There are many skin care products and procedures available to help you look younger and reduce wrinkles. But before you spend half your paycheck on a tiny jar of anti-aging cream, you should know more about how and why your skin ages. For instance, as you age, your skin does naturally change due to bone loss and loose skin, says Amy J. Derick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Barrington, Ill, and other factors like exposure to the sun and smoking also make skin look older. In fact, the majority of skin signs of aging are from photodamage, or damage from the sun, explains Dr. Derick.
Here's how to use this information to fight the top signs of aging and preserve your skin health.
Myth: The Pricier a Product, the Better the Results
Truth: It's not necessarily the cost of the skin care product that determines its effectiveness â€” it's what's in it. "The most important cream for wrinkles is tretinoin, which is only available by prescription," Dr. Derick says. What's more, it's not necessarily expensive, as the cost of tretinoin depends on the specific product and its base, she says. It's available in both generic and the brand names such Retin-A and Renova. Talk to your dermatologist about cost- effective anti-aging skin products that contain tretinoin for the most benefit.
Myth: Anti-Aging Products Always Irritate Skin
Truth: Have you been afraid to try an anti-aging skin care product because you're afraid it will make your skin red, irritated, or flaky? There is some truth to this, but that doesn't mean that you can't reduce wrinkles to look younger. "Most of the anti-aging products are exfoliating, so there is a little peeling," explains Dr. Derick, "but most topical anti-aging creams are tolerable if you start slowly and acclimate."
Myth: Once You See Improvement, You Can Stop Using Anti-Aging Products
Truth: Once you've gotten the results you want â€” to look younger and reduce wrinkles â€” you may think you can ditch your products and just enjoy that glow. But you may need to continue using your anti-aging skin care products after you see results in order to maintain them. "Tretinoin is typically used long-term," Dr. Derick says. Check with your dermatologist before discontinuing the use of any prescribed anti-aging skin care product.
Myth: Someday, You Can Stop Wearing Sunscreen
Truth: "People used to think that most sun damage was done before age 18, but this is a myth," Dr. Derick says. "A lot of sun damage occurs as we get older and spend more time outdoors â€” golfing, gardening, and more. You need to wear sunscreen every day." So don't use age or the fact that you already have a little bit of sun damage or a few wrinkles as an excuse, and don't just rely on anti-aging skin care products. Keep skin youthful â€” and protect against skin cancer â€” by wearing sunscreen at every age.
Myth: You Should Use Anti-Aging Face Creams All Over
Truth: It's not that anti-aging skin care products won't work well on the rest of your body. It's just that you might go broke using them that way. A rich anti-aging skin cream for the face may be effective in promoting youthful- looking skin all over, but it's not a cost-effective solution. "Typically face creams have a nicer 'vehicle' (or base) than body creams and therefore are more expensive," Dr. Derick says.
Myth: The More Products You Use, the Better
Truth: There's a common belief that if a little bit is good, more must be better. But when it comes to anti-aging skin care products, that isn't necessarily the case. "There are diminishing returns at higher doses," explains Dr. Derick, meaning that more product doesn't translate to more improvement in your skin. In fact, there's an increased risk of irritation that you should be concerned about, so don't overdo it on any anti-aging skin care product.
Myth: Your Diet Doesn't Matter After You're Out of the Acne Stage
Truth: A definite myth, you should eat a diet designed to maintain your skin's health as you age. "A well-balanced diet is good for the skin," Dr. Deriek says. "If you don't eat enough or get enough vitamins, you can get hair loss, sallow skin, cracked skin, and more. If you eat too much, you can get darkening of the skin (a pre-diabetic condition) and other problems." Stick to a healthy diet with plenty of vitamins and nutrients to help skin look younger as a helpful addition to using anti-aging skin care products.
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