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My Anti-Aging Skincare Essentials

Oh, the joys of being 44 and looking in the mirror! (Note my sarcasm.) There is nothing like gazing at your self and seeing another line that miraculously popped up over night. Eyes. Forehead. Mouth. Neck. Chest! Make them stop!

As we age, our skin loses elasticity. We don't produce natural oils like we used to. So, the resulting dryness makes our skin appear more wrinkled. We also lose fat in the deeper layers of our skin causing it to be loose and saggy. Lines become more pronounced. Yep, you read it right. We lose fat in our skin, not in the places we need to lose it most! In fact, I think my behind has found that fat I lost in my skin! It doesn't help that I spent hours at the pool working on my tan when I was young with no sun protection at all. If you would have told my 14 year old self to put sunscreen on, I would have laughed! Why would I want to apply something to keep me from becoming the bronze goddess I was aspiring to be? Well, my 44 year old self now knows that UV light from the sun is the numero uno cause of wrinkling. UV light breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin resulting in sagging and wrinkles. (Sigh...)

I recorded this video a couple of years ago. Although I cringe watching back at my amateur video creation skills, I have found that I still stay true to incorporating the ABCs in my skincare routine for anti-aging. The products I am now using are different than the ones I mentioned, but the active ingredients are the same.

My friend, Kati, is a Nurse Practitioner and she owns a med spa where they offer medical and aesthetic treatments for the skin. Kati is the one who first told me that the best way to start tackling aging skin is to incorporate products with vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C as active ingredients into my skincare routine. And, don't forget sunscreen! My dermatologist confirmed Kati's advice and I have watched many YouTube videos from skinfluencers to experts saying the same thing. So, let's take a deeper dive into what these vitamins look like in skincare.

Vitamin A contains retinoids, which science has shown can do some amazing things for your skin, such as: minimizing fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen, fighting sun damage such as hyperpigmentation and sunspots, fighting acne, improving skin tone, and promoting wound healing. Retinoids are considered the gold standard in anti-aging skincare. They can be found in over-the-counter topical products (retinol, retinal, retinaldehyde, adapalene) or products prescribed by a doctor (tretinoin, tazarotene, isotretinoin). Over-the-counter retinoids tend to be less potent, but people often find the formulations to be more gentle for their skin. Prescription strength retinoids can be very irritating in the beginning. It is recommended that you start off by using it once or twice a week and slowly increase your usage as tolerated. Sunlight affects the stability of retinoids so it is recommended to use them in your nighttime routine. Retinoids can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so apply your sunscreen every day. It is advised not to use retinoids if you are pregnant.

Vitamin B is an antioxidant that helps to treat signs of aging and sensitivity in skin. The most common forms of the vitamin in topical skincare are niacinamide (B3) and pantothenic acid (B5). Niacinamide is great for reducing inflammation, fine lines, and blemishes. It also helps to improve the skin barrier. Pantothenic acid is a humectant used to moisturize the skin. Both are generally very safe for most all skin types.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals (think UV damage and exposure to air pollution) and helps repair damaged skin cells. It helps to promote collagen production to prevent premature aging of the skin. It also inhibits melanin production that causes skin discoloration and helps to prevent darks spots and hyperpigmentation. Some people with sensitive skin may experience irritation from using Vitamin C, but most tolerate it well.

The older I get, the more I enjoy a simple skincare routine. Instead of buying several different serums and creams containing the vitamin, I like to find skincare products that pack a punch and contain multiple actives that benefit my skin. For example, if I see a moisturizer that has both niacinamide and vitamin C, you can bet I am trying it. The fewer the steps in my routine, the better. I like to try out different products so I don't stick to a particular regimen from only one brand. I have normal/dry skin with some oiliness in my t-zone. It is also fair to note that I don't mind spending a little more on my products containing active ingredients. I usually offset the price by not spending much on the basics, such as my cleanser and moisturizer. There are so many good ones at the drugstore! That being said, here is a list of the current products I am using that contain these vitamins and when I use them.

  1. Curology - a custom prescription cream designed for your skin needs and goals by an online licensed medical provider. My treatment is formulated with 0.035% Tretinoin (Vitamin A), 5% Tranexamic Acide, and 4% Niacinamide (Vitamin B3). This is the staple of my skincare routine that I have been using consistently for about 2 years. My skin is markedly improved now from when I started it. I will never be without it. I use it 4 times per week at night after I cleanse. I follow it with a thick moisturizer.

  2. Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% plus Zinc 2% - This is a gel-like serum. I love it because it seems to decrease my oil production in my t-zone without drying out my skin. I use this every day in my morning routine after washing my face and using a hydrating essence.

  3. Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum - contains 15% vitamin C. My skin absolutely loves this serum! It seems to be a little thicker than most serums, not runny at all. It is very moisturizing. My complexion seems brighter than with other vitamin C serums I have used in the past. I use this every day in my morning routine after my niacinamide serum.

  4. First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Cream - They don't disclose the percentage of niacinamide they use in the formulation, but that is ok with me because it magically improves my dark circles under my eyes! It is also very hydrating, which I need under my eyes before putting on makeup. I use this every day in my morning routine.

  5. EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 - 10% Zinc oxide, 5.5% Titanium dioxide with a tinted, moisturizing base with ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C ester). This is a fantastic sunscreen. It is great under my makeup, but it also provides some coverage on its own for days I am not wearing makeup. It works like a primer to even out my complexion. I use this every day in my morning routine after my moisturizer and before my makeup.

You can click on the links above to find out more about the products I have mentioned. They are not affiliate links. I don't have any codes to save you any money, but sometimes when you purchase from the brands site for the first time, they will give you a percentage off your purchase.

I can definitely say that since I have been using this particular anti-aging skincare routine with these active ingredients (not the brands specifically), I feel better about my skin than ever and although I might change products, I will always make sure whatever I use has the ABCs.

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