Let’s preface this post by saying that I’m not an expert on skincare – my opinions are just my anecdotal, personal experience. I also don’t battle with too many skin concerns in terms of deep wrinkles or loss of firmness – I would say that I’m in more of a preventative and maintenance mode.
My current primary concerns are:
• Fine lines: laugh lines, forehead, and under eye area
• Sun spots, aka my freckles – I get comments on them [from mostly Asian sales associates] but I’ve had my freckles since I was young, so I’m not sure if they really are a sign of aging?
• Sallow / dull appearance
I mainly use targeted anti-aging products at night before bed, for a few of reasons: typically these products are richer and I’d rather not have greasy skin during the day. Also, when sleeping, the skin goes through a renewal process which lends itself to better absorb and utilize the anti-aging skincare ingredients. Lastly, some anti-aging ingredients, such as retinods, cause sun sensitivity so I would rather avoid that if possible. During the day time my primary focus is sun protection.
This is a family of ingredients (vitamin A) that help stimulate collagen production, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and keep skin feeling firm. This article has a fantastic overview on the various forms of retinoids with a ranking of the strengths of retinoic acid, retinaldehyde, retinol, etc and examples of products that contain these active ingredients.
Avène Eluage Cream – $55 for 30ml (available at drugstores)
Of all the items on this list, this is the one item that I can wholeheartedly vouch for – it truly worked for me to significantly reduce my fine laugh lines. Studies have proved the efficacy of its key active ingredient: Retinaldehyde 0.05%. Retinaldehyde is a form of retinoid that is potentially less irritating while maintaining its effectiveness – and the combination of retinaldehyde and Hyaluronic Acid Fragments [H.A.F.] 0.50% that is present in Eluage Cream helps to deliver anti-aging benefits more effectively. It took consistent nightly usage of 3 months before I saw noticeable results so it’s not a quick fix. I’ve been using this cream for the past 4 years and I will continue to use it as a targeted treatment for fine lines. One thing of note: I did try to use this under my eyes and on my forehead but it was too rich for those areas and caused millia and bumps. I’ve just started using the Avene YsthéAL Emulsion ($51 for 30ml) for my forehead as it is a lighter lotion meant for normal to combination skin. I’m also curious about the Avène RétrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream, which contains double the retinaldehyde strength of the Eluage or YsthéAL – but it’s not available in Canada, so I’ll have to order online.
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol – $30 USD for 30ml (available on Paulaschoice.com)
I don’t really know what this does for my skin. I apply this twice a week – the main thing I have noticed is that it creates a smooth canvas for my face cream. It’s an oily feeling runny serum and I only need a tiny bit to cover my whole face. I originally bought this to help with hyperpigmentation – I’m undecided if I will repurchase this.
Antioxidants help to inhibit free-radicals, which can cause damage to skin cells and can lead to aging. Vitamin C is probably the most popular form of antioxidant in skincare but vitamin E, and CoffeeBerry / pomegranate / green tea extracts are also effective.
Mary Kay TimeWise Replenishing Serum+C – $65 for 44ml (available through Mary Kay reps or online)
This is a lightweight lotion that has helped with improving radiance on my skin, and I noticed a slight reduction of my forehead lines. I like using this on my t-zone on its own during the warmer months – it’s hydrating enough for that area. This is packaged in a vacuum pump – very hygienic and keeps the integrity of the vitamin C.
Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster – $45 USD for 20ml (available on Paulaschoice.com)
When I first tried this, I went overboard with it – applying it nightly at my first go, and applying 4 drops instead of the recommended 2-3. My face erupted in little bumps all over, and the texture became rough – it took me 2 weeks to get it back to normal. When I tried it again, I used only 2 drops and only twice per week and it appears that my skin is tolerating it better now. I’ve only been using this for about a month so it’s hard to report any significant results yet. This serum is a less expensive option to the cult favourite Skinceuticals C E Ferulic serum ($157 USD for 30ml).
Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Serum – $90 for 30ml (available where Shiseido is sold)
This product has bold claims: Restore your complexion’s ability to produce collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid for timeless skin. See results in just one day thanks to a revolutionary new ingredient: Bio-Corrective Complex.
I’m not so sure about seeing results in just one day, but, I do attribute this product to helping to smooth the look of fine lines under my eye area. I mainly like that this serum is lightweight and doesn’t cause milia under my eyes. It contains a bit of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and lots of silicone. I have a back-up bottle of this, and when that’s finished, I will likely not repurchase. I’m probably going to try something from Avene.
For a good overview on key skincare ingredients that help with anti-aging, check out this comprehensive article from Paula Begoun, aka the Cosmetics Cop. Next in my anti-aging skincare crusade, I want to look into products with niacinamide (vitamin-B3 derivative), which is supposed to help with hyperpigmentation. And likely I will try more Avene products, especially that 0.1% retinaldehyde cream.
I’m passionate about 2 other categories of anti-aging products, and I will do individual posts on them: 1) exfoliants and 2) sunscreens
What’s in your anti-aging arsenal?