Skincare And Cosmetic Procedures | une femme d'un certain âge

Skincare Update

Clarins Double Serum and UV Plus sunscreen. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Favorite Skincare Products

I’ve been meaning to write about my skincare routine for some months now, but will admit it’s been a moving target. I tend to try new products rather often (local department stores are generous with the samples) so I’m probably an esthetician’s worst nightmare. And I also tend to change up my routine with the seasons. Our climate is arid, so I never skip the moisturizer.

Here are the products in my current rotation:


Evenings only. I never go to bed with makeup on. In the mornings I just splash a bit of water and then apply skincare.

  • I use a cotton pad soaked with Micellar water to remove any makeup. I don’t wear a lot of makeup most days, so this is usually enough. If I’ve applied a waterproof eyeliner, I’ll use a bit of eye makeup remover 
  • I’ll follow up with a cleanser. I received some gifted products from Colleen Rothschild, and my favorite so far is the Radiant Cleansing Balm. It’s a bit on the pricey side, yes, but a lovely product. For a gentle and budget-friendly cleanser, I like this one.
  • Still a big fan of the Clarisonic. I use with my own cleanser, and the Sensitive brush heads.


  • I’ll admit, I’m not convinced that these products actually do anything. I received a travel-size version of this one from Tata Harper as a gift-with-purchase a while back and do enjoy misting with it when the air feels particularly dry.


Serums are designed to penetrate the skin, and are where the active ingredients matter most.

  • I’ve tried a lot of serums but keep coming back to my Clarins Double Serum. I do think it improves the texture of my skin. I use morning and night on my face, neck and décolleté.
  • I’ve been using prescription Retin-A as part of my evening routine for some years now. But it’s expensive, so I’ve cut back to using just a couple of nights per week. On a friend’s recommendation, I’m going to give this more budget-friendly line of exfoliants a try.


Here’s where I’m all over the map. But I look for products that include Hyaluronic Acid (holds moisture in the skin).

  • Mornings I’ve been using good old CeraVe. It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly. But now that our weather’s getting drier, I’ll probably switch back over to my Filorga.
  • I’ve been test driving Makeover Workshop Illuminate & Contour Eye Treatment (gifted). I don’t have a lot of issues with puffiness or dark circles, but I like the texture of this product, and it does seem to hydrate well and last all day.
  • I also like Filorga Optim-Eyes (this was recommended by a French pharmacist friend of the family).
  • Once a year or so, I splurge on a small jar of the original Creme de Mer. My skin really loves this stuff, and I ration it out, a couple of times per week, evenings only. I can tell the difference the next morning. In between, I go with the Filorga.
  • And I’ve been really impressed with the Makeover Workshop Firming Neck & Throat Creme. I use it morning and evening.


I never skip this step!

  • If I’m going to wear any CC Creme or makeup, I’ll usually go with the Clarins UV Plus. The texture is very light and it doesn’t “pill” on my skin. (And I use on my neck rather than a tinted product to keep from staining clothes.) It has the barrier sunscreens my dermatologist likes. I know there’s a lot of concern lately about nano-particles, but I’ve asked and her take is that they don’t absorb enough to be a concern.
  • When I want a one-step sunscreen/tint, I’ll use this one. (My dermatologist’s favorite.)


  • Every couple of weeks I use this heavenly stuff, and leave on overnight. I also apply and leave on during longer flights. It’s a splurge for sure, but an amazing product, and recommended by Lisa Eldridge. Ask for sample packs, which are perfect for travel.

Cosmetic Procedures

Though I’ve been religious about sunscreen use since my early 30’s, prior to that I rarely used it. Even though I wasn’t a sunbather I was outdoors a lot and have some cumulative sun damage. And I’d started to develop “pigmented lesions” (what my Grandmother used to call “liver spots”) on my cheeks and jaw line. No topical treatments, even those prescribed by a dermatologist, had any effect.

I tried a chemical peel at a dermatology clinic once a few years ago, and it didn’t do anything. I don’t know if the product I was given was expired or mixed incorrectly, but my skin didn’t even peel, just got dry and irritated and looked horrible for a few days. So I’ve never tried another.

I’ve had much better results with IPL laser treatments, and now go once a year for maintenance. My first initial round was 2 sessions about 6 weeks apart, if I remember correctly. The IPL treats my dark spots and sun damage very well, and according to my doctor, actually stimulates collagen and cell renewal. I found an added benefit is that my skin looks firmer, plumper and more radiant for several months afterward.

For The IPL-Curious…

I had my annual treatment yesterday. Here’s the process, in case it’s something you’re considering:

  • a numbing cream is applied to the areas that will be treated for about 20-30 minutes.
  • the doctor or technician will cover your eyes securely, apply a gel to the area being treated, and then apply a brief pulses of light over the entire face (and any other areas being treated).
  • the pulses themselves each last less than a second. Even with the goggles, you’ll still see flashes of light.
  • does it hurt? Depending on the area being treated, my answer would be “not at all” to “a little bit.” Each pulse can feel like a prick, sting or burn, but as I said they last less than a second, and there’s no pain afterward. I had my face, neck and décolleté treated, and the entire lasering process took less than 20 minutes.
  • there is no down time. The spots and sun damage will turn darker for a few days, and eventually flake off within 2 weeks. They aren’t crusty and are easily covered with makeup. During this time, avoid any abrasives or exfoliants.

Are there any cosmetic treatments that you’ve found particularly effective?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. Ellen
    September 28, 2017 / 4:50 am

    I have sensitive skin that is prone to outbreaks of eczema, so I rarely change products and use all of them minimally, my skincare routine is basically a shower, sunscreen and a moisturizer. I have to use severely hypoallergenic products. But what i would like to offer here is that if you have concerns about your sunscreen, or any other product that you are using with respect to nano particles or other environmental issues, the Environmental Working Group website is a very good source to get solid information, based on real science, about both individual products as well as classes of product as a whole.

    • Maggie
      September 28, 2017 / 6:51 am

      Thumbs up to the recommendation to check the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database!

    • September 28, 2017 / 2:55 pm

      I developed eczema just last winter, on my eyelids. Dermatologist said she most often sees it as a reaction to lanolin, which is in the skin cream I had just started to use! Eczema has not returned since I went back to CeraVe.

  2. Pamela Knoth
    September 28, 2017 / 4:53 am

    Hi Susan…..Like you I have always been big into experimenting with products, I always felt that after 6 months my skin would get use to the a product. However 2 years ago I started using a line from Budapest, Omorovicza. And I am still totally convinced this is the most incredible line of skin care out there. I will occasionally cheat with another product but I always come back. It can be purchased at some Neiman Marcus stores but I order online and their shipping is excellent and they have a very generous rewards program. I live in 2 very dry climates, 6 months in Arizona and 6 months in Colorado at 8,000 ft, the altitude is a skin killer. They have some amazing videos on their web site that explain methods and how a product works. I would call the pricing middle of the road to slightly high, certainly more expensive than lower end department store lines but cheaper than the really high end lines like La Prairie. Please give it a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed. My favorite product is the Blue Diamond Serum for daytime, amazing. I am your same age and people are always commenting on how incredible my skin looks and this is to a past sunbather! I too LOVE the IPL laser, amazing.

  3. Kim
    September 28, 2017 / 5:22 am

    I have very sensitive skin and must be super careful about ingredients. I’ve been using (and loving!) the Jordan Samuel Skincare line of products morning and night. I use all of them and have had zero issues with eczema or breakouts. They’ve actually improved my skin’s hydration and texture. Pricing is very reasonable.

  4. Pink Azalea
    September 28, 2017 / 5:51 am

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. I’ve also developed sensitive skin and am trying to figure out what changes to make. I’ve also had IPL in the past with good results. My dermatologist recently recommended Differin gel, an OTC retinol product that used to be prescription only. Have not used it yet.

