Oh I am so excited to write this post… something I’ve been thinking about writing for awhile now! I just had 2 appointments this week with my beloved and long-term dermatologist, one for a normal yearly checkup (mostly for skin cancer full-body screening since I’m so white), and then another to go over my skin regimen and anti-aging “plan.” LOL As if you can really have a plan to not age!
I was pleasantly surprised at how pleased she was this time when viewing my skin under her sun damage lens (special lens that can see UV ray aging and damage underneath the top layer of skin – basically early aging before it appears). Apparently the two most important things I’ve been doing have been:
- Using a high SPF sunscreen fairly regularly (and every day in the Summer)
- Using a little bit of brightener in the form of a very very low percentage Retinol cream and Vitamin C
She exclaimed that my skin was looking YOUNGER and “glowing”… as though I was 25 again (and this lady don’t lie). But, the signs of coming wrinkles underneath the visible skin were “just barely” starting to show, and it was time to go with a little more retinol %, as well as to maybe think about including alpha hydroxy acids into my routine.
This is WORLDS away from what happened when I saw her back when I started this blog in 2013… I was only 27, but she thought Botox was in order for my visible fine lines LOL! Apparently that’s how bad I was aging (and admittedly, I had neglected seeing her for years at that point)!
So again, let me reiterate how important using even the lightest retinol 2x a day and SPF sunscreen as much as I can: The constant cell-turnover and brightening the retinol was doing, as well as the protection from further damage the sunscreen was doing, literally rewinded my skin cells back 6 years (and maybe more if I was aged older than 27 back then -which I’m guessing I was due to her horrified reaction lol).
This is one of those important lessons I want to impart to my daughter about beauty (and how sweet that my doctor is more than likely going to be the one taking care of her skin, too… *tear*). I hope she learns from me that taking care of your skin throughout your lifetime is SO worth it to feeling healthy. In other words, if you eat healthy, exercise, and yet you’re not taking care of your skin, there’s something missing 🙂
So let me give you some tips I just got this week before I forget 😀 these are things that are straight from my dermatologist, who is considered “World Class” and one of the best in our city!
- You need to be cleansing your face 2x a day with a stronger cleanser (than the grocery store brands I used to use and wrote about) that has some kind of acidic quality to it, especially if you’re fair skinned (glycolic or salicylic acid). This will be your basic exfoliant, as it literally will make the dead skin cells “slough off.”
- When skin cells slough off through cleansing with glycolic acid cleansers, it increases cell turnover, which helps prevent early aging. From Google: Glycolic acid is part of the group of active compounds known as AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids). Derived from cane sugar: It has the smallest molecules in the group so is able to penetrate skin deeply and easily, making it the most effective for treating fine lines, acne, blackheads, dullness, oiliness etc.
- Now that you’re over 30, scrubbing with exfoliants, like I was so avid about doing before, is no longer really that beneficial (yea I was shocked ). In fact, since my skin is getting thinner (she held up a rubber glove and pulled it taut and told me THAT was how thin my skin was getting!), that scrubbing is going to do more damage than good for my skin. So like the first point states, a stronger acidic cleanser will become your exfoliant. Go with gentle chemicals to get the dead skin off, instead of rough grainy beads.
- Get serious about using Retinol a couple (or more) times a week. Your face has to build up to get used to it. And if you’re fair skinned, you’re more than likely also sensitive to Retinol (other shades of skin can be really sensitive as well though – always check with your doctor to see what strength they suggest for your specific skin type, sensitivities, and thickness, etc.).
- Now is the time to start getting acid peels (medical grade facials – not the kind at the spa, but medical grade ones) every now and then – but only during the Winter months since they make your skin EXTREMELY vulnerable to more sun damage. My dad actually had something like that done recently with their UV machine (that literally caused layers of damaged skin to peel off and left his skin so beautiful and smooth and 10 years younger looking). His is to prevent skin cancer, but the effects are still nice to see and feel. Doing something like that just once or twice a year “resets” your skin and helps your regular regimen to keep improving it (and be able to penetrate deeper).
- You’re now at the stage of “Maintaining.” They explained to me this week that although my skin looks beautiful and even “glowing,” it is now the time to get serious about maintaining that glow and youthful baby softness.
It’s really fun to get into the science of all this stuff, and feel relaxed in knowing you’re taking care of yourself. I went ahead and got a glycolic acid/ azelaic acid Brightening Creme to use 2x daily (Glytone from France), along with a 0.5% Pure Retinol Creme (Skinceuticals brand USA) to use only at night and only a couple of times a week (should not use during pregnancy). The Retinol is a high potency product and using it more than 2x a week would make my skin just peel too much.
Things I’ll be adding as well is a gentle alpha-hydoxy cleanser (Oil of Olay), and then Bio Oil which is INCREDIBLE as a moisturizer for aging-past-30 skin.
That’s it! And now I’m going to go play with my retinol 😀