By: Marlene Affeld ~
Face it! We are all getting older! However, it beats the alternative! Unfortunately, as we age, we all have to deal with confidence sabotaging fine lines, a bit of sagging, dark circles under our eyes, perhaps an unsightly frown line between our eyebrows, skin tags, age spots, or uneven skin tone.
We struggle to accept ourselves, as we are, fat, faults, flaws, and wrinkles. However, research studies validate that almost any woman that takes pride in her appearance, admits to at least one thing about her face she would like to change or improve.
Some women attempt to wear with pride their laugh lines and “crow’s feet”, viewing them as a badge of honor. We tell ourselves we have earned them; we deserve them. Others of us do not want to even contemplate plastic surgery, finding it unacceptable to try to reconcile our fears of an invasive surgical procedure or mistrust of unnatural treatments with the potential cosmetic benefits.
When it comes to skincare, minimalist always think less is more. Maximalists seek out every possible “miracle in the book”, yet many women, who do their best to embrace a middle-of-the road “natural” lifestyle, wonder if there is a place for cosmetic procedures in their anti-aging arsenal and question if vanity and a holistic lifestyle are compatible.
The answer is a resounding yes! You can correct what ages you. Lines, wrinkles, acne scars and sun damage have met their match. A mind-boggling array of prescriptive serums, sound-wave treatments, peels, and laser light procedures are available to heal, restore and rejuvenate tired, dull, dry, and prematurely aging facial skin. Today, innovative advances in skincare technology and the availability of minimally invasive aesthetic procedures make is easier than ever to “laugh at age and to keep our face looking as good as we feel.”
It is imperative to protect the skin from damaging UV rays and pollution with the right non-comedogenic sunscreen. More than 80 percent of the signs of aging are UV related. Free radicals produced from exposure to the sun, as well as dirty, smog-filled air, injure every skin type. They encourage oil production and trigger breakouts while accelerating the breakdown of the collagen that provides skin firmness and plumpness.
Many over-the-counter sunscreens contain oils, preservatives and a host of noxious chemicals that can actually do more harm than good; fostering irritation, infection and allergic reactions. Most OTC sunscreens contain carrier oils that can clog pores and promote pimples.
Most skincare professionals suggest a light layer of oil-free 50 SPF or greater, dependent on skin tone. Your dermatologist can prescribe a moisturizing, sun-blocking cream formulated for your unique skin type and aging issues.
Your doctor may elect to strengthen your skin with especially formulated concentrated prescription face serums containing essential lipids not available in over-the-counter preparations or prescribe an anti-aging acne fighter, tretinoin (a form of Vitamin A) to accelerate skin-cell turnover, prevent clogged pores and to help the skin slough-off old, dead cells clinging to the skin’s surface. For optimum results, wait a few minutes before applying a moisturizer, as hydrating ingredients tend to dilute the potency of tretinoin.
Peptides, Vitamin A, and antioxidants are recommended by many MDs as the anti-aging ingredients with the most impressive track records for boosting collagen production. Typically these ingredients are layered on top of tretinoin or retinol applications or used on alternating nights. In the morning, MDs suggest applying a protective sunscreen followed by a hydrating primer to fill in flaws and fine lines and help make-up glide on easily. Many MDs suggest a hydrating mask with hyaluronic acid applied weekly to help skin absorb and hold moisture.
Shed Dead Skin Cells
If your skincare professional suggests extra exfoliation to help shed dead skin cells and encourage collagen production, it is best to steer clear of salicylic or glycolic acid. They can be too harsh for aging or acne-prone skin. Instead, opt for either enzymes or lactic acid, which are less aggressive exfoliators, yet accomplish the same goal.
Similar to a mini workout for your face, a micro current facial at your favorite spa or available at the dermatologist’s office, uses pain-free electrical circuits to contract and swell muscles temporarily, to provide short term tightening to cheeks and jowls. As a bonus, recent medical studies indicate that micro-currents speed wound healing, which may offer a diverse array of anti-aging benefits over the long term.
Made from hyaluronic acid, wrinkle fillers such as Juvederm, offer a temporary reduction in the appearance of aging by providing a softness and reduction in depth in skin wrinkles. For women that want only “natural” treatments, advances in medical research offer the use of live cells or fat or tissue taken from our own body to shore up sags and fill out wrinkles.
A simple procedure, offered by dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons, is one of the most effective weapons in the anti-aging arsenal. Done in the doctor’s office, the radio-frequency treatment delivers heat deep into skin, pushing collagen producers known as fibroblasts into overdrive. One treatment is all that is needed to provide impressive results, which can last for two years or more.
Muscle-inhibiting neurotoxins such as Dysport and Botox are in-office treatments that take less time than a coffee break. The bonus, they are not permanent, typically lasting months, rather than years. If you are not happy with the results, there is no need to continue the treatments.
Laser treatments can even out skin tone, remove fine lines, age spots, and spider veins. There are a diverse array of types of lasers and laser treatments; your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist can recommend what is right for you.