So I've just sitting here really examining my face, and I realize how beneficial those months of exfoliation was. It is really helping the RA to work quicker, but I also realize the exfoliation process is not complete. I am seeing a much lighter layer of skin emerging since starting the RA, and still no pesky continual peeling that is usually associated with RA. No quick fixes here. It took years to create all this damage, so investing a little time and patience is well worth the rewards.
My face is still doing great with the RA (Tretinoin)0.05%. My neck has bounced back, but I am so apprehensive to apply RA to it, even though the temptation is there to do it with a buffer . Maybe I will try it on a small area to test its tolerance.
Second night of RA Gel 0.05%, and my face is doing well Received my order on pH strips and tested my 11-day old DIY Vit-C Serum, it was a solid pH 2.0. Slight 0.5 difference from the day of preparation, but it is 0.5 lower. Strips were ordered from a different company, so that may account for the difference. I am thrilled that the Serum has maintained its integrity after 11-days!!!! . This means I don't have to chuck it after 2-weeks. I will be making it less often, translating to more coins jingling in my pocket . There is no shame in my frugal game
Top 7 Tips to Prevent and Repair Aging Skinacea.com
Effective steps for slowing down the aging process
Everyone gets old. Everyone ages and everyone will get wrinkles. This is not something you can stop from happening.
However, the good news is, you can prevent aging to a certain extent..
As you age, your skin no longer sheds and renews itself as quickly. It starts to lose moisture, thin, and grow loose (hence jowls and eye bags). Sun damage (all those years of tanning or running around as a kid without sunscreen), facial expressions (frowning, smiling), lifestyle habits (smoking, drinking, diet), and even gravity all contribute to the aging of your skin..
You can't stop Father Time, but there are things you can do to slow down the aging process and repair some of the damage already done. Here are the top 7 anti-aging skin tips for doing just that, starting with number seven:.
No. 7: A GOOD, BASIC SKIN CARE ROUTINE
Okay, don't press the back button just yet!.
I know you're thinking, well of course! Everyone knows that a good skin care routine can help fight the signs of aging. All those commercials and skin care products exist for a reason, right? But, I just wanted to reiterate that even if you don't use any actual anti-aging products, a no frills routine with a simple cleanser and moisturizer will be better than doing nothing at all. You don't need the latest breakthrough skin care product to prevent aging, as long as you take good basic care of your skin..
Note: Your hands, neck, and eyes (maybe the lips for some people) are usually the first areas that start to show signs of aging. Whatever you do to care for your face, do the same for the rest of your body. Also, pay special attention and be extra careful and gentle to the skin around your eyes because that area is pretty delicate..
No. 6: CHEMICAL (or manual) EXFOLIANTS
People say men tend to age slower (or look younger, however you want to think of it) because they shave, frequently exfoliating their face. For both women and men, exfoliating is definitely an easy way to keep your skin fresh. Pretty much every beauty magazine will recommend exfoliating your skin at least once a week..
You can exfoliate manually, by using a facial scrub or washcloth, or chemically, by using topical acids or retinoids. Exfoliating helps keep your skin looking young by shedding dead skin cells and pushing newer ones to form. Chemical exfoliants, like AHAs, can also minimize the appearance of wrinkles over time. There is also some scientific evidence that long-term AHA use encourages collagen regeneration, repairing the effects of aging..
Even if exfoliating didn't help your skin stay firm or reduce any wrinkles, the process of exfoliation helps you maintain an even and bright complexion, which definitely looks much younger and healthier compared to uneven and blotchy skin..
No. 5: FACIAL PROCEDURES
I was debating whether to rank facial procedures as number one because obviously something like a face lift will "repair" a lot of your aging concerns. In the end, I decided to put it at number 5 simply because while facial procedures have their advantages, they are not practical. Not everyone can afford (or even be willing) to get a face lift..
Procedures like plastic surgery also don't really prevent or treat anti-aging. They more like "mask" the effects of aging because even after you get work done, your face will still continue to age and you will still have to practice good anti-aging prevention..
