We all want our skin to be fresh, glowing, wrinkle-free and beautiful, but most of us don’t treat it very well. Sun exposure, smoking, exposure to pollution, inappropriate cleansers, leaving makeup on overnight, and other things we do every day are damaging our skin.
Of course we all have the best intentions for being kind to our skin, but sometimes it can be difficult to wade through the myriad of information about what we should be doing. There are a million skin care products out there that claim to produce miracles, but if you’ve ever tried to actually read the ingredient list, it can be virtually impossible to really understand what’s in the product and how it’s supposed to be helping you!
Here are a few tips for treating your skin well:
- If you’re only going to do one thing for your skin, you should wear sunscreen every single day. If you’re leaving the house, you are going to be exposed to UV light even on a cloudy, rainy, or snowy day. This light travels through your car window directly to onto your skin, so your car doesn’t protect you from its effects. Most patients have more wrinkles on the left side of their face than the right, and this is often due to the sun that hits that side of their face while driving a car. You should wear an SPF no less than 15 on a daily basis and higher if it’s a day when you’ll actually be in the sun. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours if you’re out in the sun, as the thin layer you applied in the morning won’t protect you all day. On a day that’s mostly an indoor day, like a workday in the office, once in the morning is probably fine.
- Use a gentle cleanser designed for the face to avoid over-drying your skin and take your makeup off every night.
- Aside from sunscreen, the most valuable skin care product is retinol. This is a vitamin A derivative that has many benefits including
- boosting collagen production, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- increasing cell turnover, which makes the skin look fresher
- unclogging pores, which improves acne
- evening out skin tone
Pretty much everyone will benefit from retinol, whether you’re trying to prevent signs of aging to reduce the appearance of aging that’s already present. Just keep in mind that retinol will make your skin sun-sensitive, so sunscreen is a must (but you already know that after reading tip #1)! Retinol is found in lots of products, but the concentration and effectiveness will vary widely between over-the-counter products and medical-grade products. If your skin is sensitive to retinol, don’t give up! Start by using it once or twice a week until your skin can tolerate it more often.
- If you’re committed to using sunscreen and retinol and want to take your skin care to the next level, here are some other suggestions:
- Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) – the most common is glycolic acid. It is a great exfoliator, which helps skin look fresh, and has additional benefits including increasing cell turnover and reducing hyperpigmentation.
- Antioxidants – vitamin C is an example of this, but there are many others. These help protect the skin from environmental damage.
- Hyaluronic acid – promotes skin hydration, which decreases the appearance of fine lines
Obviously, prevention of skin aging is easier than treatment of the signs of aging, so you’re never too young to start with a good skin care plan. Even if you’re further along in the aging process, these tips can help you slow the progression of aging in your skin and reverse some of the signs that already exist. Of course, there are treatment options such as lasers and chemical peels to further treat signs of skin aging that can provide additional benefits on top of your home routine.
If you’re still overwhelmed with the options or just want to talk about the products and procedures we offer, just give us a call! We can help you put together a healthy skin routine and you’ll be glowing in no time!
If you are interested in scheduling your consultation with Dr. Peters, please call us at 708-524-1400 or fill out our contact form today.