Question & Answer– Beauty at Any Age

Question:  What is the best  moisturizer to use on  my skin?

Answer:  I get this question frequently– and I have trouble answering it. There is no single moisturizer or product that will work  for everyone.  Over  the span of our lives, our skin changes and  we need different moisturizers to meet  new challenges. 

In the twenties,  the skin is  fairly rich in oil, so water-based moisturizers  like Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin  and Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 15   are just what this  youthful skin needs.  In the thirties, the skin  can be   so normal  it is boring  and you just don’t want to mess it up.  A light moisturizer with glycolic acid like NeoStrata Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream SPF15 ( a Dr Oz favorite)  will preserve the natural  radiance without clogging pores.   In the  forties  you want to use a moisturizer with Vitamin C  or retinoids such as CE Ferulic or Retino l1.o  both from Skinceuticals.    These ingredients will encourage    youthful skin  growth to  improve skin tone.    And after  age 50  you will need a richer moisturizer that contains  ceramides and hyaluronic acid.  These will counteract  natural dryness as well as the loss of  moisture from  the use of  lasers, Retin A  and  chemical peels.  Good examples of  moisturizers for 50 plus  skin  include CereVe pm ( at night) and CerVe Am which also has sunscreen ( daytime).

I love tracking down answers to  the questions I get at this blog.  To provide  the most accurate and up to date info, please mention your age  with  your querries.  There are so  many factors that affect treatment choices, but it all starts  with  your age.  And its doesn’t have to be precise.  Just the general decade, eg  twenties, over 50,  will be perfect.

Anti-Aging Skin Care- The Fabulous Fourteen

When I started exploring anti-aging options a few months go, I had  just three go-to products.  It wasn’t that I didn’t care — I just didn’t know what my skin  truely needed. Too many times  I would be vulnerable  to  great sales pitch and find that the expensive “miracle cream”  either did nothing or  made my face break-out.  Now that I am testing out wrinkling fighting tools and techniques, I had to try out  an endless buffet of skin care products.  Trial and lots of error  has resulted in a group of cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreens that deliever on their  promises.  I call them my “Fabulous Fourteen” and today I have uploaded that list in the blog tab ” Beauty Tool Kit”.  I explain  how to use  them, how they  work and  how much they cost.  I have only one face and can’t try out everything, so I would love to hear about your go-to products.

A Reality-Based Sunscreen

I am still uneasy over the disconnect between sunscreen recommendations  and what  can actually fit on a human face.  So when I caught a review of  Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF70 on 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic, I was intrigued.  This products hits all the marks– it is waterproof, oil-free, PABA free, broad spectrum and contains Helioplex, an ingredient that helps sunscreens do their job.  But what  put Ultra Light Face Shield on my radar?  The instructions said to use only a few drops on the plam of  the hand and spread on the face.  Drops!  Not the  large clumps  that are suggested for most other products. 

This sunscreen goes on smoothly and is absorbed quickly.  As  an extra bonus, it does not leave that  dreaded white sheen on my face.  It is however about twice the price of other Neutrogena sunblocks.  I am going to test it out today with my UV wristbands to see  how it compares with my regular product. Neutrogena  Ultra Sheer Liquid might just become my new go to daily sunscreen.

For  extensive and thoughtful sunscreen product reviews click on Savvy Skin on my blog roll.   Written by a  beauty blogger who works in  spa and lives in Las Vegas, she brings unique sun sense credentials to the topic.  She  discusses both the pros and cons of each product to help you make decide if  it would work  for  for you.

Retin A in the Winter

I’ve been using Retin A for almost a week and its been fairly easy.  But when the weather turned cold and windy, my cheeks got a bit red and my chin looked flaky.  It looked so minor, but  knowing  the potential for real irritation, I decided to take it seriously.  I decided to skip Retin A  that night and drenched my skin with Aveeno Soothing Moisturizer.  By morning the skin  was calm and soft. 

For me, the take away is that when using Retin A, you have to be flexible and think ahead.  I need to keep using Retin A  regularly to get the maximum beauty benefits– and this means changing routinue at the first sign of the irritation and dryness.

Close-up: Alpha Hydroxy Acids ( AHA)

Alpha Hydroxy Acids ( AHA), which are also called fruit acids, are naturally found in a wide range of foods including grapes ( tataric acid), apples (malic) , buttermilk (lactic acid), sugar cane (glycolic acid) and tomatoes (lactic acid).  Women throughout history have recognized the beauty potential of AHA.  Cleopatra is reported  to  have bathed in  sour milk to soften her desert-dried skin.  In the court of Louis XIV, woman made  facemasks of wine  to clarify their complexions.

Today you can find AHA in cleansers, body lotions, moisturizers,  face masks, and eye creams.  There’s a lot of great  research done on AHA  to back up beauty claims.  AHA’s can improve skin tone and texture, fade dark patches and  even stimulate growth of new  collagen and elastin.   AHA’s are sort of Retin A  light.    They work beautifully for younger skin ( under age 40).   I liked AHA so much I wrote a book about  it ( see photo) Its out of print now, but I’m looking to download  some chapters  if I can figure out how to do it. 

The best way to use AHA is in a   moisturizer or body lotion. ( A cleanser is on the skin too short a time to have an impact)  Look for a product that has between 5-10% AHA.  If a product doesn’t  give  the AHA percentage, check out where an AHA appears on the list of ingredients.  It should be among the first  five-seven ingredients to insure that the product  is going  to deliver  maximum beauty benefits.  Like Retin A, AHA makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, so you need a daytime moisturizer  with a 30 SPF. Its hard  to find to find a AHA mositurizer with a sunscreen- the two dont usually get along  in the same formulation. I found two AHA/sunscreen combo’s– Neutrogena Healthy Skin Skin Lotion SPF 15 ($12.99) and Skin Effects Glycolic Day Cream SPF30.  I don’t like to recommend products without trying them first, but I’m using Retin A and the combination with AHA can be very irritating.  I will try these products on my  winter-dry hands and legs.  I’ll take a before photo of my right hand and leg , use the products for two weeks and then take another set of photos.  The left hand and leg will act as controls.  Lets see if these AHA - rich products really got  game.    

Next time:  A Date with a Dermatologist