Great skin care is paramount to a gracefully aging face. Light and laser treatments work well, but without the daily use of products designed to preserve youthful skin, aging of the face and neck is an uphill battle. Patients regularly ask me what products to use on these areas. With so many different products available, it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to start. Not everyone needs a 7-step skin care regimen -- who has time? Nor do you have to pay top dollar for every product that you use. However, there are a few skin care guardians that are well worth the investment -- and they deliver nearly every single time! These are antioxidants, moisturizer, sunscreen, retinoids, and growth factors.
Antioxidants slow the process of aging by combating free-radicals -- rogue molecules generated by the sun, pollution, cigarette smoke and other toxins that damage the DNA of healthy skin cells and lead to wrinkles, laxity, discoloration, and cancer. Vitamin C is the pioneer on topical antioxidants and is still a formidable choice. Studies have shown that it revs up collagen production and lessens the effects of free radicals, helping to firm and maintain youthful skin. It also offers a bit of sun protection benefit.
Moisturizers work by slowing the evaporation of water from the skin, helping the skin stay hydrated, soft, and supple. Moisturizers become especially important if you are using acne treatments that tend to dry out the skin, such as retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Using a daily moisturizer will help ease the uncomfortable dryness, peeling, and flaking that can be caused by many acne medications. The best moisturizer is really dependent on your skin type. Even those with oily skin can benefit from the use of a daily moisturizer. It can be tricky finding just the right product. The skin care line Epionce has incredible moisturizers for both dry and oily skin types.
Sunscreen just might be your most important investment of all. Without its protection from UV rays, all of the other skin treatments you're using may be a big waste of time and money. It's estimated that sun exposure is responsible for 95 percent of wrinkles and is the single most preventable cause of aging! Make sure to use broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Physical sunscreens which contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are generally preferred over chemical sunscreens. If you're out in the sun, your sunscreen is effective for a max of 2 hours, and some products might not even last that long. Frequent reapplication is important to keep your skin safeguarded. How to use: Apply every morning. If it contains avobenzone, oxybenzone, or octinoxate, apply to bare skin. If it's zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, apply after moisturizer.
When it comes to retinoids, I can't say enough good about them. These vitamin A derivatives stimulate collagen, smooth the surface of the skin, even tone, increase blood flow, and unclog pores. Some people shy away from retinoids because of the potential skin irritation, but decreasing the strength and/or frequency of application can usually eliminate these side effects. Start with a low-potency cream and gradually increase the strength as your skin acclimates to it. Use these products at night after cleansing your face.
Growth factors have gained popularity in the recent years due to their ability to turn on cell signaling and for their collagen boosting properties. Growth factors are large proteins found in abundance throughout the body and have special signaling capabilities. When these signaling proteins bind to receptors on cell surfaces, they can send commands to replicate, repair, and rejuvenate. So when growth factors are applied to the skin regularly for several weeks, they are basically able to resuscitate aging skin cells, restoring all of the normal signals that support healthy skin when we're young. Growth factors a logical fit in formulas that aim to give youthful, even-toned, luminous effects. Growth factors should be applied to damp skin, right after cleansing. Wait several minutes before applying moisturizer and retinoids.
Apothica, at the Gateway, offers many different professional and medical grade skin care products that feature the essential ingredients above. You're sure to find stellar products for all ages, all skin types, and for every budget!
Best Face Forward,
Elise Wilcox, PA-C