I HAD planned to write an article about the harmful effects of the sun on our skin. But I had a conversation with Vicki Belo, and it was about how to take care of one’s skin at any age.
Because the sun is the No. 1 anti-aging factor, using SPF everyday is the most common ingredient in taking care of one’s skin and protecting it from wrinkles, dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Here is what skin expert Dr. Vicki Belo said about the skin’s aging process and how to keep it at its best shape.
This is the peak of most women’s beauty. Estrogen is at its highest level, resulting in beautiful, plump, hydrated skin that is soft to the touch. Cheeks are rosy, while lips are pink and inviting. Breasts are full and enticing, buttocks are perky. These are all subliminal signals to men that women are at their hormonal best and ready to bear beautiful children.
Since most young love to spend a lot of time outdoors, they have to protect themselves from the No. 1 cause of aging, the sun. Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunblock and reapply it every 3 hours. The best sunblocks are greaseless, non-pore-clogging, and made of refined titanium oxide. Since these sunblocks have no oils or chemicals, they will not cause acne breakouts.
Oily skin is also a common problem at this age. It’s best to use oil-control face wash and toner at least twice a day. Using facial scrub can be done daily or only twice a week depending on your oiliness. If one has blackheads, whiteheads and pimples, make sure to have cleaning done by trained aestheticians at medical clinics. This ensures proper extraction and the avoidance of scars.
The best medical treatments for this age group are power peels (which use magnesium oxide crystals to exfoliate and brighten the skin); laser hair removal for armpits, legs and bikini areas; and botox of the armpits, which keeps a person sweat-free for 6 months and helps whiten the armpits.
At this age, metabolism has begun to slow down. Collagen and elastin have decreased so that the skin doesn’t look as fresh and dewy as in one’s 20s. The first signs of aging begin to appear around the eyes because of frequent squinting, rubbing and smiling.
The best eye cream I’ve tried is Obagi Elastiderm. With constant use, the skin around my eyes became thicker and firmer, with fewer fine lines. Since the skin regeneration cycle slows down, it would be good to add AHA or BHA to our morning beauty ritual. The best anti-aging cream for me is retinoic acid. Many studies show it regenerates elastin fibers and collagen. Unfortunately, it also causes redness and peeling for a long time.
Dr. Zein Obagi has come up with the new creation called the ZO line, which uses retinol at 1 percent. Retinol now comes in capsule, miniature spheres, which slowly release the ingredient throughout the night. The gradual release of retinol in small amounts helps keep irritation and redness at bay, while still reaping all the benefits of the drug. The product is called Radical Night Repair.
Other suggested treatments at this age include botox for crow’s feet; Fraxel for any scars, hyperpigmentation and stretch marks; and monthly Firm-plus treatments to lift the face.
At this age, there is already noticeable breakdown in skin. A good analogy would be a sofa whose upholstery (epidermis) now looks torn, smudged and dirty. The foam (collagen) is flat and thin and the springs (elastin fibers) are broken.
If we are going to delay or try to stop aging so we always look like we are in our late 30s or early 40s, we have to act quickly and consistently. Injectable dermal or subcutaneous fillers to add volume to our sagging face are now available. Ulthera or Thermage help tighten and lift the face. Meso botox and Nefertiti Lift can counteract the downward pull of our facial muscles.
Products to be used include moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, and the “Obagi Systgem” or Cosmelan to get rid of melasma and increase collagen and elastin. Peptide creams can also provide protein-building blocks to tighten skin. Daily exfoliating scrubs will get rid of dead skin and stimulate it to keep renewing itself. And, of course, retinol remains the mix.
Eyelid surgery might now be a possibility, because the skin around the eyes is thinner and more prone to irritation, with the upper lids usually sagging and covering the eyes, making one look tired, while the lower lids get eyebags.
The best treatment for this is laser blepharoplasty. A carbon dioxide laser is used to remove excess skin bloodlessly and painlessly. The lower eyebags are also removed without scars or stitches. Ulthera and Thermage are done every 18 months, or facelift can be done that will last seven to 10 years. Stem cells and growth factors can also be harvested from one’s own blood to increase collagen and elastin in the skin.
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