You know thereâ€™s no such thing as the fountain of youth, but there are actually some skin care products that can make a difference in how you look as you age. Read on to find out top dermatologists' answers to the most common questions on anti-aging products.
Are anti-aging products really worth the money?
Yes. â€œProducts like topical retinoids, bleaching creams, peptides, and growth factors can all help restore skin to a more youthful state,â€ says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
How can I tell whether a product is a scam?
Because the market touts newfangled ingredients and favors bells and whistles over the tried and true, itâ€™s important to be aware of gimmicks. Avoid products that claim to give the results of Botox or lasers in a bottle. â€œIf it were that easy, people would have stopped using Botox and lasers years ago,â€ says Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California medical school.
When should I start an anti-aging regimen?
Dermatologists recommend starting an anti-aging regimen in your thirties. â€œThis is the time when skin cell turnover starts to slow down and when lines and dark spots start to set in,â€ says Dr. Zeichner. But you can start as early as your teens or twenties â€” an especially good idea if you've suffered sun damage.
What ingredients or products are the most important in an anti-aging regimen?
In general, three to four items are important to incorporate into your regimen:
- A broad-spectrum sunscreen: â€œNothing will fight off wrinkles and fine lines like a good sunscreen,â€ says Howard Sobel, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants work by neutralizing the free-radical reactions that occur in the skin after exposure to sun or pollutants (despite our best efforts to protect the skin with sunscreen). You can choose from a number of effective options, including vitamins C and E, green tea, soy, idebenone, and ferulic acid.
- Retinol: â€œRetinols work by penetrating from the top layer of the skin into the elastin and collagen layers to stimulate cellular production and rejuvenation, and to decrease pore size,â€ says Dr. Sobel.
- Moisturizer: â€œKeeping the skin moisturized is key to looking more youthful,â€ Sobel says.
Are there any parts of my face I should target over others?
The eyes clearly telegraph our years because the skin around them is thin, lacks oil glands, and is prone to sun damage. Also, the parts of the face you use to express emotions will most likely have more pronounced lines and wrinkles â€” the frown lines on your forehead, for example, and the lines around your mouth.
However, just because you see more fine lines and wrinkles in one area doesnâ€™t mean you should treat only that part and neglect the rest of your face. â€œCertainly, treat the whole face and the neck!â€ says Arielle N. B. Kauvar, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. â€œIt takes longer to open and close the tubes and bottles than it does to apply the products to a larger area.â€
How long do I have to use a product to see results?
The more diligent and patient you are, the more likely a product will pay off. It may seem like forever, but give a product at least 60 to 90 days to start working. â€œUnderstand that many products take months to work and need to be used on a regular basis,â€ says Zeichner. â€œThere are almost no quick fixes that actually work.â€
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