The number of treatments a patient receives is individualized.

“When it comes to trying out any new skin care trend, we highly recommend consulting an aesthetic specialist to ensure that you’re a good candidate, as well as to create a personalized treatment plan to get the results that you want,” Renfro says.