Friday, August 9, 2013

Facts vs. Myths on Why and How We Wrinkle

Everyone hates wrinkles. Whether we have yet to find the first little line on our face or are looking in the mirror wondering how all those fine lines and wrinkles got there, we all want to know how to make it stop. There are a million and one products and procedures advertised and marketed today claiming to stop the aging process, reverse the aging process, and more but what's real and what's full of crap? AND, are there any ways in our day to day lives (without forking out hundreds of dollars on this cream and that injection) that we can, if anything, delay the visible aging process? Here's a little general information on skin's aging that may just help. These were all tidbits from the Good Housekeeping magazine in November 2012 from an article entitled "What Really Stops a Wrinkle?" by Melanie Rud.

1. Do wrinkles tend to show up on side of the face verse the other? Yes, the left side, according to dermatologist Mona Gohara M.D., of Yale School of Medicine. "Collagen breakdown and wrinkling typically happen more rapidly on that side of the face for Americans." What is to blame? Driving! And don't think you're plenty safe if you always use the air conditioning and keep those windows up tight. "The sun's aging UVA rays penetrate the car's window glass." Therefore it is important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen year round to defend your skin from those UVA rays even when you think you're "indoors".

2. Is there an ideal time during the year to start using a retinoid? Yes, there certainly is. Retinoid products are the "gold standard" in reducing those fine lines and wrinkles, but they can be irritating, especially to sensitive skins. It is ideal to begin using these products during Spring and Summer when the environment is moist and warm. You may find yourself extra sensitive to retinoids during the colder months with all the dry air pumping out and cold temperatures. However, retinoids can make your skin more sun sensitive so remember to always pair it with a daily SPF lotion.

3. Does your place or residence age you faster ... city vs country? Yes it does. City dwellers are constantly exposed to air pollutants which is a major factor in skin's aging according to a recent German study. Protection is simple though; wash your face each night to ensure the pollutants don't sit on your skin. Also, since we all know these pollutants are decreasing the protective ozone layer, using a daily antioxidant serum is ideal to protect your skin further. It is important to remember that the sun is always one of the leading causes of visible aging so living in sunny climates makes you more prone to visible aging so again, sun screen is key.

4. When is it best to apply the strongest anti-aging products? This by far is my favorite question. Countless women (and men) would ask me at my cosmetic counters why we had day and night creams. They felt as though it was merely a sales tactic to make more money and clutter up everyone's medicine cabinets with cream after cream. There is a simple, logical, and important reason to have a day AND a night cream/lotion/serum. First, day-specific creams will almost always have an SPF which is important and beneficial during the day for protecting your skin. However, your skin goes through different processes during the night and absorbing SPF in through your pores each night when you have no sun exposure is not healthy. Your skin cells work to repair themselves during the night and night time creams or no time specific treatments with anti-aging ingredients like retinoids, AHAs, or peptides are best applied at night. Also at night, you don't have the concern of these powerful (and typically pricier) products being diluted by daytime products like sunscreen and makeup.

5. Does using an exfoliating scrub often help to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles? Not really. Over exfoliating can damage your skin and lead to excessive dryness which will actually make fine lines look more pronounced. However, appropriate amounts of exfoliation can maintain skin's glow and improve anti-aging treatments ability to penetrate the skin. Be sure to check the labels and use either a gentle daily exfoliator or a once-a-week scrub ... and don't mix them up! If you find your skin is too sensitive for any type of abrasive exfoliation, try a chemical exfoliant like moisturizing washes with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or chemical peel kits.

And finally a little cheat sheet from the article in Good Housekeeping to help you find the right moisturizer for your dry skin concerns since all dry skins are NOT the same!: