Forget about advice on looking younger. Here is my real tip for the day. Take care of your teeth. Brush, floss, rinse, see your dentist, etc. I spent the morning in the dentist chair which confirmed a few things for me. One, a trip to the teeth doctor is painful even with good anesthesia and two, it is expensive, even with good insurance. Three, and here is where I make the connection, we, as a culture, are obsessed with looking younger. I was in the chair for three hours. I watched the Today Show and then the Hoda and Kathy Lee show with my mouth wide open the whole time. I didn’t count but there must have been dozens of commercials for anti-wrinkle cream and gravity-defying solutions. They all look like they work great on the 25 year old model. The real question is, what really works? In fact, do any of them work?
After extensive research evidenced by bathroom drawers full of half-used bottles and beauty magazines with tempting headlines like, “The Real Secret to Looking Younger” strewn carelessly about the house, here is the best I could come up with.
1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate – The skin is constantly regenerating. As new skin cells form and move up from the lower layers, the old, dead ones shed. It takes about a month for a cell to be born and move to the surface. It has been estimated that you shed about a million skin cells each day – that’s a lot of DNA lying around. Exfoliation removes the dead cells that are stubbornly not falling off, allowing the newer ones to shine through. Your complexion will end up looking less dull and more radiant. You can exfoliate with a mild exfoliator daily in the shower or buy a once a week micro-dermabrasion kit. The trick is to make sure that you are using a product with small granules so as not to damage the healthy skin.
2. Cleanser – As long as they are not selling a product, most sources say that you do not have to spend a fortune on an expensive cleanser – just don’t use soap. Cleansers designed for the face are more gentle and do a better job getting into your pores. Read the labels. If you have oily skin, buy an appropriate cleanser which will likely be clear. If you have dry skin, a creamy cleanser will probably work better for you. Cleanse your face only once a day and avoid water that is too hot or too cold.
3. Moisturize – It should come as no surprise that dry skin leads to fine lines which ultimately become deep lines. Provided you don’t have an acne problem, you should moisturize every day – most people should moisturize morning and night. It is great to find a moisturizer that contains sunscreen for daytime and you can use a heavier one for the night. A Neutrogena or Olay product should do the trick just fine. There is debate over whether you need a different moisturizer for around your eyes. Here is what I think. If you are the type of person who likes products, go crazy. If even a cleansing routine is hard for you, keep it simple. Use your moisturizer on your whole face including the eye area.
4. Anti-wrinkle creams – Ahhhh! If only they all worked. Anything that is against the wrinkle would have my vote. There is some evidence they make a difference in the appearance of fine lines – just ask Andi MacDowell. The non-prescription creams and lotions that seem to make a slight difference, usually contain Retinol. Other ingredients that you can look for in an anti-wrinkle potion are hydroxy acids, co-enzyme Q10 and copper. All have shown a benefit, however small in the appearance of wrinkles. If you are going shopping I would look for one with Retinol as it has become the gold-standard. The results may take a while to see and you will have to continue use to maintain these results. Remember that everyone is different, and what worked great for your friend, may not work great for you. At some point in my late 20s or early 30s, my sisters, mother and I discovered an Estee Lauder product called Night Repair – now it has graduated to Advanced Night Repair. I don’t think it had any of the above ingredients but, albeit subjectively, it worked for all of us – for a while. My own, unproven theory, is I need to switch it up every once in a while and not allow my skin to get too comfortable with any one product. Gotta keep those skin cells on their toes. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go to Sephora.
5. Dark-spot removers – In addition to dullness and wrinkles, nothing makes you look older than hyperpigmentations or dark spots on the face. I should know, I have a few and they have a habit of jumping out at me and screaming, “Tick-Tock!” at the most inconvenient moments. I have tried several of the over-the-counter “removers” but none has been as effective as a prescription bleaching cream I once got called Lustra. The problem with all of them, including the prescription strength, is that sun-exposure usually brings the spots back to the surface and you have to start back at square one. I hate square one – it is by far, my least favorite shape to be on.
My personal goals for the day: Floss and find a skin-care regimen I can stick with. Oh, and don’t expect miracles. God is probably saving them for something more important than my ego.
Tomorrow’s topic – younger looking skin at a significant cost.