Anti-Aging Prevention Plan- The Twenties

For the twenties the key word ( or actually words)  to remember  is Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA’s.   Found naturally in  a number of  foods incuding milk, grapes and apples, the AHA’s   are a  twenty somethings best friend.  I like to see  them in cleansers, moisturizers, treatment products, eye creams, peels  and face masks.  This plan shows  how to use  them to enjoy  your youthful firm skin.

In the Morning:

* Wash your face with effective cleanser for your skin type.  If your skin tends to be dry use a moisturizing forumlation such as Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleanser with Soy.  There’s good science behind soy, indicating among other things  it  protects against sun damage– always a good thing.  If your skin tends to  be on the oily side  use an oi-free cleanser  such as  Deep Clean from  Neutrogena.  Wet your face with warm water  and rub a dab into your skin.  massage gently and rinse throughly with cool, not cold water.

* Protect your skin with an oil -free sunscreen/moisturizer such as  Oil- Free Moisture, SPF 15 ( Neutrogena). My first choice  would be a moisturizer  that also had AHA’s, but these can be hard to find. AHA’s  used to be  more popular, but now other ingredients such as green tea and vitamin C  have taken center stage  Too bad, but  you can make your own AHA skin care treatments.

Nighttime Care

* Remove eye-make-up  with oil-free  eye care cleanser such as  Almay Oil-Free Pads

* Cleanse face as you did in the morning

* Dry gently, and let  skin settle for about 30 minutes

* Apply a night treatment with a strong AHA such as Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer ( Peter Thomas Roth) or Glycolic Acid  10%Exfoliating Moisturizer (DDF). They are  both around $50 and you can find them at Sephora.  These are more expensive than my usual recommendations, but there are fewer anti-aging AHA’s on the shelves and the best  ones I  have found are more upscale.  Best  way to balance  the twety something  beauty budget?  Use an affodable cleanser like Cetaphil ($8).

*  Dot on AHA enriched eye cream to keep under eye area smooth and firm.  I recommend Healthy Skin Eye Cream with AHA ( Neutrogena)

Anti-Aging Add-Ons:

* Twice a week  add  one of these two steps to your nightly routine:

1. Instead of  your usual cleanser, use exfoliating grains  such as those from St Ives.

2. Apply a homemade  mask rich in AHA’s. Apply the mask to a clean, dry face, allow mask to dry and harden for 30 minutes, then rinse off with cool water

Mask for Normal-Oily Skin– Whip together one egg white and a tablespoon of white wine.  ( I call this  my Napa Valley Mask)

Mask for Dry Skin — Mix together  one tablespoon of applesause with an egg yolk.  ( I  never had a name for this one.  Any suggestions?)

High Tech Tools:

Cleansed and protected,  skin  in the twenties should look naturally radiant  and feel soft.  For an extra boost, one or twice a year you can  make an appointment for a glycolic peel from a dermatologist.  it is much stronger than those that you can make at home  or buy and is a wonderful option for a special day ( wedding? seeing your ex?  seeing  your ex who is now with someone else?)  Another option is micro-dermabrasion, a great choice if your skin tends  to be oily.

Anti-Aging At Any Age: Twenty-Somethings

The twenties are  a time for truely beautiful skin.  Acne should  be under control and visable signs of  aging are years away.  All your skin is asking from you  is effective cleansing and aggressive sun protection.

The challenge is not screwing  it  up.  A good cleanser will take off  the top  layer of  stale oil and dry, dead skin cells,  but will not strip  the skin of moisture or leave a sticky film.  Bar soap for normal skin or rinseable cleansers are excellent choices.   During the day use an oil freee moisturizer with at least a 15SPF ( 30 would be ideal).  At bedtime, treat the skin with an alpha hydroxy acid, one of my all time favorite  beauty ingredients.

Alpha Hydroxy acids ( AHA’s)  are found naturally in  common foods including apples, tomatoes, sugar crane, lemons, wine, and apples. In fact women have been using AHA’s as beauty aids for centuries.  Cleopatra has been reported to bathe in milk to soften  desert-dry skin.  Women in 18thC France packed their faces with  mashed up grapes to soften and purify their skin. 

AHA’s  like glycolic  acid, are a baby-step Retin A.  They encourage healthy skin growth, lighten dark patches and help the skin hold moisture.  There are even  studies that suggest  AHA’s can stimulate production of strong healthy collgen.  And it does all these things without the dryness and irritation of Retin A.  In fact AHA’s are known to  produce a characterisitc gentle glow.   As the years pass, your skin will need the shock and awe of Retin A.  In the twenties, AHA’s will deliver the goods.

In addition to daily care,  dermatologists use  glycolic acid  for a gentle yet effective peel that leaves the skin soft and radiant.  You can also buy safe and affordable gycolic home peels that  give the twenty something  skin a lovely boost.  You can even make  AHA face masks from ingredients you probably  already have in your kitchen.

