I’ve always been a skincare aficionado, I got it from my mom who used to get monthly facials. When I was a teen she introduced me to facials and brought me to the dermatologist often to keep my skin clear. Now I get facials every other month or so. I love reading up on new products and reviews. The gold standard in skin care for beautiful skin is to use sunscreen daily, a vitamin C serum and retinol.
I wanted to share my current skin care regime that has really working for me as I’m really happy with how good my skin looks right now. My routine is a bit involved that I had to print out a daily AM/PM schedule that I keep posted in the bathroom since I don’t use everything every day. I've found that using the products below have produced the best results for me.
First a little about my skin, I used to have oily skin but now I think it’s normal and I’m in between the acne and wrinkles stages. My main focus is just brightening my skin and keeping it exfoliated. My goal is to not have to get botox until I'm in my 40s. So you ask what is the magic combination of products that will produce the best results?
Sunscreen really is the fountain of youth. UV Rays are the number one enemy when it comes to aging. Sunscreen protects against premature aging, spots, and loss of elasticity. You can use a bronzer to give you face some color if you want. The main thing is to always wear a hat at the beach and wear sunblock daily year round (which I do). Some brands of sunscreen can be loaded with nasty chemicals, so it’s important to look for a product with zinc oxide as the main ingredient and does not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. My favorite brands are:
La Roche-Posay Anthelios
If you pick just one product to use on your skin for anti-aging benefits, pick vitamin C. It aids your collagen and elastin production which fights wrinkles and ensures you have an even skin tone and texture. If you're fighting discoloration on your skin, Vitamin C will help lighten it. Not all vitamin C products are created equal, I know because I tried out a $40 product off amazon. The serum was orange, it’s supposed to be a light yellow. When it becomes oxidized by light and air it turns colors and some manufacturers hide this by adding color to it. There’s different types of Vitamin C- you want to make sure the ingredient list says L-ascorbic acid, the highest quality. Vitamin C is meant to be applied during the morning for daytime wear because of their ability to neutralize free radicals.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
Retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A. Retinol stimulates collagen production, which helps to plump up and reduce fine lines so it’s something you should start using in your 30s. It helps with cell turnover and hyperpigmentation. My mother will tell you it makes her skin glow. You can get it by prescription from your doctor (which your insurance won’t cover) or over the counter. The OTC versions are a lower strength concentration of ingredients and will take longer to see results. However with a prescription, as I have, be prepared to experience some skin sensitivity and minor peeling. You'll need to start off slow by not using it daily. My doctor said that a lot of people give up early because of the initial side effect of peeling skin and thus they don’t give the product a chance to work. You just have to build up your tolerance. A retinol should be part of your PM regimen. If you’re also using an AHA product, you should avoid using them the same evening. I used a whole bottle of Neutrogena's Rapid Repair whose commercials promise results in a week, but it did not deliver on that promise. Instead I recommend these products:
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM
Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Face Serum
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution
DERMAdoctor Picture Porefect
Nuance by Selma Hayek
For chemical exfoliation try out an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). Glycolic acid is an AHA that comes from sugar cane and will break up the debris on the skin's outer layer. I still like the old school, abrasive physical scrubs but you want to be careful with this and not over exfoliate. Don't buy a product that has plastic beads in it. A ban was put on those products last year to protect our environment. Below are my tried and true products:
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic 10%
Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum
Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion
Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub
Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub
Masks are a weekly boost to your skin care routine. It's a great pampering session if you can't make it to
Dermadoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Mask
First Aid Beauty Oatmeal Mask
Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay
Clinique Brightening Moisture Mask
Beautiful skin is also a job on the inside as well. We all know we need to drink a lot of water, but you also need to consume omega-3s and healthy fats which help moisturize your skin. On a daily basis I consume avocado, chia seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds and either olive oil or coconut oil. I take a vegetarian Omega-3 vitamin in lieu of fish oil. I also take a silica vitamin which is an essential mineral that supplies your body with nutrients by binding water in our cells. Silica helps to keeps your skin hydrated and delays the aging process and collagen formation. I got this tip from reading Christie Brinkley book. Silica also strengthens your hair and nails. I make my pesto sauces with walnuts as they are a cheaper replacement for pine nuts. I keep a bag of sunflower seeds on my kitchen counter and sprinkle a tablespoon into salads and on top of my smoothies. They are high in Vitamin E and rich in the antioxidant selenium which preserves elastin to keep skin smooth and tight. I eat red bell peppers every week because they are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. I often drink green smoothies.
Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails
If it's in your budget, you should try to get facials regularly (every month or so). Facials gets rid of dead skin cells, stimulate new ones, improve hydration, clear up blemishes, and even out your skin tone. They also improve the blood flow to your skin and are just relaxing. The result is it allows your regular products to work more effectively. I'm not a fan of basic facials that just wash you face and put a mask on you, I can do that at home. I only like facials that use some kind of equipment as follows:
Microdermabrasion - is a machine that gently sands your skin and has been effective in treating mild acne scars, enhancing collagen and elastin production, and improving blood circulation. You need a series of these to see results. If you're brave, you can buy your own device and do it at home.
Hydrafacials - Similar to microdermabrasion, it exfoliates but at the same time pumps nutrients such as Antioxidants, Peptides and Hyaluronic acid back into the skin. It reduces fine lines and makes your skin look radiant. It is very customized as there's different percentages of the chemicals and different serums to treat your specific skin issues. I always see immediate results afterward!
LED lights - You wear sunglasses and expose your face to red and blue lights. The light stimulates collagen production and tissue repair. I've seen some celebs post on instagram at home masks that they use, Neutrogena just released a model specifically for acne. In the past I used the Tanda device for my acne. It uses a blue light to destroy acne-causing bacteria while it gives a gentle vibration and gentle warming to help to open pores so bacteria is exposed to the zit-zapping light. It does eat up batteries very quickly so I used rechargeable ones. But I was shocked at how great this worked at reducing any bump under the skin I felt coming up. In 24 hours there was a visible difference.
Chemical peels - I do light peels, not the kind where your face is red and peeling for a week. The idea behind a peel is that you damage the top layer of your skin so that a fresh layer of skin appears. Jessner's solution peels are popular at my doctor's office but I stick with a Lactic Acid peel which is a light AHA peel made from sour milk. It's good for exfoliating your skin, stimulating collagen production, and treating hyperpigmentation. Speaking of which, Kojic Acid is a good option to treat hyperpigmented areas. I think lasers are starting to replace peels, but they're pretty pricey so I stick to the peels. For instance I read that movie stars ask for the Clear + Brilliant laser to be put into their contract, but my Dr. charges $500 for it. I still think a regular peel regimen can do wonders. There are some even lighter versions you can do at home:
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel
Ole Henriksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel
Facial oils have been used by women for centuries and I think are regaining momentum in popularity now. In the winter time I add a little to my forehead to nourish and replenish my skin. It's great to use under powder so your skin doesn't look as dry, but dewy. Facial oils are okay to use on oily skin as well, as it will slow down your skin's natural oil production. You should look for 100% oils with no additives. I rotate between Marula (South Africa's beauty secret), Squalane (from olives, which you'll see in tons of beauty products on the market) and Camellia (Japan's beauty secret) oils. But you can also use Argan, Jojoba, or Macadamia nut oils. Instead of buying the expenses mixes from Sephora, I buy my facial oils from etsy, it's just so much cheaper there. You just add a light dab to your skin and you'll find them fast absorbing.
I hope these tips were helpful, please let me know what has worked for you.