As a dermatologist, I am obsessed with finding the absolute best products and procedures to keep my skin young and healthy looking, and especially, to prevent skin cancer. I’ve been a perfectionist about my complexion all my life. On this mission, as a teen and young adult, I tried hundreds (maybe even thousands) of products, but was often disappointed in the results. Now that I am a full-fledged medical and cosmetic dermatologist, I have finally found (and know) what works! And guess what? I’m going to spare you some of the guesswork by sharing what I have learned for a flawless complexion!
1. Zinc-containing Sunscreen
If you make an appointment at Advanced Skin Care, you will inevitably hear Dr. Bailey’s spiel about mineral zinc oxide sunscreen being THE product you need to use 365 days a year. I want you to read that again, because, believe me, this is the most important thing you can do to prevent wrinkles, unsightly brown spots and also prevent skin cancer. We preach this mantra because it’s the truth!
Sunscreens are broken up into two categories: physical blockers and chemical sunscreens.
- Physical sunscreen blockers contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These work to physically bounce UV rays off of the skin like a mirror and are the most effective sunscreens. We prefer zinc oxide as this tends to have antimicicrobial and soothing properties, is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores), and also provides broader UV spectrum protection than titanium dioxide. Of course, back in the day, zinc oxide was that unattractive white paint lifeguards would wear on their noses. Today, zinc sunscreens have a come a long way as products come in MUCH more elegant formulations, thanks to skin care science. There is a zinc SPF product for every skin type, which is one of the many reasons I love these sunscreens so much! In my case, my skin doesn’t look fully hydrated and calm until my sunscreen is applied over my other products. Zinc oxide is this powerful for me, and I never go a day without putting it on!
- Chemical sunscreen blockers are less effective sunscreen agents in that they work like a sponge to absorb UV rays and chemically degrade them. Not only is this not as effective in protecting your skin, the chemicals can also lead to a variety of negative reactions such as breakouts, rashes, excess heat and skin irritation. I don’t like them, and I don’t personally wear these products.
This is probably the second most important skin care product one should use. Retinoids are most commonly used for acne. They work to increase cell turnover so cells don’t build up and clog pores, which is the first step in forming a pimple.
But, that’s not all! We also know that retinoids boost collagen to improve the appearance of wrinkles, affect gene expression and improve discoloration such as sun spots. This is a way to combat aging that everyone should take advantage of! There are many retinol products on the market, but we swear by our Retinol Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream.
This and other retinoid-containing products are formulated with ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin to combat the irritation that many people have when starting to use these products. Keep in mind that you still may experience some mild irritation from using even the most mild of retinoids. It’s important to ease into using them and back off if you have too much flaking and irritation.
For those who can tolerate higher strength retinoids, ask our dermatologists at Advanced Skin Care if a prescription strength retinoid is right for you.
Antioxidants protect our skin from damage by fighting off free radicals. They are just as important to apply to your skin as they are to eat! (Dr. Bailey explains more about why antioxidants are valuable to eat in her free e-book called Eating Your Way to Beauty and Health.) They help make your skin look brighter and more youthful, while also helping your skin cool down the irritating impact of products like the aforementioned retinoids. Here are my two favorite antioxidants:
- Vitamin C – This ingredient is one of the more important collagen boosters. We know that deficiency in vitamin C causes a disease called scurvy. In this disease, which results from a dietary deficiency of vitamin C, blood vessels and collagen are very fragile. It shows you the extreme importance of vitamin C to your skin. Even if you don’t have a dietary deficiency of vitamin C, you can boost your skin’s level of it beyond the norm by applying a professional product to your skin – and you get enhanced results! Yes, topical vitamin C helps promote collagen production, fights free radicals and contributes to protecting the skin from sun damage. We all want that, which is why I recommend using a stable professional product like Dr. Bailey’s Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Professional Treatment Serum each morning as part of your routine just like I do.
- Green Tea – Polyphenols in green tea are called catechins. These are potent antioxidants. Studies show that green tea has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Personally, my skin can’t handle using irritating retinoids without a green tea containing moisturizer. My favorites that I use every day are either Replenix CF or the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy Cream. I use Replenix when my skin needs less hydration and the Power of 3 when my skin feels more dry.
4. Broadband Light (BBL)
This procedure, which is also known as Intense Pulse Light, is an incredible way to rejuvenate the skin. I don’t know anyone who has ever been outdoors who doesn’t have some evidence of sun damage and environmental damage; blotchy redness, broken capillaries, freckles and sun spots can all be treated with BBL.
My teen lifeguarding days left me with freckles and blotchy redness that vanished with BBL. The more sun damage you have, the more treatments you will probably need. There are also scientific studies showing that younger looking skin genes are turned on by BBL, and genes that stimulate collagen production may also be activated. In other words, not only does this treatment reverse abnormal pigmentation, it also improves skin health. We see the results every day in our practice because BBL is a very popular procedure here. This treatment really is the best way to slow the clock on aging or even turn it backward! Schedule an appointment with me to let me check out your skin and help you decide if our BBL treatment series will help stop the clock on your skin aging. More often than not, my response will be a resounding, “Yes, you should do it!” I’ll customize a rejuvenating skin care routine for you too. I’m a perfectionist, and I’m determined to get your skin looking great!
What do you do to keep your skin looking beautiful or flawless? Do you have a favorite product or a DIY solution? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Dr. Hayes – Board Certified Dermatologist
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