When was the last time you stopped to take a good look in the mirror. Not to see if your hair and makeup are in place or your shoes look great with your outfit. No, I’m talking about taking a really good look at your skin. Chances are it’s not the same as it was 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, so you shouldn’t be using the same skincare products as you were back then.
I’ve noticed changes – gradual, slow changes. The texture of my skin isn’t as smooth as it was even 5 years ago. A bit of sagging, and broken capillaries seem to show up constantly. I never used to have a pore that showed on my face, now they seem so much more prominent. It can be frustrating, but the good news is that there are things you can do without having to resort to needles or other things. Don’t feel like that is your only choice, because it’s not.
After stopping one day to take a really good look at my own skin I decided the next morning to call my dermatologists office and make an appointment. I go to Uptown Dermatology and Skin Spa so I made my appointment to see Nadine, who by the way, has amazing skin. I talked with her and told her what was bothering me, discussed the products I was using and had a general skin care discussion. If you ever decide to do an appointment like this – bring a pad and pen and take notes. It’s difficult to remember all the things discussed and it’s good to be able to look back at your notes after you leave. I was pleased when she told me I had overall really good skin and I could fix the things I wanted to fix without a needle or blade.
There are countless products out there, so I wanted to know what I should be using, as we all know it can be really confusing. Here are the simple steps she suggested to me:
- Cleanse with a gentle cleanser, and using a Clarisonic with it is fabulous. I told her I only cleanse at night and she suggested I add morning cleansing to that in order for the next steps to get the best benefit. But, don’t use the Clarisonic both times – she suggested just at the evening cleanse.
- During the day, add a Vitamin C Serum. Make sure it is a stabilized L-ascorbic acid, as that is the only form of Vitamin C that will give you the results you need. These are usually in a dark glass bottle and are watery-thin consistency. The dark glass helps to retain its potency.
- For night, use a Retin A product. The prescription strengths are going to give you the best results and there are a variety of them, so be sure to ask your dermatologist for a tester to make sure you get the one that is right for you.
- Moisturize as your skin needs it, especially at night. Your doctor can help you determin what type of moisturizer you need.
- During the day use a sunscreen with SPF 30 and make sure it is one that has both UVA/UVB protection.
- Twice a week use an exfoliant.
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I wanted to know more about the Vitamin C and Retin A as I currently cleanse daily, exfoliate twice a week and moisturize daily.
The Vitamin C she suggested for me is Obagi Pro-C Serum with a strength of 15%. You can start lower and work your way up to 20%, depending on what your skin type is. Vitamin C is a proven preventative in future skin damage, and it protects the skin from free-radicals. Free-radicals are those environmental conditions like sun damage and air pollution that cause fine lines and wrinkles and break down collagen. This is why you need to use a Vitamin C in the morning after cleansing – to protect your skin as you face the day. Just take about 5 drops from the dropper and apply it to your face and neck. Give it a few minutes to absorb before you apply a moisturizer or sun screen on top. Giving it time to soak into your skin makes it more effective long term. Nadine also told me that studies have shown that people who have cancer and who use Vitamin C when going through chemotherapy have less irritation to their skin.
Nadine also told me that a “plain” Vitamin C is less expensive than one that is C E Ferulic. The Vitamin C is going to give you the most effective benefit, C E Ferulic does give additional benefits the the Vitamin C, but it can be significantly more expensive. So depending on your budget, either one is great and effective.
Retin A is to be used in the evening, as your skin becomes more sun sensitive when using a Retin A, so applying it at night and staying out of the sun helps with sensitivity. Just a pea sized amount is needed for your face and neck. And Retin A can be used by the under eye area, too. You do not need to wait for the Retin A to absorb into your skin before topping with your night time moisturizer. In fact, you can mix the two together and apply that way if you’d like. Retin A is the only product proven to repair damage that is already done to your skin. It will help to lessen pore size, a concern of mine, and to lessen wrinkles and increase firmness over time. The key is, over time. Retin A is not a quick fix. It takes about 6 months before you see minor changes like pores lessening in size and about a year before you see the full results of your efforts.
As I said previously, Nadine told me there are different kinds and levels of Retin A. You will notice peeling of your skin right away and it can last up to a month. If it lasts two months, it’s too strong, if you don’t see any peeling, it’s not strong enough. The latter was my issue when testing some samples. She first gave me Renova (o.o2%) and Atralin a gel (0.05%). I used the Renova first for a minimum of 8 days straight and my skin didn’t even see a flake. So I then tried the Atralin for a minimum of 8 days straight and again nothing! Nadine was quite shocked at this when I saw her 3 weeks later for a skin cancer screening and she asked me how the Retin A was working.
So on to a few other samples that were stronger. This time she gave me Tazorac cream (0.05%) and Tazorac gel (0.1%). I started with the cream and after a few days saw a minor amount of skin peeling. Then I went on to the gel and saw a significant amount more peeling and some sensitivity, so we went with the Tazorac cream. This is available only in prescription form, so she wrote me up a prescription and I have been using it ever since.
When using a Retin A product, make sure you are using a proper sun screen as you can burn more easily, and cause more of the damage that you are trying to prevent and fix.
Tomorrow I will discuss with you the other suggestions Nadine had for me to get my skin in tip-top shape.
All services were paid by me.