Lat’s talk anti-aging. When do you start? What products should you look for?
Have good genes? Nice. You’re all set then. Well.. almost. Genes definitely play a huge role in aging, but your lifestyle habits and skincare are pretty important too. My dermatologist agrees with me that a good sunscreen and a moisturizer are the best place to start. And when do you start? Well, when it comes to these two products, it’s never too early.
Once you have a good sunscreen + moisturizer in your routine, you should treat your #1 skin concern like wrinkles, dryness, blotchiness or dark spots. Keep in mind that there isn’t a single product that will treat all of your concerns. It’s all about finding a mix of good products that will work together. In this post, I’ll go over a few of those concerns and ingredients/products you should look for.
Just like with a lot of other things and issues in the world of beauty, it’s much easier to prevent things like dark spots, than it is to treat them. This is why wearing sunscreen on daily basis, rain or shine, is so important. Years ago, I read a magazine interview with Dita Von Teese who, undeniably, has the most stunning, flawless, porcelain skin. When asked what her secret to such gorgeous skin was, she replied “A great dermatologist and a good sunscreen.” It seems that by now, everyone is well aware of the importance of using sunscreen, yet so many of us still don’t make it a habit to use it on daily basis: “but the sun isn’t out today“, “but it’s not hot“, “but we’re not going to the beach?” Trust me, sunscreen is your best friend, even on those gloomy, cloudy days. Use an SPF 30 or higher.
Sun causes skin damage as UVA rays cause your skin to age and wrinkle much faster than it would, had it not been exposed. This means photoaging, sun spots and, of course, wrinkles. With things like these, it’s much better and easier to prevent. If you want to find a good sunscreen for your face check out this article. You should always use 1/4 teaspoon on your entire face, applying it AFTER your moisturizer. Don’t trust the SPF in your foundation or BB cream- you’re most likely not applying nearly enough product to provide adequate protection. The earlier you start incorporating sunscreen into your skincare routine, the better, but it’s never too late to start!
Use of sunscreen is especially important when using AHA/BHA or Vitamin C products (pretty much anything that helps fight hyperpigmenation- not wearing proper sun protection while using these products can leave your skin vulnerable, and produce reverse results e.g. your acne scars and sun spots will get darker, instead of getting lighter).
After years of your skin being exposed to environmental damage, it loses its ability to bounce back and recover quickly. Antioxidants help to counter that oxidative stress and calm reddened skin. There isn’t a whole lot of research supporting the idea that antioxidant-rich diet has any anti-aging effects, but I think we all know that your skin will always look better with healthier diet. Antioxidants do work really well when applied topically. Look for skincare products that are formulated with antioxidants like different forms of vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, glutathione, selenium, green tea and derivatives, soy extract, grape extract, pomegranate extract, etc.
Exfoliation involves removing dead skin cells on skin’s outermost surface and you can do it two ways: through mechanical or chemical means. Mechanical exfoliation involves using abrasive materials like micro-bead cleansers, sponges or scrubs to lift dead skin cells away. It’s always a good idea to use a soft and gentle touch when using a scrub. Overdo it and you create micro-scratches on your skin, you can damage its barrier and/or cause inflammation. Always, always be gentle.
Scrubs, like a lot of things in the skincare world, do have their limits: they only treat the top layer of skin and unfortunately, most of the trouble-making build-up cells are way beyond their reach. Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, dissolve the bonds and intercellular cement between skin cells, allowing it to ease away. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs i.e. glycolic acid) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA- salicylic acid) are chemical exfoliants that are most commonly used in skincare. These exfoliants remove dead skin gradually and gently, without being abrasive, while revealing smooth, radiant skin.
No7 Beautiful Skin Age Defence Cleanser– great drugstore cleanser packed with AHAs
If you don’t already have a good AHA or BHA product in your routine, you need to get on that ASAP- thank me later. There are actually quite a few awesome drugstore products like Stridex (with salicylic acid, amazing product for skin with clogged pores), Pixi Glow Tonic (with glycolic acid) or Studio 35 Cream with AHA– you can find this at Walgreens, I don’t recommend you buy it online as it’s ofter over-priced. These pads are my absolute favorite AHA product. Some AHA products might tingle/sting your skin a little if you’ve never used them before, so you might want to start with something gentle like Pixi Glow Tonic. BHA products will help you out with clogged pores, blackheads and acne. AHA products are perfect to use if your skin looks grey, dull and has a rough surface. Using AHA products will also keep your skin smooth, so they should have a permanent place in your routine.
Uneven skin tone is another sign of aging and it’s primarily sun spots. Chemical exfoliants, Vitamin C treatments, and retinols are all good at fading them. Vitamin C helps build collagen and promotes your skin’s healing. Retinol- form of Vitamin A is commonly used in over-the-counter skin care products and is clinically proven to improve discoloration and age lines. Two retinol products I love (which are also great for anti-aging) are RoC Retinol Correction Cream and Arcona Advanced A Serum . If you find that over-the-counter retinols don’t bring desired results, you can also talk to your dermatologist about prescription retinoid (Retin-A). It’s much stronger than over-the-counter treatments, and it does take quite a while for your skin to get used to it. I’ve used it for my acne for about two years and it’s probably one of the best skincare products I’ve ever tried. Unfortunately, it’s not available over-the-counter.
Because I’ve dealt with acne for so long, I consider myself somewhat a dark-spot expert. I spent a ton of money on different products and two that work the best for me (other than Retin-A) are these peel pads and this treatment. Before splurging on skincare, remember to look at the ingredients and keep in mind that fragrance or pretty packaging is not what changes skin- powerful ingredients do.
This post was requested a while ago, but I really wanted to take my time with it, to make sure I cover everything. Another thing that I want to mention very quickly are anti-aging DIYs that pop on your Pinterest or Instagram feed: don’t trust everything you see. Always remember to patch test and keep in mind that just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it won’t harm your skin. Don’t put things like baking soda or lemon juice on your skin and always do your research- unless you want to end up with burns and scarring (which is what happened to me a few years ago).