THE FABULOUS FOURTEEN
Skin care products are definitely not a one size fits all situation. Differences in age, skin types, problems, even the weather can affect product choices. Because I am exploring anti-aging skin care options, I have three specific issues:
1. Retin A, Tri-luma and lasers make my skin hyper-sensitive, dry and super sensitive to sun exposure.
2. I don’t like fragrance in beauty products
3. Since I’m interested in pricey prescription skin treatments and office procedures, I’m always looking for affordable and effective daily products.
Given these three factors here are my Fabulous Fifteen–
* Eye Make-up Remover– Almay Oil-Free Make-up Remover ( $7.99/120 pads)
On the jar, Almay states that this is the #1 eye makeup remover. I don’t know who made this judgement, but it is certainly an excellent product. It took off my mascara easily and was totally non-irritating. Even better, it didn’t leave a blurry film on my eyes that had happened with much more expensive eye makeup removers.
* Daily Cleanser– Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($9/8oz)
Given that Retin A can be so irritating, I need a very gentle cleanser. This means no scrubbing grains, no alpha hydroxy acids, and no retinols. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser has been around for decades and is still a top recommendation from dermatologists. Unfailingly gentle, it effortlessly cleans even the most sensitive skin.
* Retin A- I started my anti-aging journey with extremely gentle .04%Retin A Micro ($300). Its pricy at the pharmacy and not much more affordable from online Canadian pharmacies. But it really did the job and I think its worth using. Now I’ve moved up to .1% generic Retin A which is a much nicer at $40/tube.
Tri-luma – This prescription-only product contains, Retin A, a steroid ( to calm things down), and hydroquinone (a known skin lightener). Tri-luma is also pricyand I paid about $200 from an online Canadian pharmacy.
* Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF30 ( $22/2.5oz)– This light, easily absorbed moisturizer contains feverfew, an herb known for its soothing properties. I use this moisturizer as my sunscreen. Since the skin needs to absorb the sunscreen, I don’t want to use a separate product that could block the sunscreen’s access to the skin.
* CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ( $15/3oz)- This light yet rich lotion is loaded with hyaluronic acid ( a natural moisturizer), ceramides ( the glue that hold skin cells together) and niacinamide ( an amino acid that builds collagen and breaks down melanin). After I put on the Retin A at night, I put on this moisturizer to avoid flaking and dryness associated with retinoids.
* Revlon Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer SPF25( $12/.4oz)– Regular sunscreens can be too irritating for the delicate area around and under eyes. Not only does this product protect against sun damage, it really hides dark circles. I love this product and carry an extra tube in my purse for touch-ups.
* Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF100+ ($12/3oz)– Lightweight and waterproof, I use this sunscreen on my hands, chest and legs. Heavier than the sunscreen that I use on my face , this product contains soy which is an effective anti-oxident
*Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin, SPF 30 ( $11/8oz)– On the days I am having an office procedure ( eg IPL) I need a sunscreen that gets its power from zinc or titanium oxide. Normally I do fine with traditional sunscreens, but lasers make skin hypersensitive– and physical sunscreens are a better choice. I continue using this sunscreen for a week after a procedure.
* Aquaphor ( $8/2oz– Another frequent recommendation from dermatologists, Aquaphor is a very soothing petroleum and panthenol formula that relieves the post laser burning sensation. I use it for about 48 hours after a procedure.
1. Exfoliating Glyco Peel System from Patricia Wexler, MD( $65/30 peels)
This is a great home exfoliator set. It consists of two steps– Jar 1 holds 30 little pads saturated with 10% glycolic acid( a type of AHA made from sugar cane). You swipe the pad over the face and leave it on for two minutes. Then from Jar 2 you take another pad that is saturated with a neutralizerer and apply it to the face. This is meant to be left on, not rinsed off. You will see an immediate improvement in your skin. The surface looks smoother and fresher. Is the kind of improvement that you can see with an hour long facial that sets you back $100. This set holds 30 treatments and sells for $65 at Bath and Body Works. This works out to be about $2/treatment. Incredible! It can be used by all types of skin. Although I am using Retin A every night, I am able to use this peel once a week without any additional irritation.
2. DDF Revolve 400X Micro-Polishing System ($95)– To keep my skin from becoming bored, I alternate the glycolic peel pads with home microdermabrasion. It takes only a minute and my skin has a nce glow. Its also one of the few things that make a difference in my neck.
3. Dermablend Professional Smooth Indulgence Redness Concealer( $22)
I had a little white bump removed below my eye. It took less than minute but left a purplish bruise. I ws surprised when my usually very effective concealer didn’t do its job. I went on a hunt and bought three more concealers, all of which failed to conceal. Fortuneately Dr Marmur knew exactly what to do ” Use some green stuff” A few more minutes on line and I found that Dermablend made this product and was available at the Lord and Taylor in New York City.
Dermablend is a speciality make-up with a full line of products that cover birth marks, bruises and scars. At Lord and Taylor Dermablend is sold at the Elizabeth Arden counter. The staff was amazing, helping me for more than an hour until we found the right products in the right shades. The solution turned out to be a two step process. Step 1 was a pale green foundation called Professional Smooth Indulgence Rednes Concealer ( great product, but I think they should have a snappier name). The green base “killed” the reddish/ purple tones of the bruise. Step two was the application of Dermablend Quick Fix Concealer ( which also has a 30 SPF. ($22). Note that when we tried any concealer alone, you could still see a very dark shadow from the bruise.
Cosmetic procedures like line fillers (eg Restylene), Bot0x and lasers can cause redness and bruising. These items are on my anti-aging to-do list and now I have world class concealers to hide the discolorations in the future.
I bought the Fabulous Fourteen at CVS, Sephora and Bath and Body Works. They all share the same policy to refund my money if I am not satisfied with the results. It is so frustrating to spend time and money on products that cause problems and/or don’t work. We all have individual reactions to beauty aids and its important to be able to use our money to select those that give us the results we want– and refunds when they don’t.