Your Best Skin Strategies

By on October 12, 2011

By Dr. Ava Shamban –

Mid-life may conjure up some negative images, but the truth is that this can be the best time of your life—full of success, self confidence, and great-looking, healthy skin.

Good skin doesn’t have an age limit. In fact, with the right techniques and product—and maybe a little help from your dermatologist—your skin can look its best right now.

Your Everyday Routine:

A good daily skincare regimen is essential for good-looking skin at any age. But at this point in your life, it’s even more crucial to pay attention to how you treat your skin and to seek out products with active ingredients guaranteed to make a difference.

Cleanse: Chances are your skin is feeling drier now than it used to, so be careful not to dry it out more in an effort to remove dirt and makeup. A gentle creamy cleanser is a good choice (avoid any that foam—they often contain detergents or chemicals that can irritate dry skin). Try Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser; Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Cleanser; and/or Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. It is a good idea to use makeup remover to remove any foundation sitting on skin and to remove the eye makeup that’s more difficult to remove with a facial cleanser. When choosing a gentle facial cleanser look for ingredients like emollients to hydrate, and vitamins A, C and E.

Exfoliate: Cell turnover slows down as we age so it’s more important than ever to help skin shed dead layers on a daily basis. By gently exfoliating, you’ll reveal fresher, healthier looking skin and losing those dead skin cells means that any other products you use (whether it’s sunscreen or an anti-aging treatment) will penetrate better and be more effective. Try Olay Professionals Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser; Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub; and/or St Ives Gentle Apricot Scrub. In addition, if skin is dry, try alternating facial cleansers with one that contains AHA-like lactic acid that is both a defoliant and a humectant—making it ideal for dry skin.

Nourish: Just like eating antioxidant-rich foods (like fruit and green, leafy veggies) help protect the body, putting antioxidants on the skin can help protect the face from the free radicals that can cause damage (like brown spots and wrinkles). Look for lotions or serums that include potent antioxidant ingredients such as vitamins C and E, green tea, coffeeberry, pomegranate extract, grape seed extract, niacinamide and coenzyme Q10. Try: Glytone Antioxidant Anti-Aging Facial Serum; CELFIX Cosmeceuticals DNA Youth Recovery; and/or Neutrogena Ageless Restoratives Anti-Oxidant Booster Serum.

Moisturize: Dry skin can look dull and lose its luster, but adding a little moisture back in will help restore some radiance. It pays to read labels and look for a moisturizer that contains some of the following key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, lanolin, oils, ceramides, and shea butter.
Also look for multitasking moisturizers to save steps in your daily regimen: look for products that contain SPF as well as a light tint to blend with and even out your natural skin tone. Try: Derma-e Skin Care Hyaluronic Acid Day Creme Rehydrating Formula; Avene Rich Compensating Cream.

Rejuvenate: While you can’t really reverse the aging process that’s causing a slowdown in collagen and elastin production, you can use products every day (or overnight) that help stimulate new cell growth and promote collagen repair. Proven anti-aging ingredients include retinol (or the prescription-strength version, Retin-A) and peptides. Try: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream; SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream; Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment.

Protect: At any age, using sunscreen is still the most important thing you can do to improve your skin (and prevent skin cancer). Apply one with an SPF of at least 25 every day—rain or shine. Try: Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion; Aveeno Continuous Protection; Eucerin Sensitive Facial Skin Lotion.

Non-Invasive Rejuvenation:

Forget face lifts that require weeks of painful healing. The more modern approach to maintaining great-looking skin is as easy as spending a few minutes in the dermatologist’s office every few months for non-invasive treatments designed to refresh the complexion, fill out fine lines and combat other signs of aging.

Peels: For accelerated exfoliation, your dermatologist can give you a series of chemical peels—usually using something like glycolic or salicylic acid. The intensity of the treatment will depend on the concentration of the acid, but even a series of light peels will help renew skin texture, even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Lasers: This is the tool to turn to for eliminating brown spots, stimulating collagen production, improving skin texture and minimizing lines. Ablative lasers are the most invasive. Since they remove the top layer of skin expect some serious downtime (but also serious results).

Fractionated lasers still penetrate quite deeply, so these treatments can require a week or so of recuperation. Nonablative lasers are used most often for improving brown spots and treating broken blood vessels. Fractional laser treatment has bridged the gap between the ablative and non-ablative laser techniques used to treat sun-damaged and aging skin. While ablative laser treatments work mainly on the epidermis (surface skin cells) and non-ablative treatments work on dermal collagen (mid-layer of skin) only, fractional laser treatments can simultaneously address both the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin.

Fractional laser skin resurfacing treatments can utilize the intense energy of ablative or skin resurfacing lasers, while providing the greater safety and faster recovery time of lower engery, non-ablative laser treatments.

Radio-frequency skin tightening: These devices use radio waves to superheat the skin’s underlying tissues, resulting in immediate tightening and the stimulation of new collagen production.

Injectables and fillers: Neuromodulators (like Botox and Dysport) are used to relax the muscles in the forehead or around the eyes so that the lines formed by expressions can relax and smooth out. Today’s fillers can not only reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but also restore youthful volume and facial countering. Filler can be used to bring back the fullness of lips or fill hollows under the eyes. The advances in injectables help you look like you—just the younger, more rested version. And to fill in lines, there are a variety of injectable fillers (like Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse and Sculptra).

Ava Shamban, M.D., Board Certified Dermatologist and owner of the AVA MD Centers for Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology in Santa Monica and in Beverly Hills, California, has built a thriving medical practice along with a successful medical day spa. She was a featured dermatologist on ABC television’s “Extreme Makeover,” and is the author of Heal Your Skin. First and foremost however, Dr. Shamban considers herself a skin scientist, a participant in dermatological research, technology and product development for skin rejuvenation and the treatment of acne.

About Dr. Ava Shamban

Ava Shamban, M.D., Board Certified Dermatologist and owner of the AVA MD Center: http://www.avamd.com/ for Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology in Santa Monica and in Beverly Hills, California, has built a thriving medical practice along with a successful medical day spa. She was a featured dermatologist on ABC television’s “Extreme Makeover,” and is the author of Heal Your Skin (www.healyourskinthebook.com). First and foremost however, Dr. Shamban considers herself a skin scientist, a participant in dermatological research, technology and product development for skin rejuvenation and the treatment of acne.

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Your Best Skin Strategies