However, not all facial procedures are invasive. Long-term Botox use actually helps minimize the appearance deep-set wrinkles. Fat grafting can plump up skin and distribute nutrients to previously depleted regions of your face. Facials like microdermabrasion and chemical peels help prevent and repair the appearance of aging by rapidly exfoliating surface layers of the skin and minimizing fine wrinkles. Laser skin treatments can also stimulate deeper layers of your skin to encourage collagen production for better skin elasticity. The downside is, with these procedures, one treatment session usually does not accomplish much as far as anti-aging goes. Monthly treatments every single year would definitely pack a powerful punch, both to your skin and your wallet..
As drastic as the results can be, facial procedures are generally not things you can do for everyday anti-aging maintenance. They are also not the modern-day fountains of youth like so many people erroneously assume. Facial procedures can trip up Father Time for a bit, but he will get right back up soon enough..
No. 4: ANTIOXIDANTS AND OTHER TOPICALS
Antioxidants like Vitamin C, Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, and green/white tea prevent free radicals from damaging your skin. Free radicals are partially responsible for wrinkles, non-gravity defying eye bags, etc. Luckily, free radical fighting antioxidants come in many forms, both external and internal..
Topically, vitamin C is probably the most powerful antioxidant for your skin, scientifically proven to stimulate collagen production and brighten overall skin tone. Green tea is another popular antioxidant, but its effectiveness is debatable. Some people think green tea particles are too big to be absorbed and used by the skin, while others think it's just as good as vitamin C..
Me? I think you're better off drinking green tea than you are putting it on your skin. Actually, you're probably better off drinking white tea because it's less processed compared to green tea and retains more of its nutrients..
Which brings me to internal antioxidants. These are antioxidants found in everyday foods that add extra "wham-pow-boom!" to your fight against aging skin. Aim for colorful foods because color is synonymous with rich antioxidants. Berries, pomegranates, and noni juice are all excellent anti-aging preventative sources. However, regular run-of-the-mill apples, oranges, and lettuce will also be good for your skin..
Besides antioxidants, in many countries, products with EGF (epidermal growth factor) are gaining ground as increasingly popular anti-aging treatments. These growth factors are naturally occurring molecules in the human body that decrease in production with age. By applying EGF topically, you are essentially supplying your skin with fresh resources to renew and regenerate your epidermis..
No. 3: RETINOIDS
Retinoids are the gold standard for anti-aging treatment products. They help repair and prevent aging and with long-term use, both over-the-counter and prescription retinoids will stimulate collagen production, reducing wrinkles and helping skin stay firm. Retinoids can also help fade sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars.
However, some people cannot tolerate retinoids on their skin. And that is perfectly fine. You don't need retinoids to prevent aging, but they certainly help in the fight against wrinkly and droopy skin.
I won't get into retinoids too much here because I've dedicated a whole section of this site to the different types of retinoids and how to use them to prevent irritation, but just know that if you are looking for a skin care treatment to help keep your skin firm and youthful, prescription-strength retinoids are your best bet..
No. 2: SUNSCREEN
I bet you thought sunscreen would be number one on this list. While sunscreen is pretty much the best thing you can put on your skin for protection, the number one spot goes to something far more important.
Sunscreen is the number one preventative topical against aging. It prevents more than fixes, but if you think about it, it's much easier to prevent the signs of aging than it is to reverse wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or anything else that has already set in. Sunscreen protects you from the sun's harmful UV rays and prevents even more damage (and possibly cancer) from happening to your skin..
However, sunscreen is not a magic potion that works as soon as you start using it. Your skin won't age less a week or even a month after consistent and proper sunscreen application. You may see less sun spots, but ultimate sunscreen benefits are cumulative and will show through in the long run..
Take Asian people for instance. Asian women absolutely abhor the sun because white, porcelain skin is the hallmark of beauty (and in the past, pale skin was a sign of nobility). Their extreme avoidance of UVA and UVB rays definitely pays off though because many Asian women (and men) tend to look much younger than their non-Asian counterparts..
So, try to wear sunscreen everyday. Even if you don't see anti-aging results right away, you'll thank yourself when you're older for being so smart and responsible. If you can't wear sunscreen, at least wear floppy hats and giant shades and stay out of the sun during peak hours. And at the very, very least, avoid tanning beds!.
No. 1: HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
This number one thing for anti-aging is not very dramatic, but its importance is often understated and overlooked. Living a happy, healthy lifestyle is the absolute best thing you can do to slow down the aging process..
