Hi Dr. Bailey,
I am 50 years old and currently using your Anti-Oxidant Kit without Glycolic Acid along with tretinoin 0.5% at night. I really like it very much. I recently introduced the Professional Cell Repair Serum. I am finding this to be somewhat drying and I’m wondering if this is a normal reaction to this product? Also, I’ve started out by using it every other day. Will I still reap the benefits by using it this way or is everyday the way to go?
Another question I have is about the Buf-Puf. Can this be used every day? I am using the Replenix Scrub twice a week which is quite the work horse! I have somewhat sensitive skin so I have to be careful not to overdo.
I love your site and your blog! The information has been incredibly helpful.
This is a great practical question. You’re using the best and most powerful anti aging skin care products made. The dryness you describe sounds like what I see when these products push up against the limits of what a person’s skin can currently handle. By taking little breaks in how often these products are applied, the skin can gently adjust. When the skin is ready, it will probably be able to handle more regular use.
Occasional dryness and irritation happens to almost everyone using strong anti aging products. That’s because both vitamin C and glycolic acid have an acid ph which means they’re sort of like lemon juice. Add to this the fact that tretinoin (Retin A and Renova) and glycolic acid both powerfully exfoliate dead skin cells to uncover the underlying soft new cells and you can see why an acid ph can occasionally cause chapping and dryness.
Here’s what I tell my patients who are experiencing dryness or irritation from their professional anti aging skin care products:
- If the dryness occurred after adding a new product, or increasing the strength of a product they’ve been using successfully, then stop just that one product until the skin goes back to normal. This may be a few days or as long as a week or two. When the skin is ready, resume using the product just once or twice a week. Slowly increase to everyday use as the skin adjusts. If the skin again becomes dry and chapped then take another break until the skin settles down, then restart. The trick is to find that application frequency and product strength for your particular skin.
- When a person’s skin is really chapped, sunburned or broken out with a rash for any reason, they need to entirely stop most of their anti aging products until the skin has entirely returned to normal. In this case, I recommend washing with a gentle cleanser like Calming Zinc Bar Soap or Toleriane Cleanser applying Replenix CF Cream, a gentle moisturizer like Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal Skin (without glycolic acid) and sunscreen during the day. When their skin is totally back to normal they can very slowly resume their other anti aging products-as tolerated. It’s important not to apply vitamin C, tretinoin or glycolic acid to irritated skin because it makes the irritation worse.
Your second question about whether you’ll benefit from vitamin C if you don’t use it everyday is a question many people ask me. Interestingly, vitamin C anti aging products like Professional Cell Repair Serum don’t need to be used every day because tests have shown that 50% of the high skin concentrations obtained from applying professional vitamin C products are still present in the skin after 4 days. I tell my patients to apply Professional Cell Repair Serum at least three times a week, and especially when they’ll be in the sun; vitamin C is a great second defense against free radical sun damage- and we want that.
Your last question is about the additive benefits (or problems) from multiple exfoliation products. Yes, you can overdo it. You have to figure where that perfect amount of exfoliation is for your skin. Exfoliated skin is soft and luminous, but it’s more sensitive and requires special care. For most people I find that using Replenix Scrub twice a week OR gently washing with a Facial Buf Puf every day is usually just about right.
I hope this information is helpful. Thanks for sending me a great question that brings to light something many people experience with professional anti aging skin care products.
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist
Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.