I don't know about any of you, but as a teen I totally failed in the skincare department. I had breakouts constantly. And just when I thought they were going away, a new one would start. I couldn't fight the urge to pick at the blemishes, which always made it worse. (Seriously. How hard is it to not pick at them, though?!)
What's even worse than that? I went tanning all the time, with no sunscreen, to try to clear it all up. Not good. At the time I always looked forward to being in my 20s—"The age where I would have perfect skin." Ha!
Today, my skin still isn't what I dreamed it would be (as I now know many women my age can relate to). I still struggle with the random breakouts I thought I'd leave behind me. Plus, not only do I have to worry about breakouts, I also have to start thinking about fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage that causes age spots and hyperpigmentation.
A great benefit to working in the aesthetic industry is that I've been trained well and exposed to a number of products and procedures that have helped me on my journey to "perfect" skin. So where does one start on their journey?
My No. 1 recommendation for ANYONE at ANY AGE: Make sure you're wearing sunscreen EVERY DAY!
Yes, EVERY DAY—even if you're going to be inside all day, even if it isn't sunny out. Fun fact: The sun's rays can even penetrate through windows and clouds, and wearing sunscreen is your best defense against the sun's damaging rays. Not only does sunscreen help protect you from more serious illnesses like skin cancer, it also helps to prevent hyperpigmentation and the breakdown of cells that causes fine lines and wrinkles.
One of my favorite sunscreens carried at CPS is SkinMedica's Total Defense and Repair SPF 34. I love that I am getting the kind of protection my skin needs, along with the anti-aging benefits from the advanced antioxidant complex in it. And did I mention it goes on wonderfully under makeup? Yes: a sunscreen/anti-aging product that really works under makeup!
Second, use an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are a very important part of any anti-aging regimen: They protect your skin from environmental factors that cause your cells to break down. When cells break down, it translates to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, lack of elasticity and hyperpigmentation. While there are many antioxidants to choose from, one of my favorites is SkinCeutical's CE Ferulic. It's a phenomenal serum that you apply in the morning under your sunscreen for additional protection.
Now that we've covered daytime protection, let's talk about night-time products.
The single most impactful product you can use at night is Retinol.
Retinol helps with cell turnover—speeding up the process—which translates to smoother looking skin, decreased breakouts, minimized pores, and minimized fine lines and wrinkles, as well as lightened hyperpigmentation. Because Retinol increases cellular turnover and acts as an exfoliating product, initially your skin can look red and dry. For anyone starting a retinol regimen, I suggest starting to apply it once or twice weekly and slowly increasing the number of applications, until your skin builds up a tolerance for it. You can also start with a "lower dose," like SkinMedica's Retinol 0.25 and move up to 0.5 or 1.0 when you're ready.
Although my skin is still a work in progress, by using medical grade skincare products and skincare treatments I have been able to correct much of the damage caused during my teens. It's never too early to start caring for your skin, and I wish I would've known what I know now when I was younger. If you have questions and concerns, it never hurts to have a consultation! My colleagues and I are committed to providing the best level of care, with each individual patient's needs in mind.
Written by Jill Koetje, Aesthetician and certified Coolsculpting and Laser Specialist at Centre for Plastic Surgery.