Beauty

Look young and beautiful with these skin-care tips

Author: Canadian Living

Beauty

Look young and beautiful with these skin-care tips

The face is the front line of the aging-skin war as we do close combat with droopy eyelids, age spots, lines, and wrinkles. Signs of aging also make themselves known in other areas, most notably the neck, chest, and hands. The neck can sag with age, creating bands of wrinkled skin or neck wattles. Skin on the chest is extremely thin and often exposed, and it's not uncommon to see older women who've spent a lot of time in the sun with crepey, blotchy, wrinkled skin in their décolletage. The hands are exposed not only to the sun but also to chemicals such as those in dish-washing soap and bleach, often resulting in wrinkles and visible blood vessels.

So, what's to be done? First of all, adopt what we call the "vampire strategy": stay out of the sun. Protect your skin from the sun's rays when you're outdoors. This requires just a little attention and planning, but it's hard to get some women, especially young women, to take sun protection seriously. It's never too early to start wearing a "broad-spectrum" SPF 15–30 sunscreen, one that protects against UVA and UVB rays; avoiding sun exposure between ten a.m. and two p.m. during the summer; and wearing protective clothing and hats. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two to three hours. If you live in a region where the sun is more intense, bump the SPF to 30–45.

The easiest way to ensure that you're always protected is to apply a daily moisturizer with a built-in sunscreen. To help remember your sunscreen daily, keep it at your sink. In the morning after brushing your teeth, immediately apply your sunscreen. And if you simply must have a tan, get one that comes from a bottle.

Other basic ways to prevent excessive aging of the skin are also no-brainers: cleanse your skin every morning with a product that's appropriate to your skin type, drink six to eight glasses of water daily, and eat a diet that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, or 1,000-milligram daily supplements) and antioxidants (brightly colored fruits and vegetables, berries, green tea, and nuts rich in selenium and zinc). Get lots of sleep, exercise regularly, and try calming disciplines such as yoga, tai chi, or nature hikes.

Read more of this article here.

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Excerpted from The Beauty Prescription, copyright 2008 by Debra Luftman and Eva Ritvo. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

Other skin antiaging options range from simple supplements and home products to in-office procedures that should be done only by a physician:

Supplements: Consider taking folic acid, magnesium, and calcium, as well as omega-3s, coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Always consult your doctor before starting a supplement regimen.

Moisturizers: If you have oily skin, you may not need moisturizer. For others, used regularly, effective moisturizers protect the skin while sealing in moisture.

Cosmeceuticals: Some new lotions and creams contain therapeutic ingredients such as peptides, growth factors, or antioxidants.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E and beta-carotene help prevent cellular damage from external forces, such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and the sun, and from internal forces, such as stress hormones and the normal oxidation of food. They are a trusty anti-aging ally.

Peptides: These chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) help stimulate the skin's natural rebuilding process by facilitating communication between the skin's layers.

Retinoids: Retin-A and Renova are commonly used prescription topicals containing vitamin A derivatives that stimulate collagen production, balance skin tone, and reduce dark spots from photoaging. For people who are sensitive, there are some well-tolerated over-the-counter retinol products. Women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid retinoids.

Bleaching creams: These can reduce age spots, treat melasma (dark facial skin coloration), and brighten the skin. Prescription preparations tend to be more effective than OTC products and often contain ingredients such as hydroquinone, an organic skin bleaching compound (examples: Triluma, Lustra, Epiquin).

Botox: The most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States (done more than three million times a year), Botox uses botulinum toxin to reduce facial muscle contractions that produce forehead lines and wrinkles.

Dermal fillers: Ranging from collagen to hyaluronic acid (the skin's natural moisturizing agent), fillers are injected under the skin to reduce the appearance of nasolabial folds (the lines that run from the nose to the corners of the mouth) and wrinkles.

Physical exfoliation: Microdermabrasion is a manual exfoliation technique that removes the dead cells that often clog the outer layers of the skin, stimulating collagen production and new cell growth.

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Excerpted from The Beauty Prescription, copyright 2008 by Debra Luftman and Eva Ritvo. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

Chemical peels or chemical exfoliation: Commonly done using alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids (natural acids in dairy products, sugar, and citrus fruits), chemical peels unclogpores and remove damaged epidermal layers, making them effective for treating mild hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkles. For more serious skin problems, peels can also be done using trichloroacetic acid, which is stronger.

Intense pulse light: Also known as photorejuvenation, this procedure uses light to treat brown spots, broken capillaries, and rosacea and to tighten pores.

Photodynamic therapy: This remedy for extreme sun damage and precancers uses Levulin, a topical solution applied to the skin, prior to treatment with a laser or intense pulse light.

Lasers: A multitude of lasers can treat various skin problems. For antiaging, there are nonablative lasers (Cooltouch), minimally ablative lasers (erbium, or Laser Peel), and ablative lasers (CO2). Ablation refers to removing the top layers of the skin.

Fractional skin resurfacing: This procedure, which uses a laser to produce thousands of tiny, deep columns in the skin, is a treatment for acne scars, brown spots, fine wrinkles, and melasma. Fraxel and Affirm are examples.

Radio-frequency treatments: Avoid the knife with devices such as Thermage, which uses radio waves to revitalize collagen and elastin, tightening the skin.

Infrared-based tightening procedures: Titan is an example of this technology that uses infrared radiation to heat collagen, causing the skin to contract.

Making Changes
Dr. Debra: Make a list of your three top cosmetic priorities (fat reduction, skin improvement, wrinkle reduction, acne treatment, teeth bleaching, hair coloring, etc.). Create a budget and a time line for accomplishing them. Gone are the days when women waited until a certain age to enhance and improve their looks with some judicious cosmetic surgery. Today's women need a life plan for beauty maintenance that includes small cosmetic replacements and enhancements along the road, ranging from as early as the teens to seventy and beyond. Take your list to your facialist, hairdresser, dentist, and dermatologist, as appropriate, and get an honest assessment of the risks, benefits, and costs of each procedure.

Dr. Eva: Make sure that your pursuit of beauty is coming from a healthy place. These enhancements should make you look and feel better. Signs that your beauty regimen is becoming unhealthy include the following: spending money you don't have; being repeatedly dissatisfied with treatments; feeling that no matter what you do, you will never look good enough; spending excessive time on grooming; and allowing your appearance to negatively affect your work or relationships.

Read more:
9 ways to look good in photos
Does your hair look old?
Timeless beauty

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Excerpted from The Beauty Prescription, copyright 2008 by Debra Luftman and Eva Ritvo. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

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Look young and beautiful with these skin-care tips

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