The Basics of Anti-Aging

So this is a skin subject that most consumers don’t really know much about, and for some reason professionals aren’t always quick to educate them.  Well, I’m going to break it down for you, because I care about your face.

I get asked a lot by twenty-somethings if they even need anti-aging.  My answer is always an enthusiastic YES!  It’s called “anti” aging for a reason, people.  If you’ve already aged, there isn’t much you can do about wrinkles and sun spots, is there?  So, what are you actually trying to achieve by using products labeled “anti-aging?”

You want to increase your cell turnover rate.  We shall call that CTR to make my life easier.  When we, as humans, are born, our cells turn over at a rate of approximately fourteen days.  As we get older, this obviously slows down.  To have great skin that ages more slowly, you want your skin cells to turn over every twenty-eight days.  Unfortunately, if you don’t take care of your skin, your cells could be turning over at a rate as high as approximately forty days!  FORTY DAYS.  This, my friends, is the foundation of anti-aging.

The next big question is, how do I get my cells to turn over at a rate of twenty-eight days?  Exfoliation.  Getting the old cells off so new ones can form.  This is a product that should be discussed and chosen with your esthetician to make sure you’re getting the correct exfoliator for your age and skin condition.

Treatments for anti-aging are almost always exfoliators.  They may have different ingredients, but they all do essentially the same thing, just at a higher or more intense rate.  For instance, in your twenties, you can probably get away with a scrub exfoliator that’s light (like Daily Microfoliant), but in your thirties or forties might need to switch to a stronger chemical based exfoliator that features glycolic acid (like Complete Reform).  Again, there are a ton of options out there, so it’s best to get with an esthetician to find out what will work best for you.

Another aspect we focus on with anti-aging products is hydration.  You must keep your skin properly lubricated to keep it at its healthiest.  This is why those with oily skin types typically age better, because they are always naturally lubricating their skin.  In other words, if you’re a normal or dry skin type, you really must focus on hydration.  There are great masks on the market that you can do weekly, and you want to look for ones that are creamy and feature ingredients like Vitamin C or other antioxidants.  Intense hydrators like shea butter are also great ingredients.

And finally, stay out of the damn sun!!!!!!  Seriously.  In my professional opinion, sun spots age people more than wrinkles do.  Use sunscreen every single day.  I have seen more sun damage on the left side of people’s faces just from driving in their cars to work five days a week.  Of course, most of your sun damage is done before age 18 (up to 80%) so please, if you care about your children, slather them with SPF until they are 18 and can decide for themselves what to do.  It’s the greatest gift you can give them.  Well, other than unconditional love and a sense of self-worth and all that crap.

If you are in your forties or fifties and you’ve discovered your sun spots are coming out, get yourself a product with hydroquinone.  It’s an FDA approved ingredient for actually lightening pigment.  You can get it over the counter at up to 2% or prescribed for a product that will work much faster.  And yes, it does actually work with continued use.  (There is a difference between BRIGHTENING and LIGHTENING but that’s probably a whole separate post.)  I have personally seen clients get results with Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum but you must follow the directions to a tee.

I think that covers it!  If any esthies have anything else to add, please do so in the comments, and if you need a recommendation for an esthetician you can always ask me (of course if you’re from San Antonio or Champaign only.)


Knowing Your Skin Type Can Clear Up Your Skin

The one thing you think you know, but probably really don’t, is your skin type.  Your skin type is what you are BORN WITH, it will never, ever change, and it can be oily, normal, dry, sensitive, or combination of any of the above.  A professional skin therapist (or esthetician) can tell you what your skin type is based on the size of your pores.  That is the ONLY way to know.

I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve heard it before: “I’m so oily all of the time! I know I’m an oily skin type.  Plus, I break out all of the time!”  You couldn’t be more mistaken.  Of course, there are people who actually are oily STs, but a majority of people who have oiliness are not an oily skin type, but are experiencing specific skin conditions (which can change) based on what they are doing to their skin.  All estheticians have clients who started using things like Proactiv waaaay back in high school because they were having “acne” and decided to try it out.  It made the “acne” go away and they have used it ever since!  The problem here is that most people using Proactiv (active ingredient benzoyl peroxide) don’t NEED to be using such harsh chemicals.  In my opinion, the only people who should use benzoyl peroxide are the few people with stage IV cystic acne or used as a spot treatment for hormonal cystic zits most women experience on their chins.  Most papules and pustules can be treated with salicylic acid.  So what happens when you are really a dry skin type and you use harsh chemicals on your face?  You produce more oil.  Essentially, your oil glands freak out that you’ve just taken away all the precious oil they’ve just created, and they make more in excess.  Or you’ll dry out completely like a dried up sponge.

The point is, find out your skin type!  Then you can use products actually made for your skin and specific skin conditions.  I would suggest seeing an esthetician to get a good regimen going, but find someone you trust.  If you really don’t believe what they tell you your skin type is, get a second opinion, or a third!  If you’re nervous about getting facial treatments, I suggest getting skin typed by an esthetician at Ulta, because they will do it for you for free and can help you choose products based on your skin care goals.  They also have reasonably priced facials there, and use dermalogica, which are products I really like.

If you have any questions, don’t be scared to ask in the comments section.


© Carli Garrison and cllgarrison, 2014.