Tomorrow I will provide  AHA beauty product recipes  as well as recommend products and a daily care program that makes the most of twenty-something natural youthful beauty.

Trading Up My Retin A

I’ve noticed that my skin had become very comfortable with  my .o4% Retin A Micro– maybe too comfortable.  It didn’t sting when I applied it right after washing my face, and I didn’t  see as much of the the rosy glow. After seven months of almost daily use, it  was time to graduate to a stronger version.  Dr Marmur gave  me a script for .1% Retin-A cream.  This is considerably stronger not only in concentration but in formulation as well.  It is also considerably cheaper.

Since Retin-A is now off- patent and there are generic versions, the prices  are lower, even in a US pharmacy.  A standard tube of branded Retin A is $129 at my local  Duane Reade. At my online Canadian pharmacy, I have two choices:

1.  Generic Retin A, which is labeled Tretinion,  is about $43 for about 40 grams ( about 1.5  oz) and made in Canada.

2. Branded  Retin A, is about the same  price for  a few grams  more is $45 and  made in Barbados.  The name on the tube  is not  Retin A,  but something like Epidure. Its very common  for a product made in a different country to have a comepletely different name, but I don’t love it. 

The procedure is simple.  I need to fax the prescription to the pharmacy and give them my credit card number ( they don’t take American Express).  I should have my new anti-ager within two weeks.  I  am using CanadaDrugs.com which was great to work with when I ordered Tri-luma.  However in that case  I had to mail the prescription to them and the total process took more than a month. 

The savings on my new Retin A prescription are impressive.  Retin A Micro is about $300/tube.  Generic Retin A from Canada is about $43– more than 70% cheaper.  This is less than some  anti-aging  treatment products on drug store shelves!  I’m a little nervous both about using generic forms and using products made outside the US.  I would love to hear about others experience with generic Retin A.  Are these generics  less effective?  More irritating? 

If   I can  get these Retin A savings, I will still have enough  leftover for an end of the summer micro-dermabrasion.

Anti-Aging skin Care: The Teenage Years

There is a gorgeous  buffet of choices  for acne care including gels, pills, antibiotics, lights, retinoids,  lasers, hormones, peels and wipes.  There is even an i phone app that offers an acne-fighting light that has good science behind it!  This plan looks at  a way to integrate standard acne fighters with anti-aging protection. 

In the Morning:

* Wash face with oil -free cleanser such as Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser ( Neutrogena, $7.99) and Clean and Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser ( Johnson and Johnson, $6.99).   Wet your face and rub a dab into your face.  Massage  gently and rinse thoughly with warm water.

* Apply a treatment  product  that contains acne fighters such as benzoyl peroxide which deals acne causing bacteria in  the pores or salicylic acid which dries up blackheads and small blemishes. 

* Top with oil-free moisturizer/ sunscreen such as Oil-Free Moisture, SPF 15 ( Neutrogena, $10.99)

Nighttime Care

* Wash your face with oil-free cleanser ( see  selections for daytime)

* Wait for 30 minutes before applying a  heavy duty treatment product such as an antibiotic gel  like Clindamycin( prescription only)  or a Retin A formulation for acne  such as Tazorac.  Start using them three times a week to allow your skin to get used  to them and work  up to every night. 

Once a week  use a home glycolic peel.  My current favorite is Exfoliating Glyco Peel System   from Patricia WexlerMD ( $60).  Glycolic acid  is awesome!  It takes off the top dead layer of skin cells that encourages healthy skin growth.  It is a valuable acne fighter as well as a great anti-aging tool.  In fact, for twenty somethings, glycolic acid  becomes   the first line anti-aging  tool.

Anti- Aging: The Teenage Years

Teenagers are still growing, so active aging is just not happening.  But changes during these years can affect how the skin  behaves in the years ahead.  Teenage skin is  inherently firm and healthy and its a shame that it can be plagued by excess oil and break-outs.

For beautiful skin in the teenage  years there are  are two key words to remember– oil and free.  To avoid enlarged pores and scarring that can become a permanent part of the beauty  landscape, select oil-free products.  This means oil free soaps and cleaners, oil- free moisturizers and acne fighters, and  perhaps most importantly, oil-free sunscreens.

Excess sun exposure before age 20  can led to premature aging.  For example, dermatologists in Arizona and Texas report seeing  crows feet around the eyes in girls as young as 15– the result of squinting in constant bright sunlight.  Best protection?  Just wear shades– the bigger the better.  Oversize sunglasses will protect your whole eye area, but even little granny shades will prevent squinting.  Early unprotected sun exposure also causes freckles, broken  blood vessels and even saggy breasts and knees.  Who knew?

