Often I am asked if skin care products “actually work” or if they are a waste of money. I will be honest with you, there are some fantastic products out there that can provide fantastic results that are great for your skin but alongside them is a lot of overpriced products that do absolutely nothing for you.
I view skin care programs like a pyramid in the sense that you must establish the base or the rest is pointless. And here the secret is that for most people the base is all you need.
(Note: if you have adolescent or adult cystic acne or rosacea that is another topic which I will delve into at a later date….it is completely treatable and no one should suffer with cystic acne in the 21st century so if you are come see me ASAP and get rid of it)
Here are the 3 things everyone must have:
#1) Sunblock- If you have no choice, sunscreen is better than nothing but a proper mineral sunblock is essential. Sunblock on the face, neck and hands is crucial. This could save your life from melanoma. From a cosmetic point of view, the sun even though it is essential for healthy skin it does cause the skin to age and the more sun the more aged the skin looks.
UV light breaks down collagen which causes thin skin, deeper lines and loss of skin elasticity. Excessive sun also produces brown spots and very uneven skin tone. It can also exacerbate melasma which is another topic I will cover in more detail at a later date. Please be aware that melasma (a hormonal pigmentation) is often heat sensitive as well and sunscreens change UV light to heat, whereas a sunblock simply reflects UV light saving the skin from excessive heat.
Bottom line: Sunblock can save your skin (and your life). Use it everyday, even in winter.
#2) Retinoids – A close second to sunscreen but using retinoids religiously without suncreen is like working out like a manic and eating only fast food. Its pointless.
Retinoids are chemicals that can transform your skin. They will shrink your pores, reduce brown spots, increase collagen production, and brighten your skin.
Look at a 5 year olds’ face and then look at your face, the differences are sun-damage, collagen loss, subcutaneous fatloss and the thickness layer of dead skin cells.
Retinods start by sloughing dead skin cells which improves pore size, removes excessive oil and smooths the surface. Under the surface retinoids reduce the activity of collagenase. This enzyme is activated by sunlight and breaks down collagen. Even better, retinoids promote new collagen formation.
Retinoids are very powerful and therefore need to be viewed as a powerful medication. If overused the skin gets bright red and inflamed like a sunburn. If underused little to no results are seen. This medication requires a bit of adjustment on the part of the physician and the user. The goal is to find the sweet spot where the skin has gone through some flaking and peeling at a slow gentle pace and once achieved the skin glows beautifully.
My advice is start low, go slow and gradually increase the frequency of use and the the potency of product.
#3)Moisturizer- We are located in Edmonton and it is cold and dry, which are two things the skin hates the most. Most of what I see in Edmonton is skin that is dehydrated and producing excessive oil (the shiny forehead in your office florescent lights).
The wrong type of moisturizer results in clogged pores and acne so it really is a matter of trial and error, but some help from a qualified medical skin care expert makes this much easier.
Hydrated skin looks plump, smooth,”glowing” (not shiny) and healthy. On a off note ensuring you are getting 8-10 glasses of water per day is also essential.
Some great moisturizers we have on our shelves are :
In closing, the base we all need for great skin includes keeping the skin properly hydrated, protected from the sun with sunblock, and renewing/refreshing the surface with a retinoid.
All topical skin care products take some time to really show their worth but I promise you if apply these these principles the results in 6 weeks are dramatic.
Come and see us for a free, no pressure skin consultation and we can help you look you best!!