My posts are mainly about home decorating and DIY projects, but I thought I would share my simplified anti-aging skin care routine. I am what some may call a “product junkie” having tried a multitude of skin care products over the years. I’ve always taken care of my skin, but I have always loved the sun and with getting older, well, let’s just say, things were getting scary. Off I went to an excellent and well-known dermatologist/cosmetic surgeon for my first dermatology appointment ever in my mid 40’s. It was after that visit, that I stopped trying all kinds of skin care products and simplified my skin care routine down to handful of reliable products. I am by no means an expert and you should always refer to your dermatologist for recommendations, but I thought I would share what I have learned that could be helpful in your own skin care routine. I want to mention that I am not getting any endorsement for mentioning any of these products.
Topical Vita C
Vita C serum was were I started. I first researched the benefits of topical Vitamin C on the internet. There is a lot of information on the benefits of topical vita C on the internet, so I am not going to go into all of the scientific details here, but it is one of the best things you can put on your face. When I went to the dermatologist, she also strongly recommended vita C serum. For one, it stimulates collagen production. Collagen production tapers off as you get older and lack of collagen is what causes loss of elasticity or “plumpness of the skin”. Topical vita C can also lighten dark spots caused by the sun. It can also lessen the severity of a sun burn when applied after being in the sun and I have found this to be the case. If you have ever looked at purchasing vita C serums in the store, you know they can be quite pricey. The other thing with vita C is that it is very unstable and when exposed to light and air, it breaks down very fast and is no longer effective. The Vita C will most likely not be effective after you opened the bottle a few times and exposed it to light and air. In my opinion, you are totally wasting your money on these expensive vita C products. I researched how to make my own on the internet and buy the L-ascorbic acid on line and mix up a small bottle of my own vita c serum every couple of weeks. It is VERY simple. What it costs me to make my own vita c serum for a year is less than what one bottle of vita C serum cost in the store. I apply vita C serum right after I wash my face in the morning and before I apply any other product.
Vitamin A Derivative- Retin A
The other product that was recommended is Retin A or trentinoin. Most of you are probably familiar with Retin A for the treatment of acne. But for the same reason it is good for acne, it turns over skin cells quickly, it is also good for the appearance of skin. Retin A also stimulates collagen production. You do need a prescription for this, but it is not that expensive. Many over-the-counter products contain vita A, but not at prescription strength which is most effective. Honestly, I should have started Retin A in my 20’s to have the most long-term impact on my skin. Since taking Retin A, my skin texture and firmness have improved. Retina A can improve fine wrinkles and lighten brown spots. Brown spots can make you look old as much as wrinkles do. Retin A works on a cellular level and is one of very few skin products actually proven to work and that is why it is recommended by so many dermatologists. I have been using the .5%, but recently went to 1%. Three years later, my skin looks better than before I started using. These are two of the most well-known and recommended skin products for the prevention of aging and improving the appearance of the skin. Seriously, if you take away nothing else from this article, start using vita C serum and Retin A (treninion).
I have to warn you though. Starting on Retin A is like going to war on your face. My derm warned me that my skin will get very red, very dry and flaky and will be that way for several weeks until all the yucky skin has come off. It was NOT a pretty process. Be prepared. Do not start Retin A if you have any special functions for the next several weeks. That difficult period, however, was well worth it. Retin A is to be applied at night after you wash your face and before you apply a moisturizer. If my skin becomes extra dry from the Retin A, sometimes it will during the winter, I may go to every other night.
