Can skincare “erase your wrinkles in under five minutes”? Although it may be possible in the not too distant future, the claim is an exaggeration, at best.
A peek behind the curtain would reveal that the “miracle product” employs a film-forming agent, akin to egg whites or hairspray. As the products dries creating a film on the surface, it does indeed briefly pull the skin taut. The transient effects are entirely forgivable, however the immediate crinkling of the film due upon the slightest surface tension and the immediate disintegration with lightest application of makeup are less so. The effects help to explain why the models are typically male and never, ever, smile.
If the film-forming effect adds to your confidence, please continue using these products – everyone’s reflection should rouse an approving smile. Even so and regardless of your skincare of choice, you can achieve genuine and economical improvements to your skin with seven simple steps in as little as 30 days.
- STEP 1 | Prevent Sun Damage - Rain or shine, apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater daily to face, neck, and hands. Sun damage destroys collagen, accelerating aging process within skin and increasing the risk of skin cancer. More than 70% of what we typically attributed to normal aging – wrinkles, sagging, crepeyness -- is actually sun damage. Broad-spectrum sunscreens coat the skin thus inhibiting the penetration of expensive, active ingredients, therefore applied as the final step in any skincare routine.
- STEP 2 | Gentle Cleansing - Clean is good. Over-drying, oil-stripping, and abrasive is bad, always. To ensure thorough cleansing, consider a double-cleanse method for your evening cleansing ritual. An oil-based cleanser works best to loosen makeup and pollution.
- STEP 3 | Exfoliate Weekly but Scrub Never - Most scrubs and brushes are overly abrasive, triggering micro-tears, irritation, and compromising the delicate dermal barrier. In addition to smoother skin, research suggests that chemical exfoliation has the potential to improve collagen formations, thereby firming the skin. Chemical exfoliants typically include one or more Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). Lactic acid is more widely tolerated due to the larger molecular size and superior water-binding capacity, in comparison with other AHAs and BHAs. Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, also provides moderate exfoliation if the potency is 15% or greater.
- STEP 4 | Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize - Regardless of age or condition, smooth skin requires sufficient hydration. Delivering moisture and/or preventing dehydration, skin-replenishing ingredients include Amino Acids, Ceramides, Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Lecithin, Niacinamide, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Pumpkin Seed Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Sodium Lactate and Sodium PCA. Due to widespread use in most skin care products and cosmetics, limit or avoid altogether Dimethicone along with the many silicone derivatives.
- STEP 5 | Pollution Defense: Eliminate and Neutralize - Researchers have directly linked environmental pollution to accelerated aging, as well as uneven skin tone, inflammation, and skin cancer. Made up of particles that are 20 times smaller than pores, pollution is capable of permeating the deeper layers of the epidermis. Cleansing with a non-drying cleanser twice daily will help to eliminate pollutants on skin surface, while skincare rich in anti-oxidants will help to neutralize any pollutants beneath the surface. Anti-oxidants include Acai, Blackberry Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil, Ferulic Acid, Geranium Extract, Green Tea Extract, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Poria Cocos Extract, Pumpkin Seed Extract, Niacinamide, Vitamins A, Vitamin C (LAA), and Vitamin E.
- STEP 6 | Boost Collagen Production - Ignore the hype, and look to clinical research for skin-restorative ingredients that are capable of improving collagen production. Collagen contributes to the structural framework, strength and elasticity of our skin. Our collagen production slows with age, reducing the structural integrity of the skin and leading to sagging skin, the formation of lines and wrinkles. Given recommended usage rates, optimal formulation, and adequate packaging, the following ingredients have shown to improve collagen production:
- Peptides, such as Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2, Tripeptide-10 Citrulline, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, are short chains of amino acids that signal your skin to create more collagen. Although effective, they are pricey – the cost of one ounce of a single peptide exceeds $50US.
- Vitamin C has shown to be effective in increasing collagen deposits, enhancing collagen lattice contractions, and thereby strengthening the collagen framework -- reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Of the three vitamin C derivatives, L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA) delivers superior results, however it is also the most unstable. Despite the required exacting formulation, minimum potency of 10%, accompanying ingredients, pH range and adequate packaging, the potency can quickly diminish from 10% to 5% in as little as two months.
- Retinoic acid, also known as Retin-A or tretinoin, is a Vitamin A derivative that helps to improve collagen production, but is only available as prescribed by a physician. Many users find it to be overly irritating with excessive peeling, scaling, and/or redness. Retinol is a good option with less dramatic side effects. Look for a minimum potency of .025% or higher. Not to be confused with other vitamin A derivatives that are available over-the-counter, such as , Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Ascorbate, or Retinyl Palmitate, which have little effect on the skin.
- STEP 7 | Say "No" to Dimethicone - Reasons, there are many. Simply, your skin will look better for longer without it, like fewer sensitives and smaller pores. The "experts" will confirm that the dimethicone "molecule is too large to penetrate the dermis". Many of the same "experts" support the fact that dimethicone is also ans "excellent carrier" - it can penetrate the dermis. Although useful in treating scars, stay clear or limit the use of dimethicone and other silicone derivatives.
Feel free to share your experience in the comments or contact me with any questions.