Start Your Skin Care Regimen Early
As I head into my mid 20’s I’ve noticed some unfortunate signs of aging. I never realized I had smile lines up until one or two years ago. I never used to wake up with puffiness under my eyes. These are all things I’m noticing and experiencing for the first time. Yes, these are minor concerns, but I want to age gracefully. Sort of like a fine cheese or a good bottle of wine. I needed to implement an anti-aging regimen.
My plan for staving off the cruel effects of time includes several topical creams and lotions. I think my readers will be very interested in learning about the essentials of any good anti-aging routine. You will need a retinoid, sunscreen, moisturizer, antioxidants, and maybe a few changes to your lifestyle.
The focus, as always, will be on prevention. Once you have done your best in trying to prevent signs of aging, you can target your worrisome areas. Unfortunately, none of this will work overnight. These topicals will only work if you use them consistently and religiously.
Retinoids Improve Skin’s Appearance
There is a reason I always recommend people use retinoids for almost any skin concern. They are the only consistently proven cream that helps with aging. Retinoids blast away dead skin and smooth out fine wrinkles.
Head over to my page on tretinoin for the full story.
Sunscreen Prevents Skin Damage
I’ve discussed sunscreen at length quite a few times on this website. You’re sick of hearing it, but I’m not sick of telling you about it. Sunscreen is your best friend! Sunscreen prevents photodamage and will keep your skin tone even and youthful. Did I mention sunscreen will prevent skin cancer? Trust me, you do not want a basal cell, squamous cell, or deadly melanoma growing on your body.
I get so many complaints from people telling me that they don’t like “the smell” or “the stickiness” or “the feeling” of sunscreen. News flash! You’re using the wrong sunscreen. There are soooooo many great sunscreens out there that don’t have any of these problems.
Take for example my daily favorite EltaMD UV Physical Tinted SPF 41 ($29.50), La Roche Posay Anthelios AOX SPF 50 ($42.50), or even Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer SPF 30 ($12.99). There is a sunscreen option out there for every budget.
Another piece of advice, don’t skimp on the sunscreen like you do with the $65 bottle of foundation you use. That’s exactly why the SPF 10 marketed on your foundation isn’t actually giving you SPF 10.
Don’t forget to check out my previous post on what to look for in a sunscreen.
Sunscreen is way cheaper than makeup. It’s also way cheaper than the chemical peels and dermabrasion you’ll want later on if you don’t wear sunscreen.
A good moisturizer is hard to find. You want something that’s hydrating but not occlusive to the point where it feels thick and goopy. If you have sensitive skin finding a good moisturizer can be even harder.
I always recommend Theraplex Hydrolotion Daily Skin Moisturizer ($16.50) for people with sensitive skin. I don’t have sensitive skin, and I love it. It feels light, rubs in easily, and dries quickly. Another good one I got recently is Neutrogena’s Hydroboost Gel Cream ($18.99). It has hyaluronic acid, the main ingredient in most injectable fillers. Hyaluronic acid products may help even when they’re applied topically.
Lately, I’ve been alternating between Theraplex and SkinMedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator ($178). This is a serum with 5 types of hyaluronic acid in it. It also has a lot of silicone in the product which helps keep my skin matte and looking supple.
Moisturizer should be used right when you get out of the shower. All the commercials were telling the truth; you can lock in the most moisture right when you get out of the shower.
Antioxidants Fight Damage
Truthfully, I haven’t gotten into the antioxidant game much. However, many dermatologists recommend topical antioxidants as part of an anti-aging regimen.
Antioxidants help your cells get rid of free radicals (aka reactive oxygen species). Much of the theory on why cells age rests on the idea that free radicals build up in your cells and cause DNA damage. Antioxidants are necessary for the chemical reactions that stabilize free radicals. You can now even choose from topical or oral antioxidants (like Polypodium leucotomos extract which can be bought here) that are formulated to help with skin damage.
Antioxidants come in all shapes and sizes. They are not one molecule. They are a family of ingredients that work together to help your cells get rid of free radicals. Some examples include: niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin E, vitamin C, green tea, resveratrol, and retinol.
Vitamin E and Vitamin C, especially, have been shown to decrease the amount of UV induced damage and hyperpigmentation.
Some of the products I recommend for targeted antioxidants are Skinceuticals Resveratrol B E ($152) or their C E Ferrulic ($162). Many products already have antioxidants built in. Don’t forget to look for the ingredients I mentioned previously.
Doctors love recommending lifestyle modifications. It’s harder than popping a pill, but the effects are infinitely better. The last thing you can and should be doing to prevent aging is living the healthiest life you possibly can. This means exercise, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and getting a good night’s sleep. As for smoking and drinking, they don’t help your skin. Smoking contributes to aging. Countless studies have shown this to be true.
What do you use in your anti-aging regimen? What new products will you incorporate after reading this?
- Burke, K. E. “Photodamage of the skin: protection and reversal with topical antioxidants.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology3 (2004): 149-155.
- Guyuron, Bahman, et al. “Factors contributing to the facial aging of identical twins.” Plastic and reconstructive surgery4 (2009): 1321-1331.
- Martires, Kathryn J., et al. “Factors that affect skin aging: a cohort-based survey on twins.” Archives of dermatology12 (2009): 1375-1379.