Infusing Skin with Moisture
Nothing increases facial lines and wrinkles like dehydrated skin. All the anti-aging actives in the world, even those mentioned in my previous post, do not have as immediate and dramatic effect on the look of skin as well-hydrated skin has. Skin becomes less moist as we get older. In order to keep skin healthy and maintain dewy youthfulness, we must correct this dryness.
When I first started using Retin-A every night, my skin became incredibly dry – it pealed constantly – which was great for uncovering new skin cells, but not so good to look at. I tried several moisturizers and oils to counteract the dryness, but they did not really help. Stopping using the Retin-A was not an option because the known anti-aging benefits are too compelling, so I had to determine a better method of moisturizing. After trial and error and research, I found the solution to keeping my skin always well hydrated: Applying moisturizers in layers.
To hydrate skin after cleansing or after applying Retin-A at night, I apply a hyaluronic acid (HA) – based serum. HA is a humectant megastar ingredient that carries 1000 times its weight in water into your skin. I then apply a moisturizing cream that has an occlusor as a primary ingredient. An occlusor is an oil, butter or wax that stays on the surface of your skin and locks in the moisture from the humectant. Examples are dimethicone, mineral oil, shea butter and beeswax – just to name a few.
It is very important to use the occlusor after and on top of the HA especially in dry air – your heated home, or in arid climates.
Without the occlusor, water molecules will be pulled out of your skin and released into drier air – very bad for your skin’s health and appearance. If your climate is humid and moist, this step becomes less urgent.
Here is my routine when I am staying in very dry air for a period of time: I apply my HA serum, then mist my face with water and apply the occlusive moisturizer immediately on top.
This is also an excellent moisture boost for anytime you’d like your skin to have an infusion of water. There really is no substitute for well-hydrated skin. These extra steps I describe here are well worth it for glowing healthy skin.
THE LIST OF ACTIVE ANTI-AGING INGREDIENTS
Knowledge is power. Below is THE list of active ingredients to look for in anti-aging skin care products. Each of these have clinical and/or scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness. I personally use each and every one of these – staggered strategically throughout the day and throughout the week.
Retin A or Renova (or over the counter Retinol if can’t get Retin A – which is available in the US only by prescription) – a powerful anti-oxidant. It causes more rapid turnover of new and fresh skin cells so that skin is continuously renewed more rapidly than it would without the treatment. By far the most potent topical anti-aging treatment available.
Matrixyl 3000 – a combination of peptides that reduce facial muscle contraction that causes wrinkle formation (similar to, but milder than botox), but also can nearly double the amount of the protein collagen in our skin, which is necessary to give skin elasticity
Ubiquinone – a powerful anti-oxidant, naturally produced in the body, but decreases significantly as we age. It reduces lines and wrinkles and educes a reduction of roughness and dryness.
Vitamin C – an anti-aging superstar. It is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage – free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. It also has been proven to reverse DNA damage. Furthermore, when used in combination with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, in specific measure, there is a multiple boost of the effects of Vitamin C. These pure natural low molecular weight antioxidants provide meaningful synergistic protection against oxidative stress (base damage to cells) in skin and is useful for protection against photoaging and skin cancer.
Glycolic Acid – An Alpha Hydroxy Acid with the smallest molecule and therefore the greatest skin penetration, glycolic acid deeply exfoliates to remove skin that is dry, coarse, or dead, revealing fresh new skin. It also promotes the production of collagen for firmer, more youthful skin.
Niacinamide – a vitamin that, when applied topically, has been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
This is not an exhaustive list of anti-aging instruments, but these actually do have reparative properties – turning back the clock so to speak. Many of these also double as having protective powers. In a further posts, over the next few days, I will be going into more detail, as well as presenting other anti-aging agents and why they are helpful in creating a more youthful appearance.