Aging. It is a fact of life. Some grow old gracefully while others start to see time take its toll early on. The good news is that there are daily treatment protocols, which if done consistently, can help delay, reverse and repair the effects of aging. Sometimes it is not easy to incorporate a daily routine of multiple products, but in the end, it is worth it.
You did not get aging skin overnight and there is no overnight product that will reverse the signs of aging. It takes time to repair damage so be patient. There are certain key ingredients that have been scientifically proven to work... all you have to do is be diligent and give this treatment protocol time and it will work.
The first step in correcting aging skin is to cleanse morning and night with a alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). Choosing a hydroxy acid will depend on your skin type. Glycolic acid and Lactic acid (AHA) are a wonderful choice for almost any skin type. Super sensitive skin's may not tolerate this well at first, so an introductory period of 1 day a week and increasing the number of days as the weeks go on is a great way to acclimate the skin. Salicylic acid (BHA) is great for oily, acneic, congested and even sensitive skin types. The reason these acids work well for aging is because they break down the cement that binds dead skin cell together, going around the cell to penetrate into the epidermal layer. Choose a cleanser that has a low pH. The lower the pH the better absorption you will have. When the skin is at a low pH, it acts like a sponge soaking and pulling ingredients in. This is imperative for the absorption of other products, like serums, after the cleanse.
Glycolic Acid: derived from sugar cane; helps to exfoliate dull skin cells, rejuvenates, balances the skin and encourages collagen production. See a difference in lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and refined skin texture.
Lactic Acid: derived from milk; very hydrating, exfoliates, refines and clears skin and promotes the growth of new cells and collagen. See a difference in hydration, lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and refined skin texture.
Salicylic Acid: derived from willow bark (the same ingredient aspirin is made of); exfoliates, anti-inflammatory, refines skin texture, kills bacteria. Great for treating acne and inflamed skin.
The second day time step is incorporating a Vitamin C serum into your morning regimen. Vitamin C protects skin cells and skin's support structure from UV-related damage, strengthens the skin's barrier response, promotes collagen production, lessens hyperpigmentation and reduces inflammation. It is a very active ingredient so you may have to start slow, 2-3 times weekly, then build to using every day. You want to use a serum that has a low pH. The lower the pH of the skin/product, the better absorption you will receive. Make sure you use Vitamin C during the day to combat free radical damage.
Your night regimen will be a retinol. Retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A and is one ingredient that can penetrate into the cell. Dermatologists and Aestheticians use Vitamin A for many conditions including anti-aging, anti-acne, hyperpigmentation and skin refinement. Retinol is a very potent ingredient and penetrates rapidly, sometimes leading to sensitivity and solar sensitivity. You should only use Vitamin A during the night time as it is photosensitive. Again, you should allow your skin some time to acclimate to the ingredient. Start by using 2-3 times weekly, then gradually increasing to every night. If you are pregnant or nursing it is suggested that you do not use vitamin A.
Using a hyaluronic acid serum would be great to incorporate into your regimen as well. Hyaluronic acid binds a 1,000 times its weight in water. It is a humectant, so it pulls moisture from the air and deposits it into the skin. Your body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, but as your skin ages, it depletes. Dehydration, lack of water (not lack of oil), causes a multitude of problems in the skin. You can be oily and still be dehydrated. In my years as an Aesthetician, about 90% of all of my clients are dehydrated. Water intake does help, but you have to apply hydration topically in order to see a true difference in lines and wrinkles.
Finally, using a great moisturizer and a SPF UVA/UVB "broad spectrum" protection is key. A moisturizer has a large molecule and is meant to sit on top of the skin to prevent water evaporation. I strongly suggest every skin type using a moisturizer, regardless if you are oily or acneic. If you lose moisture, your skin reacts by producing more oil. So, if you are oily/acneic/combination, it will help regulate your sebum production. SPF is the most important factor of all. If you do not wear SPF of at least 15 every day on your face/neck/décolleté, you might as well not do anything to your skin at all. Sun damage contributes to 90% or more of aging. Of course, if you are out in the sun for extended periods of time, you will need a higher SPF. Try to find a SPF that has a chemical and physical block in it. Examples of a physical block are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Also, make sure you use the sunscreen as directed and reapply as necessary. Try to find a SPF that is specific to your skin type.
As you can see, if you were not born with beautiful skin, you will have to work at getting it and keeping it. Your skin is the first defense against all the elements, the largest organ in the body and the first thing people see when they look at you. It will be with you for a lifetime... treat it right!