In today’s post, I am going to give you the full rundown on a basic anti-aging routine, building upon my post “A basic skincare routine demystified..” If you’ve read the post, you know that a basic skin care routine consists of cleansing, toning, moisturizing and protecting the skin from the sun. But what about when you want to get a little bit more aggressive? Here’s what you need to know!
A wonderful medical aesthetician and educator that I know named Daniela Woerner of Addo Aesthetics first introduced me to this theory. And the results are mind-blowing! The theory is that if you have a skincare routine based on the pneumonic G.R.A.S. (which I will break down below), you have the best plan for anti-aging. And it truly does work!
G stands for “Growth Factors”
Growth Factors are ingredients that trick your skin into acting younger. They work because they bind to receptors on the surface of skin cells, and the result is cell proliferation (in other words, creating new cells!) New cells are just that- fresh, brand new, young cells. What do you get when you have young cells? Younger-looking skin! It’s magic! My absolute favorite product line with Growth Factors and the best on the market is Neocutis. More specifically, their Bio Serum and Bio Cream. Neocutis is a brand developed in Switzerland at the prestigous Medical School at the University Hospital of Lausanne over years of research for wound healing, particularly pediatric burns. It is a medical line only available through a licensed Physician. (DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to buy this on Amazon!) They contain actual human growth factors grown from live epidermal tissue! On their website you can look up where to find the nearest medical spa or physician’s office to purchase from.
R stands for “Retinoids”
Retinoids, or Vitamin A, is sort of the All-Purpose Flour of skincare products. Vitamin A increases cell turnover, lightly exfoliates, also causes cell proliferation and gently reduces tyrosinase activity on the skin. You can read the study here. Tyrosinase is a copper-containing enzyme present in plant and animal tissues that catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments from tyrosine by oxidation, as in the blackening of a peeled or sliced potato exposed to air. (Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?) So, retinoids work to reduce that activity and can lighten hyper-pigmentation over time. There are a LOT of different retinoids to choose from in the consumer market. Did you know that your dermatologist can prescribe you a topical retinoid for anti-aging which may be covered by your insurance? From a non-perscription standpoint, my absolute favorite retinoid line is Biopelle. You need to see a qualified Aesthetician or Derm to determine which strength of retinoid is appropriate for you. I personally use a 1% solution, as my skin can tolerate it every other evening.
A stands for “Antioxidants”
This is your Vitamin C. Applied once, in the morning, on dry skin, Vitamin C helps to protect the skin from free radical damage as well as UVA and UVB rays. If nothing else, every woman should be on an Antioxidant & a Sunscreen to start their day. The gold standard, created by the Antioxidant Authority SkinCeuticals is C E Ferulic or Phloretin CF. Both are Vitamin C serums that are formulated differently- one with Vitamin E for Normal to Dry skin and the Phloretin is without Vitamin E for Oily or Combination skins. Vitamin C also has a softening effect on the skin and can lighten hyper pigmentation over time. It is essential in any anti-aging routine!
S is for “Sunscreen”
You might be surprised, but my very first answer when someone asks me what they can do for an anti-aging regimen, my response is always: SUNSCREEN. 90% of superficial aging of the dermis comes from UVA and UVB exposure. 90%!!!!! We can’t control the other 10% which includes genetics, but think of how much power you have to preserve your skin! The best option for sunscreen? A mineral sunscreen in which the active ingredients are either Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide, with an SPF of at least 30. The jury is still out on chemical sunscreens and whether or not they are carcinogenic, so it’s best to go with the minerals. One caveat is that if you are spending a day in the sun, you need to reapply every 2 hours. (Also- wear a hat and sit in the shade! I can’t stress this enough!)
Putting it all together
Cleanse with a swipe of toner (appropriate for most skins)
Dry skin thoroughly and apply a few drops of an Antioxidant serum
Moisturize with something appropriate for your skin type
Eye cream, Sunscreen
Cleanse & Tone
Dry skin thoroughly and apply Retinoid (with appropriate strength, applied every 3rd night and after 2 weeks every other evening)
Apply a moisturizer with Growth Factors
Lastly, a few more tips
If product cost is a factor, consider the following. You only need small amounts of these products on your skin in order for them to work- less is more! Each bottle should last you between 4-6 months. If you decide to get a prescription retinoid from your dermatologist one caveat. I don’t recommend Retin-A unless your skin is very acneic. The reason for this is that the delivery system for Retin-A is very harsh. If you think of a product as a vehicle that drives the Vitamin A into the skin, Retin-A is like an 18 wheeler, whereas some other formulations such as Tretinoin are more like a 4 door sedan. They still drive the Vitamin A in, but with much less damage in the process! If your skin becomes red easily or overly sensitive your retinol strength may be too strong. Make sure either your dermatologist or aesthetician makes the recommendation for you.