When answering the question “what does every woman need?” model and actress Christie Brinkley said it best when she replied, “a great dermatologist.”
It’s no secret that a great diet, taking care of yourself and good genes will help you age gracefully, and many women are able to do this. Additionally though, a skilled and artful dermatologist can identify and treat the subtle signs of aging as they occur. In effect, it gives you the appearance of magically never getting older and always looking youthful and amazing…think Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, or Heidi Klum.
When Should I Start Seeing a Dermatologist About Signs of Aging?
When I see a patient in their 20s or 30s who looks great, but wants to stay ahead of the curve or is just starting to see little changes in their appearance, it’s the perfect time to intervene and make minor adjustments to ease the aging process.
There is a paradigm shift—while it used to be that people waited until they were older and their skin was noticeably wrinkled, deflated and damaged by the sun to try to reverse the process, the results weren’t great. They ended up looking puffed up, distorted and just weird.
Now we know better. We achieve a far more natural and desirable look by investing in your skin early and making prudent choices for rejuvenating procedures at the optimal time. In the interest of demystifying the secrets to celebrity anti-aging, we’ve compiled the ultimate “Age Like a Celebrity” skin care routine.
We built this checklist for you to keep track of what should be done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly to maintain your most youthful-looking skin. If you are in your 20s or early 30s, you will want to invest in your complexion with proper skin care and preventative treatments, outlined in the daily through quarterly checklists. Our yearly checklist is geared toward those in their late 30s and beyond, to address more noticeable signs of aging.
Dr. Steele’s “Age Like a Celebrity” Skin Care Routine
Daily Skin Care Do’s
- Wash your face every morning and night with a cleanser that works with your skin type. For oily and/or acne prone skin, try a product like SkinCeuticals LHA cleanser with a blend of cleansing acids. For combination skin, I recommend something like IS Clinical Cleansing Complex which won’t strip the skin but will make you feel clean. If you have sensitive skin, try a moisturizing cleanser like IS Clinical’s Warming Honey Cleanser.
- After your morning wash, apply an antioxidant followed by a moisturizer containing SPF 30+. Antioxidants help your skin protect itself from environmental insults from UV radiation and other toxins. They include well known ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, etc. They help protect your skin’s DNA. SkinCeuticals makes great antioxidants such as CE Ferulic and Phloretin CF serums. EltaMD makes awesome medical grade sunscreen that just protects better with better ingredients. They have a wide variety of options that are all SPF 30 and higher.
- After your evening wash, apply a retinoid followed by a hydrating moisturizer. Retinoids do so much for the skin that I make them a must-have for all of my adult patients. They work to improve skin cell turnover, i.e. exfoliate the skin, they keep pores open, prevent acne, and help with new collagen production to prevent wrinkles. Retinoids are generally more effective than Retinols, their over-the-counter alternative. That means a lower percentage prescription retinoid is more effective than a higher strength retinol cream you can find at the drug store. Moisturizers help hydrate the skin, but don’t use something too heavy if you don’t tend to have dry skin. One of my favorite “moisturizers” is a lightweight hyaluronic acid serum that hydrates the skin without making it feel greasy or heavy.
Everyone should have a foundation of a good skincare regimen. In addition to washing your face every morning and night, antioxidants and retinoids are the key products that everyone should be using every single day. Ideally, after you wash your face in the morning, you would apply an antioxidant and in the evening, a retinoid.
The antioxidant helps the skin protect itself from free radical damage caused by environmental injury and the retinoid chemically exfoliates the skin to promote clear, blemish-free skin. The strength and specific formulation will depend on your individual skin type. There are lots of options, even for those with “sensitive skin”. You may need help finding the right products, but there are options for you. Don’t give up!
Sunscreen. every. single. day. Look for SPF 30+ and broad spectrum. Sunscreen will protect the skin from UV radiation breakdown of collagen and elastic tissue AND prevent sun freckles and uneven skin color. I sell EltaMD in my office. They are high quality products that look and feel great. If you want a tan, do it like the celebs and spray it on!
Weekly Skin Care Do’s
- Use exfoliating scrubs to slough away dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion. I sell my own brand of microdermabrasion sugar scrub in my office which is an excellent scrub that is minimally abrasive but leaves the skin feeling smooth.