Whatever cream you slap on your face or whatever lasers you zap your skin with, do not and will not add up to the powers of a living a healthy and happy life. Okay, maybe creams help somewhat and lasers a little, but healthy lifestyles not only keep you looking young and feeling great, but they also keep you living (preferably longer), which I'm sure no cream can do..
Eating a well-balanced diet with enough nutrients and fatty acids, drinking plenty of water, not smoking, not drinking too much alcohol, laughing, and not stressing out too much are all good anti-aging habits. Steven Colbert once asked Jeff Bridges how he made "this look attractive," *this* being getting older, and Jeff Bridges said that his mom always told him to "have fun and don't take [work] too seriously." .
It's important to not get so wrapped up in physical anti-aging treatments that you forget about internal health, relaxation, and emotional well-being. These are the foundations upon which topical anti-aging treatments build on, so if you have shabby groundwork to begin with, you're not giving yourself a lot to go on for anti-aging prevention..
So, stop and smell the flowers. You deserve it..
ONE LAST WORD...
Keep in mind that even if you do all of the above seven things, it won't guarantee wrinkle-free skin. Aging is a natural process and in fact, it should even be appreciated.
While I don't want to have a face full of deep wrinkles, a few here and there can really add character. I like to think of wrinkles as the wisdom, stories, and memories of your life etched onto your skin. It's important to protect and take care of your skin, but it's also important to appreciate how much it does for you..
5) Wait 1 hour after applying the retinoid to apply moisturizer Ideally, retinoids work best when they are the only thing on your skin. However, since retinoids also come with their fair share of irritation and dryness, using only retinoids without anything else can be difficult to tolerate. So, it is okay to apply moisturizer after putting on your retinoid..
Just make sure you wait anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour after applying the retinoid to apply your moisturizer so you do not diminish the effects of the retinoid. However, if you are experiencing too much irritation from the retinoid, you could buffer it with moisturizer to reduce some of the redness and dryness..
6) Buffering Buffering your retinoid makes it less penetrating and therefore less irritating. How to buffer your retinoid is pretty straightforward. You can either:.
1.Put on moisturizer and then apply the retinoid.
2.Apply the retinoid onto clean skin and then apply moisturizer shortly afterwards (without waiting).
3.Mix the retinoid with a moisturizer or serum and then apply to clean skin.
All of these methods help reduce the effects of the retinoid (they decrease its penetration), making it slightly more tolerable..
Most people buffer when they first start using retinoids and then use it full-strength after their skin adjusts. Other people can only use retinoids when they are buffered because their skin may be too sensitive to use it un-buffered..
You can buffer all of the different types of retinoids except for Retin-A Micro. Retin-A Micro is a time released formula and buffering will interfere with the way Retin-A Micro is supposed to work..
7) Use short contact therapy (Tazorac only) If you are using Tazorac, you can consider using short contact therapy to reduce irritation. Dr. Bershad, who came up with the short contact therapy technique, suggests that by decreasing the amount of time the retinoid is in contact with your skin, you will be able to receive the benefits of the retinoid without all the extra irritation..
To do short contact therapy, you basically apply Tazorac to your skin (preferably 20 minutes after cleansing) and let it sit anywhere from 2-5 minutes to 2 hours. After waiting for this period of time, you simply wash off the retinoid (with water or your cleanser) and go about your regular skin care routine..
When you're first starting out with short contact therapy, you may want to start with leaving the retinoid on your skin for just 2 minutes and then gradually increase the time as your skin adjusts to the treatment. You can use short contact therapy every day, but again, when you are first using retinoids, it pays to take things slow. It might be wiser to use short contact therapy every other day for two weeks or so before upping your dosage..
The reason why short contact therapy works with only Tazorac is because Tazorac is a synthetic retinoid and therefore not inactivated by your skin (unlike natural retinoids). Differin is also a synthetic retinoid, but there is no evidence of short contact therapy working with Differin. However, that's not to say that you couldn't use it this way. If you choose to try short contact therapy with Differin, you may want to leave it on your skin for 2-3 hours because Differin is a much milder retinoid compared to Tazorac..
8) Use continuously You have to use retinoids continuously and consistently in order to receive their benefits. And you have to use them for the rest of your life because once you stop, you stop getting the anti-acne and anti-aging benefits. (Note: retinoids should not be used during pregnancy.).
