I had so much fun filming a segment for CBS this week. The topic – Decoding skincare ingredients in the quest for the best anti-aging skincare products. There are over 10,000 ingredients in personal care products and if you are confused you are definitely not alone!!
My quest is to break it all down for you by recommending a simple regimen with effective and affordable products. When choosing your skincare regimen, the key is keeping it simple. You don’t need to spend your entire paycheck on the latest miracle cream and you also don’t need to be using a million products. So where to begin?
1) A mild cleanser
I have always loved Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash and I am not alone. This very affordable Johnson & Johnson cleanser is dermatologist recommended and is an Allure Best of beauty product. I have been using this product faithfully since high school.
If you tend to be acne prone, then consider using a cleanser with salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid). Neutrogena makes several very elegant products in this category called Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. If you tend to get dry, then use the foam or cream version of the wash.
2) A chemical exfoliant
Chemical exfoliators remove the superficial layer of dead skin cells and can help to improve fine lines, a dull complexion, and uneven skin tone. They also give you an amazing “post-peel” glow so that your skin looks healthy and vibrant. These exfoliators fall into (2) categories:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid etc.
Beta Hydroxy Acids – Salicylic acid is the classic
Glycolic acid is the best AHA and although you can get much stronger peels at your dermatologist’s office, one of my personal favorite at-home products is Avon’s Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel. Use it two or three times a week and you will never turn back. I recently ran out of my supply and had them rush shipped! Always use broad protection sunscreen when using chemical exfoliants.
3) A prescription for tretinoin or other retina-A like cream. This is the one category where a prescription is absolutely necessary. Don’t be fooled by over-the-counter variants with ingredients that sound the same (Retinol or Retinyl Palmitate) but are in reality inactive forms of the prescription variant. These creams are true skincare miracle creams that improve wrinkles, dark spots, and even acne. Not safe if pregnant or nursing.
4) A good moisturizer with at least SPF 30 and broad spectrum protection (Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide)
Sun protection is the most important aspect of your anti-aging strategy and it needs to be daily, 365 days per year. For this one you are going to have to look at that long list of ingredients and look under the Active Ingredients. You want to see one of two ingredients listed under active ingredients:Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide. These ingredients are physical blockers and are capable of blocking both UV-B as well as UV-A radiation, thus they are broad-spectrum. Two recommendations, Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with sunscreen SPF 50+ or Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer with sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 – Sensitive Skin
5) Prevention! These are the products you use at night and often the most confusing category. We talked about how prescription retinoids are a must but what about all of these other supposed miracle products that we are always hearing about? I want to mention three of my favorite ingredients along with some specific product recommendations.
Peptides - These are small proteins that can stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen production and replacement is a key anti-aging strategy because we lose collagen as we age. There are a lot of great products that are incorporating peptide technology now, Olay Regnerist and Strivectin-SD to name a couple.
Anti-oxidants. Vitamin C is the most effective topical antioxidant in skincare at the moment. Anti-oxidants absorb high-energy particles called free-radicals before they are able to damage our cellular DNA. Thus, they prevent inflammation and once again that dreaded collagen loss. Look for one of two specific Vitamin C molecules under the product’s active ingredients because these two are more readily absorbed into the skin: Tetrahexadecyl ascorbate or Methyl Silanol Ascorbate
Happy hunting! I’m always available to answer any questions that you may have on facebook.com/danasternmd