It’s happening. Those fine lines and dark circles around your eyes are becoming more noticeable, your hands start looking like your mother’s, and your neck is a bit looser than you’d like. The aging process has begun and you want to know what you can do right now. Should you believe all those claims of ‘miracle creams’ at the department store? Should you break down and finally get Botox? What works and what’s a waste of your time? Dermatologists are at the forefront of the anti-aging technology and are unbiased. Read on to get the real scoop about some expert advice of the cosmetic world of anti-aging, and learn some anti-aging secrets.
The worst thing you can do is waste time when it comes to starting to try and slow down the aging process. Starting at grade school, put sunscreen on your children everyday. So much (some experts say 80%) of our damage is done in the first 18 years of life. Start experimenting with face moisturizers and eye creams in your 20’s. Get a retinol and eventually an Rx Retin-A in your 30’s, investigate Botox, fillers, lasers and slightly fancier moisturizers in your 40’s, and if it’s that bad and you’re not going to take it anymore, surgeries can be done in your 50’s and later. But wear sunscreen everyday no matter what you do or don’t do.
Using the same tired old moisturizer or getting the same old peel is boring and your skin will get used to it. Switch it up. Try a newer cream with more advanced technology - one with antioxidants or growth factors for instance. Things do get better, and ingredients do improve over time. Surprise your skin with a lactic acid peel or a TCA peel instead of your boring facial with that same pumpkin peel over and over again. Like your muscles needing to be confused at the gym in order to build muscle or burn fat, your skin too needs to be surprised into helping it slough dead skin cells better or get it to glow.
Dermatology has a huge armamentarium of tools to help you fight aging, so see your dermatologist to switch up your routine.
Getting your skin to glow is so youthful. Put on a serum that shines a bit in the sunlight, and get a vitamin C cream that brings a youthful glow to your skin. You can even cheat a bit and get a glowing makeup with light reflecting particles that not only fight sun damage, but literally forces your skin to glow.
As we get older, our skin turns over more slowly, which means it gets dead skin build up, becomes more prone to discoloration, and loses its bounce and glow. Peel it at home with glycolic acid, salicylic acid or lactic acid based cleansers, toners and creams, and get peels outside of the home professionally. There are so many peels to choose from. You should spend anywhere between $75 and $150; any more is ridiculous and more like highway robbery. A good price to be charged is $75 for a basic peel, and only $150 for the highest strength TCA you can get. Peels that cost $250 is simply unsustainable for most people, which defeats the purpose. You should be getting these peels a few times a year at least and at most once per 6 weeks to get the most benefit.
A full face is the picture of youth. As we age, we lose the fullness of the face. We lose fat in specific fat pads that are compartmentalized in the face and dermatologists know just where to place these safe fillers to replace your lost volume. Some subtle areas to get filled that you might not realize helps you look younger is filler in the temples and in the cheek area. You don’t have to look crazy. In fact, if it is done properly, no one will know what you have done, your friends will just think you look amazing. Getting fillers is actually the most subtle yet impressive way to stave off the aging process.
Wear sunscreen everyday. There are two types of aging: chronologic aging, which is the ticking clock that you can’t do anything about. And then there is Photoaging, or sun damage. Sunscreen is a great way to fight this type of aging. There are new FDA regulations on correct labelling of sunscreens that help you, the consumer, find one that is truly broad spectrum, truly water resistant, and truly effective. It is best to find one with both a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) and a chemical sunscreen such as avobenzone and oxybenzone. Reapply every two hours if you are out for a long time. Don’t forget the chest area, and men should ever forget the ears and scalp if those area are exposed.
A lot of people who want to fight the aging process say, “But its so hot when I wear long sleeves,” and then they wear tank tops all summer long, getting copious amounts of severely damaging rays on the most age prone areas like their chest, neck and shoulders. These are also the some areas where we see so many skin cancers. There is no better sunscreen than a physical piece of clothing. Fabrics are so technologically advanced these days that even a woman in menopause can feel cool in a lightweight fabric that covers her arms and chest. If it has those awesome thumb holes, use them to cover up your oh-so-vulnerable hands. You won’t even need sunscreen on those covered up areas. No only is this easier than sunscreen, but it’s an even better coverage because no sunscreen perfectly protects you from the sun’s rays like clothing does.
One of the biggest frustrations is when someone says they went for a consult for a laser or a deep peel, and she was quoted five, or even ten, thousand dollars. This is just highway robbery. Those lasers don’t do that much, unless it’s a true CO2 resurfacing laser. In addition, peels definitely don’t give you enough bang for that amount of buck. This is not to say that lasers and peels aren’t good, because they are, but the prices these days seem so outrageously high. Wait until the prices come down, because they always do.
Botox is wonderful, but only when its done tastefully in a microdroplet technique that helps soften your lines and not fully erase them. It takes a great injector (usually a dermatologist that has treated numerous patients with Botox) to really look at your face and decide where best to put the Botox. A great injector will even tweak it a bit 2 weeks later to get you to look as natural as possible. Nothing smooths the lines away every time the way Botox does. If only it lasted more than 3-4 months.
Over the counter, non prescription creams, moisturizers, and serums are all great, but they do not, repeat: do not, erase lines the way fillers, Botox, lasers, and surgeries do. Whenever a tag line for a creams says “Better than Botox” or “Laser in a bottle”, take your money and run. Yes, you can get a tiny bit of mileage from lubricating the skin, perhaps even a few less tiny fine lines over ten years time if you are consistent, but creams can not change the function of the skin the way the companies want you to think they can. Moisturizers are great, don’t misunderstand, but they are great for keeping skin texture soft over time, not great at erasing wrinkles or even fading spots, they just don’t do much of that, yet. But we can always be hopeful there will be some amazing new ingredient that will.
Don’t be afraid to start your anti-aging routine now. Start it on your kids for them when they are little by incorporating sunscreen into their morning routine. Start a little over the counter retinol for yourself, get some light peels under your belt, and finally venture onto one of those SPF clothing websites and get yourself a long sleeve shirt to wear when you exercise outside. Don’t spend a fortune, but do think about injectables such as Botox and fillers, which both really do buy you some major amount of time before you succumb to the real wrinkles. Remember that there is no such thing as a miracle in a jar, unless a plastic surgeon pops out of that jar. And if major surgery or even injectables aren’t right for you, rest assured, we all get wrinkles, and those who wear them proudly are the most beautiful of them all.
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