- Apply a clarifying mask to minimize pores and prevent blackheads and whiteheads. Charcoal and sulfur masks are an excellent choice for minimizing pore size and preventing whiteheads and blackheads.
Exfoliating scrubs and clarifying masks are nice to additions to your skin care routine to help polish your skin and keep it smooth and supple. Clarifying masks with salicylic acid, sulfur or charcoal help minimize blackheads and whiteheads and make pores appear smaller. Too much can irritate the skin, so once a week is generally a good frequency for these treatments.
Monthly and Quarterly Skin Care Do’s
- Get a facial to “clean out” your pores in order to prevent acne and slow down the aging process.
- Get a chemical peel to “clean up” your skin by removing discoloration and sun freckles that accumulate over time. Do a chemical peel in a medical office because they will have more potent options. I offer a chemical peel that helps even the skin tone and also tighten the pores, skin.
- Integrate relaxants into your routine to help prevent fine lines from getting etched deeper into your skin as wrinkles. While Botox was the first kid on the block in this area, newer options like Dysport and Xeomin are equally effective. It is better to start this when you have just a hint of wrinkles at rest.
- Integrate microneedling procedures into your routine to help smooth out and rejuvenate the skin texture with 4-6 treatments. Issues like enlarged pore size, uneven texture and early wrinkles can be addressed with microneedling with minimal downtime with each treatment. It causes microinjury the skin to stimulate new collagen formation. They can also help remove irregular pigment and smooth out color and texture.
Facials and chemical peels are the best way to routinely decongest your skin and even out your tone. During a facial, the pores are “cleaned out” in a way that can’t be achieved with creams or routine cleansing at home. Similarly, chemical peels remove spots of discoloration and sun freckles that accumulate over time. Your daily products will help prevent them, but they won’t be perfect, so you need a once in a while “clean up” with a chemical peel. Once every 1-3 months is a good regimen.
At some point, relaxants such as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin should become a part of your quarterly routine. If you make facial expressions where you scrunch or squeeze your forehead or global (frown area between the brows), then it may be in your late 20s or early 30s when you start to notice hints of those frown lines or forehead lines when you’re not even making that expression! That’s when you start. The goal isn’t to stop you from making expressions, the goal is to soften the way you do so and prevent your facial muscles from getting bigger, stronger and etched with definition with repeated movement.
Yearly Skin Care Do’s (appropriate for those in their late 30s and older, who are showing more noticeable signs of aging)
- Get injectable fillers help to maintain the youthful proportions of your face. The Juvederm and Restylane (hyaluronic acids) family of fillers are probably the best known and most versatile. They are soft and look natural.
- Get laser treatments like Ulthera to tighten your skin and smooth wrinkles. Ulthera is ultrasound energy that tightens the skin when it starts to slip. Non-ablative fractionated lasers deliver energy to injure the skin to stimulate new collagen formation. They can also help remove irregular pigment and smooth out color and texture.
Well chosen and timed fillers and laser procedures will most likely only need to be performed once a year (or less). As we age, our faces fall. Think of jowls—those cheeks weren’t always below the jawline. Over time, the skin and supporting structures gradually shift and fall with gravity. It looks like the hands of time have stopped when you replace those volume losses and shifts as the occur.
Injectable fillers, such as hyaluronic acids and others are strategically placed to maintain youthful proportions of your face over the years. Similarly, skin tightening devices like Ulthera should be used to counteract the skin’s tendency to become lax and ultimately, to sag over the course of time.
Get Your Personalized Skin Care Routine
Sometimes you may comes in as a patient because you know exactly what’s bothering you – it’s that line, that crease, etc. Other times, you come to me saying you’re just looking a little more tired or not as radiant as you used to. Sometimes there’s nothing that you see yet, but you want to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your skin healthy and youthful throughout the years – just like you make sure that you eat right and exercise to make sure your body will look and feel good now and years from now. You’re never too young to take control, to make a plan, to prevent and manage skin issues rather than to wait and fix them.
No matter your age, the best time to get proactive about your skin care routine is now! Following the routine above is a good start to preventing and reversing signs of aging. For best results, a dermatologist will help you understand your unique skin care situation and prescribe an individualized treatment plan. Give Steele Dermatology a call at (770) 464-6000 or make an appointment online to begin the journey to your most beautiful self!