However, once you get to the point where you've achieved your desired results (i.e. the retinoid cleared your skin or your wrinkles are less pronounced), you can go into maintenance mode. When you maintain your skin with a retinoid, instead of using the retinoid religiously every single night, you can apply the product every other day or every two days and still get the same benefits..
9) Be patient! Retinoids take time to work, approximately 10 to 12 weeks or 2 to 3 months. Most people don't see any results the first few months, but everyone's skin is different. Some people get good results right away while others have to be more patient. However, benefits from retinoids usually peak after one year of consistent use..
During the first 4 to 6 weeks, it's very common to experience acne breakouts, worsening of symptoms, peeling skin, and other forms of irritation. Even though it can be physically and mentally difficult to stick with a retinoid during the first few weeks of hell-dome, it's worthwhile to stick it out at least until the 12th week mark to see if the retinoid will actually work with your skin. If the retinoid is going to work for you, you should start seeing consistent improvement with your skin by week 12. However, everyone's skin is different so that is just a general guideline..
During the weeks leading up to the 12th week however, if your skin is very red, very itchy, extremely broken out (way, way more so than before you started using retinoids), and irritated, you may want buffer the retinoid or have a talk with your dermatologist about switching to another treatment because that particular retinoid may just not be the right one for you..
When you first start using retinoids, it's hard to know if you should keep going or if you should just give up. The answer to this conundrum is different for everyone, but I tend to think of it in terms of bend-but-not-break. The irritation and initial breakout from retinoid use is like bending your skin, but if you are breaking out with uncharacteristically deep, swollen pimples or if your skin feels red hot all the time, then you've reached the broken threshold and that means it's probably time to stop using the retinoid..
Another way to tell when you should stop using retinoids is how your skin feels once you actually stop usage completely. If your skin turns red hot and bumpy immediately after applying a retinoid, you are probably experiencing an allergic reaction. If your skin is irritated but gets better after 2-3 days of not using a retinoid, then you probably just need to cut back on the frequency of your application. If your skin remains on fire even after you stop using a retinoid for up to a week, then the retinoid is probably something that just doesn't agree with your skin. Irritation from retinoids is normal, but it has to be tolerable irritation for it to be a normal side effect..
Some people have to go through 4 different types of retinoids before finding one that works! Others simply cannot tolerate them and there is no point forcing a retinoid on your skin when it just won't work..
Retinoids are great products, but they may not be for everyone. Knowing how to use retinoids the right way is the best way to get them to work. Use them properly, give them time to work, and think positive thoughts. More often than not, there will be light at the end of the tunnel!.
Use Retinoids the Right Way How to use retinoids the right way to prevent irritation and purging Skinacea.com
Use Retinoids the Right Way: Part I - Tips 1-4
When I was prescribed Differin for acne by my dermatologist, I got really excited because I finally sought professional help and was confident that my skin would start clearing up right away. So when I got home, I washed my face and slathered a big glob of Differin all over, thinking that using more would make it work faster.
In fact, I didn't know how to use Differin at all. My dermatologist (not a very good one I now realize) shooed me out of his office before giving me proper instructions and I assumed that the packet insert was insignificant. It was just acne cream right? Who wouldn't know how to put on acne cream?.
But, lo and behold, a few days later (3 exactly), my skin turned red and started peel. It became so sensitive that everything stung - cleanser, moisturizer, even water! I had made the mistake that most people make when they first start using retinoids: not knowing how to use them the right way..
I can't stress enough how important it is to know how to properly use retinoids. Lots of people I know either stay away from retinoids or give up on them after a few weeks because they couldn't stand the irritation and/or purging side effects that come with the initial use of the treatment. However, if you know how to use retinoids the right way, you can minimize most, if not all, of these bad things and make them much more tolerable..
Following these steps and tips when you first start using retinoids will make them easier on you and your skin (and you might even be able to avoid irritation or an initial breakout altogether!):.
1) Start off slow When you are introducing retinoids to your skin, you want to start off slow. Most people just slap on the product every night and wake up to lots of irritation. However, the best way to use retinoids is to use them sparingly for the first few weeks and then slowly increase application thereafter. It doesn't matter if you are using gels or creams. It only matters that you start slow. .
