We’ve all got to start everything somewhere and sometime: dermatologic care is no different. Many of my patients come to me as newbies to the whole “skin care“, “anti-aging”, and “skin rejuvenation” thing. When exploring the world of dermatologic care and treatment, people often wonder when they should start, what they should do, how often they should do it and how to make sure things look natural.
For this first installment of Ask Dr. Steele, we’re answering some of the most common questions we get from anti-aging newbies!
1. When should I start seeing a dermatologist about signs of aging?
When one is just starting to see little changes in their appearance, it’s the perfect time to intervene and make minor adjustments to ease the aging process. The earlier the better, but it’s never too late to do something.
There is a paradigm shift—while it used to be that people waited until they were older and their skin was noticeably wrinkled, deflated and damaged by the sun to try to reverse the process, the results weren’t great. They ended up looking puffed up, distorted and just weird.
Now we know better. We achieve a far more natural and desirable look by investing in your skin early and making prudent choices for rejuvenating procedures at the optimal time.
I’ve set out to demystify the ideal anti-aging routine in my “How To Age Like a Celebrity” blog post. It contains a checklist of daily/weekly skin care habits and monthly/quarterly/yearly treatments I recommend to my patients.
2. What is the difference between using a prescription-strength retinoid vs. using over-the-counter products containing retinol?
Retinoids are generally stronger than Retinols. Retinols are available over the counter (at the drugstore or online), but Retinoids must come from a doctor’s office or pharmacy. A lower strength retinoid is stronger than a higher strength retinol. You will get better results with a retinoid.
Retinoids do so many things for the skin that they are a must for almost everyone! They promote regular cell turnover which helps with acne by preventing clogged pores, whiteheads and blackheads. In addition, retinoids cause a chemical exfoliation which means that they help remove any damaged, discolored layers of skin. Another awesome property of retinoids is that they promote new collagen production which keeps the skin supple, soft and radiant.
3. My toiletries bag is packed with skin care products – toners, lotions and other potions I never get around to using. I want to simplify! What are the basic types of products I need in my arsenal?
Use products that serve multiple purposes whenever possible. That’s one reason I like SkinCeuticals antioxidants, they are a blend of the most potent antioxidants in the most potent forms so you don’t have to use a separate, C, E, etc. Similarly, a good cleanser will not only cleanse, but help address acne, pores, irritated or inflamed skin, etc. depending on your skin type.
Don’t buy everything new that comes out. Choose the things that are important for your skin. Use a tinted sunscreen that not only protects, but also gives a little color.
It’s also ok to have different regimens during different times of year, you don’t have to use everything all the time. You may use your brightening/skin color evening products more heavily in the fall and winter and your lower strength retinoid in the summer.
Check out my daily and weekly skin care checklists for recommendations on specific products to use each morning and night.
4. I’m afraid of needles! What are the best non-invasive cosmetic treatments for preventative anti-aging in one’s late 20s?
There aren’t great alternatives to relaxants (like Botox) and fillers (like Juvederm and Restylane) but you can buy some time before you should turn to them by using proper skin care and dermatological treatments. Technology continues to bring us new, non-invasive procedures that can resurface, rejuvenate and refresh the skin. Lasers and micro needling can address discoloration, broken blood vessels, redness, pore size, texture and wrinkles often with minimal downtime. Ultherapy is a revolutionary device that uses ultrasound therapy to lift and tighten the skin. Chemical peels can be very useful in treating acne and/or evening out skin color and addressing spots.
5. I’ve started looking into procedures to correct the early stages of aging, but I can’t seem to shake this one worry – will I still look like myself?!
Yes! I know it’s scary because you want a natural result. The goal is to start young in order to use only minimal amounts of product as we go to merely keep up with what you’re gradually losing or changing. After treatment most of my patients’ significant others don’t even know they’ve done anything, they just think they’re just looking really good. The desired results will look subtle and it will prove to be hard to really figure out why you look so good…good makeup, a new haircut, well rested, etc.
The types of treatments we perform are aimed at helping you look like the best version of yourself. The answers above and our anti-aging checklists should equip you with the basic knowledge you need to maintain your youthful glow.
Did we miss any of your questions or concerns about anti-aging? Let us know in the comments or on social media!