Another product that my derm recommended was Obagi Clear with 4% hydroquinone. This product does the best job of lightening dark spots. Some refer to it as a skin bleaching product, but it actually works by inhibiting the enzyme that produces melanin. Melanin is what causes dark spots. Hydroquinone at higher levels of concentration can only be purchased in a derm office that carries this product line or sometimes you can find it at a spa that is associated with a physician. However, I found that I can buy it on-line and it doesn’t cost nearly as much as when I buy it in my derm’s office. I have to warn you, it is not cheap. You use it twice a day on your face only and only for three months at a time. You have to give your skin a break from up. You can find hydroquinone products at lower concentrations over-the-counter, but it will take a little longer to lighten dark spots and may not lighten them as much as 4% or higher. This product makes the most difference in lightening my dark spots. If you are going to use this product, you really need to follow your derm’s instructions and read the information on the label before taking. Some with sensitive skin may find this too harsh for their skin. I find that if I put it too thick, it causes red raised red bumps on my skin. I use this on my face and the back of my hands only. I’ve tried applying it to the dark spots on my chest and I always get those raised red bumps.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA’s)
An exfoliating product was the next product recommended by my dermatologist. Exfoliating products contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)or glycolic acid. I use Obagi Exoderm. It is pricey, but I like it better for my face than other products I have used. Again, you have to get this in a derm’s office that carries this product line or order on-line. You can’t find this particular product in stores. Another good exfoliator that you can get in stores is the line of products from Alpha Hydrox. These products come in varying strengths and I would recommend starting out with a lower concentration of alpha hydroxy acid to make sure you skin can handle it and move to higher concentrations over time. It can sting a little. AHA’s dissolve dead skin cells away and make the skin nice and smooth. AHA’s can be used on the entire body. Some people get what is referred to as “chicken skin or chicken bumps” which is actually keratosis pilaris which can often occur on the backs of the arm. AHA’s will take those bumps away. I recently bought a bottle of Amlactin which is an AHA product for the body and I have to say I absolutely love this product! It makes your skin so smooth, better than anything I have used. It does smell like ammonia when you first put it on, but the smell goes away. This will definitely be a keeper product for me.
Moisturizer with Sunscreen and Hyaluronic Acid
Next comes a moisturizer. This is where the options can be endless and I tried of ton of them. I only use one moisturizer now and that is CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing lotion with sunscreen. The great thing about CeraVe face products is that they contain hyaluronic acid which is naturally found in the skin and keeps the skin plump. CeraVe has a whole product line. I use the moisturizer with the sun screen EVERY SINGLE DAY even if I am not going outside. I think we all know by now how harmful the sun is to our skin. After my Retin A is applied at night, I will use the CeraVe PM Facial Moisurizing Lotion without the sun screen. If my skin is extra dry, I will use CeraVe Moisturizing Cream at night after my Retin A. It is thicker and has heavier moisturizer than their regular face lotions.
Well, what about eye creams? I have tried MANY. I am not married to eye creams like I am to my other skin care products. I have been using RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Eye Cream for some time now and I like it very much. I use it at night and usually use CeraVe Eye Repair Cream during the day or Loreal Paris Revitalift Double Lifting Eye Treatment. It has two eye creams, one for under the eye and one for the eye lid.
I use CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser in the morning and Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes at night. I have also used the Costco version of these wipes and found them to be just as good and a lot less expensive.
One other mention, the dermatologist could not stress enough that your sunscreen should contain zinc oxide. No, it won’t turn your skin white like you may recall from the days when you would see lifeguards with white zinc oxide noses. CeraVe sunscreens contain zinc oxide. When choosing a sunscreen, look for one with zinc oxide. Many sunscreens contain chemical UVA and UVB sunscreens, but those chemicals are not good for your face.
To summarize my routine in a few simple steps:
- CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
- Vita C serum
- Obagi Clear (when I am doing a 3 month cycle)
- Obagi Exoderm
- CeraVe AM Facial Moisurizing Lotion with sunscreen
Night time routine
- Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes
- Obagi Clear (if I am doing 3 month cycle)
- Retin A (trentinoin)
- CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion if I need it.
I am done with spending money trying all kinds of skin care products. This routine has served me well and contains the recommended products for a good antiaging skin routine. My skin has not shown any further aging in the past couple of years, my skin is smooth, my dark spots have faded. I hope that my years of being a skin care junkie and trying all kinds of products as well as my dermatologist’s recommended products and routine will save you from spending unnecessary money trying products that may not do the job. I am comfortable in saying that the skin care products I use in my routine do what they say they are supposed to do and they are worth trying.
CeraVe offers a $2.00 coupon for their products if you go on their website.
If you want to know my on-line sources for these products, please email me at email@example.com and I would be happy to share that information with you.