  5. Nancy
    September 28, 2017 / 5:59 am

    I would appreciate knowing everyone’s thoughts on using the same moisturizer for face as well as eye area. I have heard pros and cons on both sides. My other question is the benefits of a mask? I use a good moisturizer, my Clarisonic and have same idea on toners…for my dry skin prob. not necessary? So what added benefit would a mask give my skin? My most challenging problems are the marionette lines on each side of my mouth as well as the thinning skin under my eyes…(appears as darker skin)

    • September 28, 2017 / 10:37 am

      Hi Nancy. My thoughts on the same moisturizer for face and eyes? It’s weird. My eyes are very sensitive to product. I’ve tried the Lancome eye cream and woke up with puffy eyes–and not in the good way. Oddly, the old-school Oil of Olay is about the only moisturizer I can use under my eyes that doesn’t irritate. Two bonafide eye creams I do use without irritation are Vivant’s “Wink” and Skin Actives “Bright I Cream” –but sometimes I get lazy and just slather on the Olay!!

  6. Debra
    September 28, 2017 / 7:39 am

    Biggest change in my skincare/makeup routine – I’ve given up foundation and switched to a tinted moisturizer.
    My evening routine is pretty much the same as yours, although I do double cleanse – first with an oil cleanser, and then with a mild milky cleanser. I use a glycolic toner and an OTC retinol serum. I LOVE L’Occitane Divine Cream and have been using that for years – I think it’s just what works with my skin. And, like you, I use the Black Rose cream as a mask – but I use it nightly. I found it online for a good price ( and use only a little. I’ve been doing this for about six months and probably have another good month in the tube before I have to replace it. You might check out Marionnaud in Paris when you are there (soon!) and see if the prices are better in France. I find that my l’Occitane cream is much less expensive in Paris, even with the euro/dollar conversion rate.

    Finally, as far as plastic surgery goes – thinking of doing another laser peel/maybe more. Bags under eyes are getting bad and I think are the biggest issue for me. No time to tackle this until next summer, though.

    Thank you for writing about this stuff – I enjoy hearing about new products from you. You are the one who alerted me to the Black Rose Mask and although I received a sample of it at Marionnaud, it would have likely sat in a drawer if I had not been previously alerted to its magic!

  7. Carolyn from Oregon
    September 28, 2017 / 8:19 am

    I am very fair skinned (redhead) and had enormous sun exposure as a child, in the pre-sunscreen era. I’m 68 and have used maximum strength Retin-A for 25 years. I have a prescription for it. The generic version is very inexpensive and covered by insurance. My co-pay is less than $10 a tube. My dermatologist attributes the fact that I haven’t had facial skin cancers to Retin-A and tells me it’s the best thing I can do for my skin.

    Initially I had to have my dermatologist write a letter stating it was for therapeutic rather than cosmetic use to get it covered under my insurance. I have had no problems with coverage for it under Medicare.

    I also had good results with IPL but haven’t found a new clinic after my former technician left. My understanding is that it is very dependent on the skill of the operator. It worked much better than lasers for me.

    • vtaloni
      September 28, 2017 / 5:10 pm

      Carolyn, From a fellow redhead … what strength is your Retin A? (Do you use Tretinoin?) I didn’t fill my last prescription as it was $$$$. (Not covered by insurance.) I’ve never tried IPL.

  8. Jane
    September 28, 2017 / 9:24 am

    As your friendly neighborhood dermatologist, I’d highly recommend prioritizing the RetinA. It’s the only prescription strength product that has actual scientific proof (published studies) behind it’s efficacy. It’s what most of us use. Since you only use a pea sized amount to the entire face at night, a tube should last a long time. The price is well worth it compared to the cost of all the other department store products that are considerably less efficacious and quite expensive when you add it all up. Just my (scientific) two cents.

  9. September 28, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Do you do IPL all over the face or just specific places? I’ve been wondering about that Clarins serum. Must try.

    • Susan B
      September 28, 2017 / 10:26 am

      Hi Sandra, I do all over. Really evens things out.

