Everyone wants beautiful skin, but excepting those with a fortunate mix of genes (especially Asian genes) getting and keeping healthy skin requires some efforts.
It’s fair to say that everybody with light skin, living in Florida, has to use sunscreen on a daily basis; not just when going out into the sun, but routinely, even staying inside. For routine use, SPF 15 as a dedicated product is sufficient. Merely relying on the sunscreen that might be in your makeup, however, is not.
Sun damage is the number one cause of skin deterioration for Floridians. Not only do solar rays cause unattractive brown spots and skin cancer, they also interfere with the skin’s production of collagen; the resulting loss of elasticity is what causes wrinkles.
Smoking is a very close second in terms of its importance in causing premature skin aging. Fortunately, many people nowadays are realizing that smoking causes wrinkled skin in addition to many other health hazards, at ages as early as the late 20’s!
Exfoliating cleansers are a good way to maintain radiant skin. Well-formulated cleansers contain glycolic or salicylic acid that helps to gently peel away dead skin cells, remove dust and dirt particles, and oil accumulated throughout the day.
Moisturizers are important, but not everybody needs them, and not at all times.
Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, has for many years been studied and proven to prevent skin aging. It may even reverse mild wrinkles and imperfections. Using it, however, is somewhat tricky, and one needs to know what to expect and how to handle it. It has to be applied to the cleansed, moisturized skin at bedtime, in small amounts (2 pea-sized globs is enough for the whole face, neck, and upper chest areas). It is common and normal at the beginning to experience some skin irritation, redness, and peeling. Many people get scared and discouraged at this point, and discontinue using it. These initial effects are not allergic reactions. Retinol speeds up the production of new skin cells, which are stronger in collagen and less prone to excessive pigmentation. As they are being formed, old and dead cells are being rejected and sloughed off. Reducing the application of Retinol to every second or even third night usually helps, as does increasing moisturizer use. These side effects typically resolve within 1-2 months, leaving beautiful skin. However, if for whatever reason the Retinol treatment is stopped for several weeks and then resumed, this initial “adjustment” process will repeat. Retinol has been widely used in people who prone to oily skin and acne. The best time to start it is in one’s late 20’s and early 30’s for a preventative anti-aging effect. Use to counteract acne, however, can be indicated for an earlier age.
Antioxidants are a wide group of products that are known to reduce damaging effects of free radicals that are being formed in the body due to improper diet, excessive weight, environmental hazards, weak immune system and certain medical conditions. Active C cream is my personal favorite to fight free radicals in the skin. Phloretin serum is another popular one. Consuming foods that have large antioxidant content helps with your general health as well as healthy skin: blueberry, Acai, tea (especially green, but also black), fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous (those of the brassica family, including broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, and cabbage).
Does it sound complicated? Not really. I developed a “Skin Care Prescription” for an individual person to remember when and what to use based on the skin type. It only takes few minutes in the morning and at night, perhaps less time than brushing the teeth and flossing. Incorporating it into your routine is important. Only doing this routinely will make a difference in the long run.
Medical Grade Skin Care products differ from the ones in the department stores by larger percentage of the ingredients, by not having an allergens and irritants, by being tested for efficacy and side effects, and therefore capable of bringing better results. La Roche Posay and SkinCeuticals are the main companies with which I have extensive experience and use for my practice.