Interestingly  several  anti-aging  strategies are also helpful for teenage skin.  Retin A, the foundation of  skin rejuventation, is a turbo-powered treatment for oily/acne troubled skin.  It shuts down oil gands  to stop breakouts at the  source.  I have  often wondered if using Retin A  for teenage acne will prevent skin aging.  Wouldn’t that be an interesting study?

Teenage skin also benefits from monthly glycolic peels– another  well established  anti-aging tool.  These peels will  clean -out clogged pores and encourage  healthy skin growth.   They are available from dermatologists as well as in milder yet still effective home versions.

Tomorrow:  How these guidelines translate to daily anti-aging skin care during the teenage years.

Anti-Aging at Every Age

Recently I posted a comment about youthful anti-againg strategies on The Beauty Brains, a great truthful blog  that deals with beauty myths and misconseptions.  When I started  the  No-Nonsense Beauty Blog I thought that my experiences would be interesting to women over forty who were not liking what they saw in the mirror.  Over the past few months I was  surprised at the volume of emails and comments I’ve received  from teens and twenty-somethings who, like the writer  on Beauty Brains, wanted to know what they can do to prevent aging.   

Thinking about the best  approach to early anti-aging intervention, I realized that every decade offered new challenges and opportunities.  For the next  few weeks, Fridays and Saturdays will focus on anti-aging at every stage of life.  For example, teen bodies  are still growing, so real aging  is just not happening.  My biggest concern for high schoolers is the use of overly-rich products that will provoke acne  breakouts.  This is especially true of sunscreens and a top reason why teens avoid sunblocks.   That’s a real problem since youthful  sun damage  drives adult skin discoloation, enlarged pores and skin cancer.

This mini- series will look at what changes each decade brings, describe  an age -appropriate  no-nonsense skin care routine  and what special techniques ( ie  lasers, peels and fillers) work best at every age.  Tomorrow I will look at the three top age-blockers for teens and recommend key products and procedures. To help me get this right, I would love to hear from you

Soy + Sunscreen = Pretty

Apparently there is no end to the versatility of soy.  Low in calories, sodium, and cholesterol, high in protein and anti-oxidants, now I learn that soy appears  to have a role in anti-aging skin care.   There are good studies  published in top tier  journals that show enriched soy- enriched  skin creams prevents UV damage, preserves  elastin fibers and lightens dark patches.   So far I have found soy in several sunscreens  which is certainly a logical place for them to be.  Soy-enriched products include Aveeno  Continuous Protection Sunblock Face SPF30 ( which also has antioxidants vitamins A, c, and E) and Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF100+.  Neutrogena Age Shield and Repair SPF 55 also contains soy.  In fact the wonderful  skin and make-up site 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic also recommended this product, so I know I am on the right track.   

Given all that soy can do I am looking for  soy-rich moisturizers and night creams.  Does anyone have a recommendation?

Should I Use A Moisturizer with My Sunscreen?

Question and answer about beautyI’ve received quite  a few emails  asking what moisturizer I use  with  my sunscreen.  Actually I don’t.  I’m not a big  fan of layering products on my skin.   Its hard enough  for bare skin to absorb ingredients in a single  product.  I can’t  help but think  that adding a separate moisturizer interferes  with absobption  of sun protection chemicals.  And thats  what they have to do to be effective.  Rather than sit on  your face  like a ski mask, most  sunblocks   work within the skin to deal with UV rays.

If you have dry skin or if you are using Retin A and you feel   as if  your skin is thirsty using  just a sunblock, I have two suggestions:

1.  Rather  than using a traditional sunscreen, use a moisturizer than also has an SPF of at least 30.  In fact  my go-to product  is exactly that– Aveeno Ultra- Calming Moisturizer ( SPF30).  This is what I successfully used  during the winter  in  my first  months on Retin A.

2.  Use a “rich”  sunscreen.  Many sunscreens are pleased to describe themselves as ‘oil-free’, ‘dry- touch’, or ‘non-greasy’.  This means they  won’t clog  pores, provoke breakouts or leave the skin with a shiny  surface –  all very good things.  But if  your sunscreen drags on your face  when its applied,  or your face face feels tighter after you  put it on, look for products that boast of their richness and/or avoid those with oil free type claims.  Dry sensitive skin definately needs this type of richer formulation.

Changing to a single product which works both as a moisturizer  AND sun block to both save  money and avoid the drawbacks of  layering.  If you have acne prone or sensitive skin I would  select a physical sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium oxide rather than a chemical sunscreen with ingredients like oxybenzone.  Chemical sunscreens   offer broad spectrum protection  but can be inflammatory for sensitive skin types.

Send  in your questions to deb@nononsensebeautyblog.com.  If I  don’t have the  answer I will find an expert that does.