  10. Karen
    September 28, 2017 / 10:26 am

    Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is an exfoliant that has been a game changer in my skin care regimen. It minimizes pores and has visibly improved the texture of my sensitive skin.

    • SoSuSam
      October 2, 2017 / 7:40 am

      Second this. It’s fantastic. Another wonderful choice is Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. I prefer the original 1970 (regular) version, but there are 6 other versions to try, so everyone can find one they love. However, it’s definitely more expensive than the PC Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. I like the two together–but I don’t use Retin A. It likely would be overkill to use both of them PLUS tretinoin.

      Thanks for this fun and interesting post. Isn’t it wonderful how much great skincare is now easily available? So different from the world I grew up in, much to my skin’s dismay.

  11. Caroline
    September 28, 2017 / 10:42 am

    Susan, a great article. I would like to find a good dermatologist. As we both appear to be living in Los Angeles, would you be willing to share your dermatologist’s name with me? I would appreciate it very much. Thank you.

    • Susan B
      September 28, 2017 / 11:19 am

      Hi Caroline, the dermatologist I see for IPL is Dr. Ablon in Manhattan Beach. The office feels like a spa, and the staff is top notch.

  12. Jane
    September 28, 2017 / 10:44 am

    I am intrigued by the Revision Intellishade you recommended. I am wondering if you have ever ordered it from Amazon, as I would have to do since there is nowhere in my area to buy it. I read that Revision doesn’t authorize its sale from dealers other than medical offices and spas, so am reluctant to order for fear it’s not the real thing. It sounds like just what I need, though, so I’m tempted!

  13. Angela
    September 28, 2017 / 11:56 am

    I find that toner takes off the very last vestiges of makeup even after a thorough cleanse. Admittedly, I sweep it lightly across my skin using a cotton pad rather than patting it on. Also have totally fallen in love with using Elizabeth Arden ceramide essence after that to rebalance the skin. I have to admit that after 20 years of using only EA products, retirement budgeting has led me to discovering other worthwhile products. I am particularly taken with the French line, Avene, and though I have a very balanced skin (English heritage) it is gratifying to see they cover very extreme sensitivities.

  14. Caroline
    September 28, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    Hi Susan: Thank you so much for the requested information.

  15. September 28, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    Has anyone had Micro-Needling done? At the dermatologist, not the at home version? I’m going next week. Had considered the IPL and have had Fraxel Laser under the eyes which was fabulous but a long recovery. Just wondering about the micro needling experiences!

    • vtaloni
      September 28, 2017 / 5:13 pm

      I’ve had micro needling four times … to no avail. In fact, I’ve tried just about everything and nothing makes a difference. 🙁 Must be me.

  16. September 29, 2017 / 6:15 am

    I was using Amlactin moisturizing body lotion and it’s not bad and not perfect too. I think i will try your suggestion and buy Cerave and give it a try. Ty!

  17. Christi
    September 29, 2017 / 7:08 am

    I use Paula’s Choice products for exfoliating, toning and cleansing. They’re great. I prefer the 2% AHA for exfoliating but she offers many options and trial sizes so you can buy a few and see what works best. She has her own website and has a broader range than the Nordstrom’s website. Reading her book “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” totally changed my skin care routine for the better!

  18. Patricia
    September 29, 2017 / 7:13 am

    I’ve just finished my second IPL treatment and must say that I’m unimpressed with the results. I have a third round scheduled, so maybe that one will be successful. Had it done by a plastic surgeon so I think the application was done properly. Perhaps it’s just my skin.

    • Susan B
      September 29, 2017 / 7:22 am

      It’s certainly possible everyone’s skin responds differently. A friend of mine gets fabulous results from the same peel that didn’t work for me. IPL has been the most effective non-invasive treatment for removing my dark spots.

  19. Michelle
    September 29, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Can you go for IPL treatment if you have a filler like Juvederm on your cheeks? Merci!

    • Susan B
      September 29, 2017 / 8:01 am

      I’m not sure, but would suggest consulting a dermatologist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

- powered by chloédigital