To first start using retinoids, apply them once every three days for the first one or two weeks. After your skin adjusts to the product (or if you experience no irritation at all), bump it up to once every two nights for another few weeks. Then, use it every other night for another week and gradually graduate to using it nightly..
Starting off this way helps your skin slowly adjust to the product and when you give your skin time to adjust, it reduces irritation from the retinoid and can even help you avoid the initial breakout associated with most retinoids. (This initial breakout is more common for those who are using retinoids to treat acne. If your skin is clear when you start using retinoids, you will probably have nothing to "purge.").
Generally when you are using retinoids, you want to choose the strongest one your skin can tolerate. But when you are first starting out, a weaker retinoid will suffice. You can first condition your skin to the retinoid and then work your way up if you feel you need something stronger. Or you could even buffer it (more on this on the next section)..
However, if a particular retinoid is too irritating for your skin, it is perfectly okay to opt for a less potent version. You don't need to use the strongest retinoid out there for it to be effective. Weaker retinoids also work, but may just take a bit longer..
. 2) Use only a pea-sized amount Don't be like me. Using more product will not help it work any faster. It will only help it irritate your skin even more. Therefore, only use a pea-sized amount for your entire face..
Now, something the size of a pea may not seem like a lot, but it's exactly the right amount you need for your skin. What I like to do is squeeze a pea-sized amount onto my index finger and start lightly dotting the product evenly over my face. Then, I smear all these dots together and spread the product into my skin. You actually have to do this rather quickly or else the product will dry up and you won't have anything to spread..
Applying the retinoid in this fashion ensures that all parts of your face get a light coating of the product. Sometimes when you start spreading with just one big glob, you may run out of it by the time you reach the other parts of your face..
If you still feel like you don't cover your entire face with a pea-sized amount, then it is okay to use a bit more. The thing is to just use the smallest amount possible to cover your whole face in order to minimize irritation..
While your eyes are more sensitive, it is okay to use retinoids under your eye area to diminish fine wrinkles there (don't put it on your eyelids though). When you first start using retinoids under your eye, it is common for any fine lines to look crepey and be even more pronounced. But, it should get better after awhile. If your eye is too sensitive to the retinoid, you can try buffering the product or just not using any near your eyes..
Retinoids can also be applied on your neck or hands. If you do use retinoids in these areas, be sure to wear good sunscreen as well, since retinoids make you more sensitive to the sun..
. 3) Use only once a day at night Retinoids will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, therefore it is best to apply them at night. There is also some evidence that natural retinoids turn toxic when exposed to sunlight, so that's even more of a reason to avoid using them during the day! (It's okay to apply synthetic retinoids, such as Differin and Tazorac, during the day though, but it's probably not a good idea since they make you more sensitive to sunlight too.).
Besides using retinoids at night to minimize sun sensitivity, you should also be using a good sunscreen in the morning to protect your skin even more. Retinoid use and sunscreen (or sun avoidance if sunscreen does not agree with your skin) go hand in hand. You don't want to reverse all the good stuff the retinoid is doing for your skin (since the sun causes photoaging) or cause even more damage to your skin with overexposure to harmful UV rays..
You also want to apply the retinoid only once a day to minimize irritation. If you use other treatment products for acne or anti-aging, hold off on using them until you know for sure your skin can tolerate the retinoid. If you can't handle the irritation from a retinoid by itself, then you most likely won't be able to handle the irritation in conjunction with other products. Treatments, such as BHAs and AHAs, make retinoids more potent and more likely to irritate your skin..
If, however, you are at the point where you feel comfortable with your retinoid and want to add an extra boost, you can continue using the retinoid at night and add in a BHA or AHA in the morning. Alternatively, you can increase the penetration of your retinoid by using an AHA before applying the retinoid and following up with a moisturizer..
As with all retinoid use, take things slowly and add new products one at a time..
4) Wait 20 minutes after washing your face to apply the retinoid product You want to wait 20 minutes after washing your face before applying a retinoid in order to reduce irritation. When you wash your skin, you disturb your skin's natural barrier and waiting a bit before applying a harsh product will give your skin more time to recover..
Also, applying a retinoid onto damp skin will cause it to absorb faster, increasing the chances of irritation..
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