Beauty in the Bag turns 5 this month, and we’re kicking off the celebration with a special 5 Fab Ways series of features. This week’s is all about creating and maintaining your most youthful face possible.
1. Wrinkle Control
Retinol and sunscreen are your best lines of defense when it comes to delaying the development of wrinkles. Up to 90% of aging changes in skin can actually be attributed to the sun, and a recent study published in the American College of Physicians’ Annals of Internal Medicine showed that daily sunscreen use significantly slows skin aging.
But protection isn’t your only option, particularly if you have enjoyed a few too many hours basking in the sun’s warmth. Retinol, one of the most tried and true wrinkles reversers, is an over-the-counter cousin of the prescription only Retin-A®. It stimulates cell activity and the production of collagen, and helps to renew and exfoliate the skin. You can find it in a variety of skincare products and at different strengths. New retinol users may experience redness and flaking initially, but as your skin grows accustomed to the ingredient you can increase the number of days of application.
ZO® Skin Health Ossential® Radical Night Repair Plus ($145), with a full 1% concentration of retinol, is a powerful anti-ager stimulates new cell activity and collagen production resulting in reduces depth of lines and wrinkles.
SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex (ARV $55) includes three types of stabilized retinol with a concentration of .65% in a gentler formulation that promotes cell turnover and reduces lines and wrinkles.
2. The Weekend Fix
Laser or radio-frequency device treatments as well as peels, can rejuvenate and freshen your skin with minimal downtime—generally requiring no more than a long weekend for recovery. Sublative® with ematrix is a new protocol from Syneron that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to target multiple skin issues: lines and wrinkles, skin laxity, changing texture, and even acne scars that can worsen with age. The treatment works by heating up the dermis in a fractional manner, bypassing the outer layers of skin so the surface is not irritated. Basically, Sublative injures the dermis cells, which become strengthened during the healing process. Three to four treatments are generally required, and a single treatment costs between $500 and $750. Very little discomfort is involved, and it takes three to four days for all signs of redness to disappear.
If you are really looking for a quick option, try Ultherapy®, which uses ultrasound energy to heat columns of skin deep in the dermis right above the muscular level. There is absolutely no downtime with this tightening and lifting procedure, but complete results could take up to three months to appear.
3. Even Toned and Spot Free
Dull skin and even worse—dark spots from the sun—can but a damper on your glow and add unwanted years to your look. For decades hydroquinone has been the gold standard for reducing these and other discolorations. The strongest concentrations are available only through physician offices where you can purchase products with 4% hydroquinone and even higher. You can also try OTC products sold by beauty companies, such as Murad Brightening Fast Lightening Duo (ARV $89) and Exuviance Intense Lightening Complex (ARV $55).
While effective, hydroquinone does have some drawbacks—it can irritate the skin and for some skin tones can actually cause additional hyperpigmentation.
Thankfully, gentle and effective alternatives abound. elure™ Advanced Skin Brightening System diminishes discoloration with a natural enzyme that is derived from a free fungus. This cutting edge system can be used on all parts of the face and body to reduce hyperpigmentation without side effects. Well tolerated by all skin types, elure has been clinically proven to improve skin tone in 28 days. The system includes elure Advanced Facial Wash (ARV $35), elure Advanced Skin Lightening Lotion (ARV $150), and elure Advanced Skin Lightening Night Cream ARV (ARV $150).
Lumixyl ($120) is another alternative to harsh bleaching agents. This non-irritating solution relies on innovative peptide technology that was created by Stanford scientists. The peptide Decapapeptied-12 has been clinically proven to put the breaks on tyrosinace, the enzyme responsible for over production of melanin, the key cause of discoloration. The Lumixyl system addresses mild to moderate hyperpigmentation, including age spots, sun spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and melasma.
4. Acne Away
The sad truth is that acne can mar a beautiful complexion at almost any age. Often adult acne is inflammatory with reddened and inflamed nodules. The last thing you want to do is irritate these spots more and typical teenage acne treatments based on benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can dry out and aggravate your skin and take up to six weeks to work. One alternative is ClarityMD™ Acne Solution, which is based on solubilized bakuchio, an antimicrobial ingredient that is more potent then benzoyl peroxide, and bilabolol, a natural anti-inflammatory. The treatment’s magic bullet is a delivery system that sends bakuchiol, bisabolol, and salicylic acid into the pores to promote rapid results. According to a clinical study, just one week’s use can lead to 50% reduction in inflammatory acne lesions. And the system does not dry out skin or cause irritation, redness or peeling.
For a combo acne and anti-aging treatment, try SkinCeuticals Adult-Acne System (ARV $140). It features salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, and glycolic acid to promote cell turnover, improving acne, fine lines, and even hyperpigmentation. Clinical results include a 39% decrease in sebum and a 28% improvement in the appearance of fine lines.
5. Final Touch
Now comes the fun part for finessing the flawless face—makeup, particularly foundation. Young women can look fresh and groomed with just a touch of concealer and blush, but as we age, foundation helps disguise discoloration and add radiance. You can choose from infinite textures, coverage levels, and skincare benefits. If uneven skin tone is a concern, look for one of the new CC creams that can moisturize while camouflaging imperfections. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector Broad Specturm SPF 30 ($35) offers six shades to choose from and can be worn alone or as a primer for more full coverage.
If lines and sagging are your concern, DiorSkin Sculpt Foundation ($55) is formulated to fill in and smooth wrinkles and give a lifted appearance to the skin. Its nine shades help resculpt facial contours, smooth skin, and diminish signs of fatigue, all with a dose of luminosity.