These days it is overwhelming how many products are available to treat signs of aging in the skin. All one has to do is walk into a drug store and see that an entire aisle can be dedicated to skin products alone. But what really works? Here’s what you can do to help prevent and treat signs of aging in your skin.
Q: What can I do to prevent wrinkling of my skin?
A: Most importantly protect your skin from the sun on a daily basis. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning beds increases the aging process in the skin. Applying sunblock to sun exposed skin daily plus wearing protective clothing and a hat can help prevent future wrinkles, as well as reduce your risk for skin cancer. This may also help prevent the development of “sun spots” on your skin and prevent the sun spots you may already have from getting darker.
Another good habit that helps the skin is to eat a healthy diet that is low in sugar, rich in omega fatty acids and rich in fruits and vegetables. The anti-oxidants in fruits and vegetables can help neutralize damage to your skin. Conversely, smoking is a behavior that is damaging to the skin. Smoking causes narrowing of blood vessels to the skin. It damages collagen and elastin causing premature wrinkles and sagging in the skin. So if you smoke, stop. If you don’t know how to quit, please talk to your primary care provider about how to achieve smoking cessation.
Lastly, treat your skin gently. Scrubbing the skin with a wash cloth or mechanical exfoliator are unnecessary. Your skin will naturally exfoliate itself and scrubbing only damages the superficial skin barrier and allows bacteria or dirt to get in. It is recommended to wash your face gently twice per day and follow with a facial moisturizer. Applying a moisturizer on your skin daily can help plump the skin, masking the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. There are many moisturizing lotions available but it is recommended to pick a moisturizer that is specific for your skin type.
Q: What over the counter products (OTC) can I use to treat wrinkles?
A: There are several OTC products that are marketed for the treatment of wrinkles and fine lines. Retinol cream is one. Retinol is a vitamin A compound that acts as an antioxidant, helping to heal damaged skin. Vitamin C cream is another antioxidant cream. Retin-A is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A. This product is only available through prescription and works by essentially increasing the turnover of the skin. Hydroxy acid creams are essentially chemical exfoliators. They work by removing the upper layer of dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of smooth new skin. And the list goes on. If you are to pick an anti-wrinkle cream, I would recommend starting with one and try it for a few months. It may take 6-12 weeks to see any changes in your skin.
Q: Do over the counter wrinkle creams work?
A: This is the million dollar question. The answer is maybe and results may vary from person to person. CAHI.org guidelines say to classify creams and lotions as cosmetics and regulates them less strictly than drugs. This means that cosmetics do not undergo the same intensive efficacy testing as drugs. Consider several points when picking a wrinkle cream. Higher cost does not necessarily correlate with efficacy of the cream. Multiplicity of ingredients is not proven to be better, meaning that adding multiple active ingredients into your skin care regimen does not necessarily end in better results. In fact, some of these products have side effects that may include skin irritation or rash.
So in conclusion remember that healthy skin is beautiful skin. Take care of your skin. Protect it from the sun and practice healthy living. All of this can help give your skin a more healthy and beautiful appearance.
To schedule an appointment with the Calvert Dermatology team located in Prince Frederick please call 410-535-4561.