So I went to the Dermatologist recently and I was talking with her about the best things to do for anti-aging. She said that the best and most effective thing you can do is to incorporate Retin-A into your skin care routine, but besides that, she said there are three things that we have to use as we approach the dreaded time in our lives where everything begins to sag. Her suggestions were nothing exactly profound but very important nonetheless.
1. Glycolic Acid Cleanser
Very important for those of us in our 30's on up. Glycolic Acid acts as an exfoliant and moisturizer but may be harsh for daily use on sensitive skin. It's very important to use a sunscreen after cleansing with a Glycolic Acid product because it can leave your skin vulnerable to sun burn. Start out using a couple of times a week and work your way up if your skin isn't bothered by it. Available in different strengths according to tolerance level.
Are you getting the picture that exfoliating is a super big important part of anti-aging? Must. Remove. Dead. Skin. Cells. Some of these products are very gentle and some are more harsh. Use your own judgment as to what your skin can tolerate and how often. I have been told to exfoliate daily either in the AM or PM, concentrating a little more time on known dry spots on the skin. One other thing my Derm said was that daily use of an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells will help to combat skin cancer on the face because you're getting rid of old skin cells to reveal fresh and youthful skin.
We all know we need sunscreen to prevent sun damage. Most of us failed to include this in our skin care routine as we were growing up and feeling immortal! And now, in our 30's and up, we pay for the mistakes of the past with things like sun spots that pop up to remind us of the damage done. We were once told to use at least an SPF 15 but that's changed to at least an SPF 30. Apply this daily and don't forget it, even on cloudy days! If you don't use sunscreen, there is no point to taking care of your skin in other ways.
I will give you some suggestions for both inexpensive and high-end products in each of the aforementioned categories. I've tried most all of the ones I'm naming so I recommend them based on my experience with them. Some that I've tried:
Glycolic Acid Cleansers:
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel: includes both GA and Salicylic Acid as well as brightening agents for overall improvement in tone and texture. This is one of those that you want to start off maybe every other day and work your way up or down according to your skin's reaction. I had no trouble with it on an every other day basis and my skin is quite sensitve.
Skin Effects Glycolic Cream Cleanser: I've seen this at CVS for around $12. Its supposed to improve clarity, tone, and texture. This has no fragrance or frills, just a no nonsense product that does what it says. The gentle creamy formula doesn't irritate or dehydrate. Created by Dr. Jeffrey Dover and cruelty-free. Unlike most cleansers you are given the option of rinsing or wiping off with tissue. This can be a bit difficult in that it feels a tad sticky.
I don't know about you but the name of this product really grabs me and makes me want to know more. Infused with many great ingredients like Glycolic Acid, White Tea, Pomegrante, and Vitamin E, that work together to fight toxins in the environment and delay visible aging and redness. This one includes 12% Glycolic Acid but the Wrinkle Revenge 3 includes a whopping 30% which I'm quite sure is the strongest concentration available over the counter.
Dermalogica Micro Exfoliant:
This is a strange product but I quite like it. Rather than being a cream or a gel formula, it is a powder that, when mixed with a bit of water, turns into an exfoliating paste. If you don't add enough water, it doesn't spread as well so you will have to use your judgment on how much is enough to create a nice paste.
St. Ives Apricot Scrub:
I couldn't have a list of drugstore exfoliators and not mention this cult-classic. Some thing this is too harsh but I don't agree. If it isn't irritating you, it isn't too harsh. I would use this one every other day and use gentle circular motions. No parabens and chalked full of natural ingredients, and no animal testing.
Bjore SkinPreservation Even Smoother Microderm Exfoliator:
A lot of reviews have said this one isn't as harsh as St Ives which may be useful for those with sensitive skin. I haven't used this one but I've heard it does a good job making pores appear smaller and fading acne scars.
CeraVe AM SPF 30: Non-Comodogenic, contains Hyaluronic Acid to increase cell turnover. Very good for those with sensitive skin because it has no fragrance or irritants. Helps to restore and protect moisture barrier. This is the one my Dermatologist gave to me to try when I told her that most sunscreens break me out. This runs around $12 at CVS and I'm really liking it. CeraVe is one of those brands, like Cetaphil, that you can always depend on for trustworthy products that do the job.
Neutrogena Dry-Touch SPF 45: For those of you that hate feeling greasy and looking shiny, then this will be a Godsend. This dries to the touch, hence the name, "dry-touch". And SPF 45 makes me feel very secure that I'm protecting my skin from sun damage or any chance of getting a tan whatsoever. Works very well under makeup without having to wait a few minutes to settle in before applying. Runs under $10.
Shiseido SPF 38 Extra Smooth Sun Protection: Shiseido is the brand that is mentioned over and over when speaking about high-end sunscreens that people love. I admit, I thought because it was more expensive that it worked better. I liked the fact that it was a moisturizing sunscreen good for dry and sensitive skin. Its a very good product but no better than my drugstore stuff. PABA free and extra hydrating. Runs around $25-$30 depending where you buy from.
Aside from the three main products we need to promote and mantain youthful skin, there are plenty of others that can be used along with them to make even bigger improvements with overall appearance of your skin. And if you can't be bothered with 10 different products for your face, at least do the big three. If you want everything you can get your hands on, the following were recommended by both my Esthetician and Dermatologist:
*Vitamin C Serum: protects the skin from free radicals in the air
*Hyaluronic Acid: increases skin cell turnover
*Glycolic (Chenical) Peels (at home or by a professional)
*Lots of excercise, fruit and vegetables, green tea, and water!
Feel free to share your own tried and true skin care tips and products! I'd love to hear more!