Many patients come to my office interested in preventing or treating skin aging. They also want to have a healthier looking skin and be able to maintain this healthy skin over time. There are some general, personal thoughts on skin care and anti-aging treatments you can incorporate into your routine. This are simple, easy to do things at home that need consistency over time to be as effective as possible.
The most important step in getting beautiful and healthy-looking skin is consistency in your skin care routine.
- Sunscreen – This is the most important daily step – after you brush your teeth you put your sunscreen on your face and neck. Ideally before your makeup, or, instead of foundation if you choose to use a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. SPF 30 or above, always. Mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide / titanium dioxide) is better than chemical for the environment and for your skin long-term. Mineral sunscreens protect you from UVB and UVA, preventing aging and skin cancer.
- Cleanser – Important step at night. A clean skin is the perfect “canvas” for receiving treatment products. Remove your makeup with makeup remover, then wash your face with a cleanser. You can alternatively use micellar water. Something gentle cleanser is nice and simple. In the morning, if you did your skin care the night before, all you need is a water rinse.
- Antioxidant-/moisturizer – Vitamin C is the most studied and known topical antioxidant to have long term improvement in the skin. It works as a light moisturizer and a depigmenting agent. Medical graded formulas are the best and most stable, and the concentration should be at least 15% concentration. Use it once or twice a day. (in the morning or at night, right after rinsing or cleaning your face). Adding a good moisturizer to the skin helps retain hydration, treat dried skin types and support a healthy skin. Some moisturizers contain growth factors which help regenerate and restore the skin at the same time as it moisturizes it.
- Cell turnover – nighttime, on clean skin. A vitamin-A product, such as retinoid (comes in different prescription strengths). This is the most efficient anti-aging skin regimen- scientifically shown to smooth fine lines, improve skin texture and pigmentation, and thicken your skin over time to give it more turgor and bounce. For sensitive skin patients, however, it can cause irritation and flaking for the first few weeks. We recommend a gradual exposure to the product to build up skin resistance slowly using it every other night for the first 2-3 weeks, then increase it to every night if tolerated. It also makes the skin photosensitive (sun burn more easily), so sunscreen is a must. The key to reaping the long-term benefits of vitamin A products is consistency, so whatever product you use, use it regularly. Retinoid becomes deactivated in the sun, and it can be irritating, so only use it at night.
- Exfoliant – Options are chemical (alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids- AHA and BHA) or physical (Ultrasonic brush, gentle scrub, polish…). It accelerates skin turnover and removes the very top layers of the skin. Do not use it too often or it can strip the natural oils from the skin, cause irritation and even acne brake outs.
- Pigment suppression – This will help brighten your skin, improve light dark spots and even melasma. Vitamin C can work well for little pigment. Stronger formulations containing 4% hydroquinone work better when there is more pigment or melasma. If a hydroquinone product is needed, we use it in cycles of 3 months on, 3 months off.
If you are interested in knowing more about skin care options for you, please come and see us for a consultation. It will be a pleasure to recommend the ideal medically graded products for your needs and for your skin type.
GABRIELE C. MIOTTO MD, MEd., is a Brazilian-American plastic surgeon specialized in aesthetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures, known for her beautiful and natural results.