Invest in Your Skin—It’s With You for Life
Investing in your skin at any age can payoff in the long run. Take it from me, the teenage sun-soaker with good ole baby oil and iodine. Sound familiar? Not until my early 30s did I start to see the damage creep up to the visible layer of my skin. I was mortified. It was also at about that time I was completing my physician assistant program (career #2).
Taking Control of My Skin Care Routine
Several light therapy laser treatments and a new medical grade product line later, I was finally reaping the benefits of my investments. No more brown splotches, no more gaping pores. I was on track.
Fast forward to today…If I had a dime for everyone who asks me how they can get their skin to look as good as mine (disclosure: I’ll be 50 next week), I’d back down to working only 10 hours a week. That being said, very few people can start out with the complexity of my daily product routine without having major anxiety.
Four Simple Skin Care Steps For Every Age Group
If you’re interested in improving your skin, here are the four overall steps I recommend to everyone.
- Cleanse Your Face: Morning and Night
Yes, two times even if you aren’t wearing makeup or are just waking up for the day. Don’t tell me you don’t brush your teeth twice a day!
- Use Vitamin C: Morning
(Or equivalent antioxidants)
- Moisturize: Morning and Night
- Sunscreen: Morning and Before Going out in the Sun
That’s it! If you can do this at any age, five or more times a week, you are doing better than 80% of the population.
Let’s Talk About Cleansers
First things first, please don’t use body soap on your face. Use face-specific products so you don’t strip your skin and dry it out.
Here’s what you can do in your:
- 20s: This depends on your skin type. For oily or acne prone skin, a cleanser with salicylic acid is beneficial to address these issues and cleanse your skin. For normal skin, a simple foaming cleanser is a good choice.
- 30-50s: I recommend a cleanser with glycolic acid to help exfoliate dead skin.
- 50 and up: I typically recommend the glycolic based cleansers OR a gentle cleanser depending on your skin.
- For those with dry or sensitive skin: A good ceramide-based or gentle cleanser works wonderfully.
Vitamin C & Antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect your skin against free radicals and conditions in our environment such as dirt and air pollution. These rob your skin of oxygen and steal electrons from healthy cells. Topical Vitamin C is best known to protect your skin against these stressors. There are also some other new products now available.
Here’s what you can do in your:
- 20s-mid 30s: At this age, you can get by with a product that contains 10% or 15% Vitamin C. The maximum percent that your skin can absorb is 20%.
- Late 30s and up: This is the time to really step it up with a multi-defense antioxidant product that contains Vitamin C and may also include Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid or Resveratrol. These are just a few ingredients that provide an extra boost to your skin.
Be aware: Not all Vitamin C is created equal! To penetrate your skin and make a difference, it has to be formulated in a serum that has a pH of 3.5 or lower. Spoiler alert, over-the-counter products can’t achieve this!
Moisturizers are Simple!
Easy tips for all ages:
- Find one that fits your skin needs, or come ask me.
- Medical grade products are able to offer more specialized components not found in over-the-counter products to address specific needs.
- SPF is not needed in your moisturizer because you simply don’t need it at night and it is intended for reapplication throughout the day.
SPF – It’s Not Your Mom’s Sunblock Anymore!
This brings me to the last and most important step, SPF! It is crucial to start using this every day of your life, no matter what! If you like a tan face, use a bronzer or self-tanner.
Did you know?
- SPF only rates UVB rays, not UVA.
- SPF 32-50 provides the most effective protection and are essentially of equal value.
- Infrared (IR) light and blue light (think computer screens and phone screens) contribute to skin damage.
Two specific sunscreens that should be in everyone’s arsenal for the face are:
- Total Defense and Repair® by SkinMedica® (tinted or non-tinted)
- Colorescience® Sunforgettable® line of sunscreen
- These both block infrared light and Colorescience® additionally blocks blue light
How to Start Your 4-Step Routine or Step Up Your Game
I recommend you find the right products for your age and skin in each of these four areas and begin using them every day! If you’re confused or don’t know where to start, I’m happy to visit with you. I take the time to get to know your current routine (or lack thereof) and go from there. At The Spa at Bryan LifePointe, we offer free consultations to help you determine what’s best for you.
To learn more about services to enhance your skin, visit bryanlifepointe.org/spa.
PA-C, Bryan LifePointe MedSpa
Carrie earned her physician assistant degree in 2001 from Union College after working as a registered dietitian for eight years. Following graduation, she worked in both family practice and aesthetics offices. Her experience in aesthetics led her to The Spa at Bryan LifePointe. Carrie enjoys working individually with patients to help them look and feel their best.