Beauty is indeed more than skin deep, but skin is what meets the eye. Your face and neck skin figure heavily into that all-important first impression. No matter how energetic and youthful you feel inside, or how striking your features are, if you’re cloaked in skin that is wrinkled, sagging, or spotted, it’s hard to look and feel your best.
If you want your skin to look radiant as you age, care for it well. We’re guessing you rotate your tires and get regular oil changes. You may repaint your house and reseal your shower grout from time to time. We’ve learned to do all of the maintenance for our things, but what about for ourselves?
A consistent skin care regimen for your face and neck can preserve your beauty well into the future. But how do you know what products to choose? A walk down the beauty store aisle is overwhelming. A search for skin care products on Amazon is dizzying. You see terms like “age-defying,” “rapid repair,” and “collagen boosting.” You walk (or click) from serum to night cream to Retinol moisturizers to acid-based exfoliants. What’s worth buying?
You see prices that range from reasonable to exorbitant. Do you have to pay top dollar for a good product? Or will the drug store ones work just as well? What ingredients work the best? How often do you need to use the products? You practically need your own tour guide to navigate the selection.
In lieu of a guided tour, our team at Lexington Plastic Surgery has created a suggested skin care regimen to guide you through products and processes to keep your face and neck skin looking vibrant and young.
4 Essentials of Younger Looking Skin
1. Cleanse. Let’s take it back to the basics: wash your face! And wash it twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. Cleanser gets rid of makeup, dirt, and oils. This prevents clogged pores and eliminates dead skin cells that can accumulate and make your skin look older and less radiant.
If your pores are clogged and your skin is thick with dead cells, other products that you apply (such as moisturizer) won’t be able to penetrate. Also, if you use a cleanser with moisturizing agents, it will replenish your skin, not deplete it.
Choose your cleanser with care. Oil-based cleansers are great for removing oil-soluble products, but they cause some people to break out. If your skin is dry and easily irritated, opt for a sensitive skin cleanser. You may even need to change cleansers between seasons, choosing something gentler if your skin dries out in winter.
Your skincare products should help maintain a strong barrier between your skin and everything in the environment that causes wrinkles, sagging, hyperpigmentation, etc. This includes UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, ozone, etc. A good cleanser will help reinforce that barrier.
2. Exfoliate. This can complement cleansing in removing dead skin cells from your face and neck. It’s common for men’s facial skin to age better than women’s because they shave regularly, a form of exfoliation.
There are different types of exfoliants. Some contain acids such as AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA (beta hydroxy acids) that encourage skin renewal and oil flow in the face. AHAs are water-soluble. BHAs are oil-soluble and can go deeper into the pores; however, they’re a little harsher and better for oily skin or those looking to minimize acne and sun damage.
You don’t have to scrub these acid exfoliants into the face; the chemicals will do that for you. But there are other exfoliants that contain small particles to create friction on your face surface and rub off dead skin cells. You don’t want anything with a heavy grain as this could pull and damage skin, but products with wax beads, rice powder, and shell powder are ideal for gentle exfoliating.
Enzyme exfoliants can be the gentlest of all. They rely on enzymes from fruit such as papaya. They are a form of “clean beauty” and can get rid of dead skin layers without being overly harsh.
3. Apply serum. Think of this as vitamins for your face and neck. You should apply serum after exfoliating and before moisturizing. A good serum can infuse your skin with nutrients that we tend to lose with age. Many people skip the serum, but it’s a very important part of slowing the signs of aging, including dark spots, wrinkles, and dull facial texture.
Look for serums that contain Retinol (a form of vitamin A with anti-aging properties) and vitamin C. Vitamin C protects skin from free radical damage and stops collagen from breaking down. Collagen is a protein that keeps skin looking soft and supple. As we age and produce less collagen, our skin can look dry and thin vs. moist and plump.
4. Moisturize. Everyone should moisturize, even those with oily, acne-prone skin.
Moisturizers have two ingredients:
- Humectants, which draw water into your skin
- Emollients, which create a protective film that seals water into your skin and keeps environmental stressors out
Most people should moisturize twice a day. Look for products with an SPF of 30 or higher and lots of vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, vitamin E).
What about toner?
Most skin care experts agree that you do not need to add toner to your skincare regimen. It was important back when we were using lye-heavy soap, which left a layer of soap scum behind. With today’s gentle skin cleansers, toner is not the essential product it once was.
What about my face wrinkles and turkey neck?
While a good skin care regimen can minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin, gravity, genetics, and environmental stressors can all take their toll on our skin. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your skincare routine, but you may want to combine it with other procedures.
Botox can smooth out wrinkles, and fillers can boost saggy skin. These treatments must be administered regularly, but a face and neck lift are long-term solutions that can keep your skin looking taut and youthful for years to come.
If you are healthy and between 40 and 70 years old, a neck lift or face lift may be a good, long-lasting option. Talk to our face and neck lift surgery team here in Lexington to learn which procedures will help you meet your beauty goals.