Pretty Is, What Pretty Does

Beauty is a reflection from within, would you agree?  It’s a subconscious thing, we just know this to be true. Our mother’s taught us this, and their mother’s and so on. I have talked to my boys about this too-“Now, you know honey, she may have a pretty face but it’s the inside that counts.”  “Ya, Ya, I know mom, you’ve only told me a thousand times.” And the beat goes on…

Beauty to me has nothing to do with you as a HUMAN, your outer shell. It is your BEING, your inner-self (your soul) that speaks volumes. You can tell when beauty enters a room. It’s a smile, a pretense, an aura that makes you feel invited and warm. To me, that is pretty. Something else that is pretty is self-care. No, it’s not a selfish thing to care about yourself. In fact, it’s vital that you do. You are more useful to others when you care about yourself. Self-love can’t help but radiate outward and gush all over the person next to you. It’s contagious!

So, what do I mean by caring for yourself? Lets start with the most basic.

  1. EAT HEALTHY FOOD. We all know what that means- shopping in the produce isle. Wholesome foods spell better health, less inflammation and feeling good.
  2. STRETCH AND MOVE! Yes, get up and move. Dance, take a walk in nature, join a gym, whatever it takes, but not moving and stretching as we age, your muscles will begin to shrink. Hence, pain and immobilization. I stretch a 1/2 hour twice a day. It has helped stiffness and pain immensely.
  3. DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE. Taking a few minutes to sit down and really enjoy a cup of coffee without your phone, or running yourself a nice bubble bath or taking good care of your skin. That’s one of my favorite ‘self-care’ things I enjoy, and I do it all in the comfort of my home. In fact, I look forward to it too. I have since I was 14 when my mom gave me a jar of ponds cold cream to wash my face. “Don’t use soap on your face dear, it’s too harsh,” she would say. My mother had the most beautiful, soft skin. She also taught me always to take my make-off before bed. And I never missed a night. Thanks mom!

So, what have you done for your skin lately? If you’re a skincare passionate like me, the answer is, everything! Because there is just about every potion out there claiming to fix anything. I remember my sister saying when we were younger, “I hope they find the fountain of youth before I’m 50”. While that may be a bit of a pipe-dream (there’s still gravity to deal with) there are ways to keep your skin looking fresh, less wrinkly, and prettier without breaking the bank. Let me explain.

Consistency

First and foremost (and this is the deal breaker folks) consistency. If you know you’re not consistent about skincare, (and believe me, I’ve met many that couldn’t be bothered with potions and lotions) then this article is not for you. And please, you won’t hurt my feelings by moving on to another topic. But if you are dedicated and want to learn more, I would love to share with you my tried and true tips on wrinkles and fresher looking skin. You really do deserve it dolls? So, pour yourself something hot to drink and let’s get started!

In A Nut Shell

You’re covered in dead skin cells!  Sorry, it’s not pretty, but there’s no sweet talking out of this one. And they’ve been dead for at least a month. This is serious stuff. Not to mention, kinda gross too. Our body will naturally shed millions of dead skin cells a day allowing new ones to travel to the surface as the old flake off, but the process is slow (as we age it gets even slower) and the “buildup” we accumulate from the dead skin cells remaining on the surface, creates a substance called “keratin” –the body’s natural process of protection. We do need dead skin cells to protect us from the elements, but a buildup of this ‘protection’ is counterproductive. Without regular exfoliation, you’ll accumulate an abundance of dead surface skin cells which create clogged pores, discoloration and aging – and the most common is dull, lifeless looking skin. Who needs that, right!

Exfoliation

Exfoliation removes dead surface skin cells which helps reveal the more luminous, younger looking skin beneath.

I use prescription strength Retin-A  0.1% (also known by its generic name, tretinoin)—potent derivative of vitamin A. You need a prescription for this. I started with the 0.5 about 15 years ago and worked my way up to the strongest strength. There really is no other topical agent out there with more scientific studies supporting its efficacy in terms of reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Tretinoin can be a little irritating when you first start using it —it’s not uncommon to experience some redness, peeling, and sun sensitivity. And that is the main reason so many stop using it. But, if you can bite the bullet, what I call, the ugly stage of dryness and peeling for the first few weeks, your skin will eventually adjust and the benefits will be amazing! Really!

How It Works

Tretinoin truly is the gold standard of anti-aging.  Prescription Retin-A first became popular more than 20 years ago as an acne treatment. But doctors and patients soon noticed another benefit, one with enormous impact on those who were looking for a way to keep skin vibrant and smooth.

Retin-A users reported improvements in skin texture, including diminished wrinkles and brown spots. Early studies soon confirmed its anti-aging effects. In 1988, Dr. Voorhees and his colleagues at Michigan published the first double-blind study of Retin-A’s effect on photo-damaged skin and found that all 30 patients who completed the 16-week study showed statistically significant improvement. “There is so much historical evidence that this ingredient works better than anything else, said Dr. Joel L. Cohen, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado, and the effects are more than superficial”. “It actually works to remodel skin on a cellular level,” Dr. Cohen said.

Need More Proof?

Skin cells contain retinoid receptors that help regulate how the cell functions. As people age, their cells behave more erratically. “But consistent use of Retin-A helps normalize the cells,” said Dr. Min-Wei Christine Lee, a dermatologist in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Retin-A can improve skin texture and fade dark spots and freckles because it causes skin cells to turn over more rapidly. It shrinks dilated pores and improves cell turnover within the pores so they are less likely to clog and become blackheads and whiteheads. But what has earned Retin-A its long-held reputation is its ability to affect the retention of collagen.

BUILDS COLLAGEN, YES!

Collagen is what gives skin its structure, firmness and elasticity. Repeated sun exposure breaks down collagen and, with age, cells produce less and less collagen to repair the damage. Skin wrinkles, sags and loses fullness.

Retin-A does double duty in helping to boost collagen. According to research at Michigan, it has the potential to stop photoaging before it starts. “The retinoids prevent the rise of collagenase after UV exposure,” Dr. Voorhees said. Collagenase is what breaks down collagen. But regular use of a retinoid product also increases the amount of new collagen formed, research has found, and that new collagen will last for years.

Why Isn’t Everyone Using it?

So, if Retin-A is so effective and so well studied, why isn’t everyone using it? Many dermatologists blame a lack of patient education. “It’s one of the most misunderstood drugs,” said Dr. Kenneth Beer, a dermatologist in Palm Beach, Fla., and a clinical investigator for Allergan, the maker of prescription Avage and Tazorac. People use Retin-A too much, use it too often, experience negative side effects and then give up on it too soon, doctors say.

The problem with Retin-A is that it may actually make skin look worse — with redness, flakiness and peeling —for up to eight weeks. “But by 24 weeks, patients will see dramatic, marked improvements,” Dr. Lee said.

Don’t Give Up!

Manufacturers have come up with ways to make it more tolerable, less irritating and more effective. Brand-name prescription versions contain emollient moisturizers and have more-advanced delivery systems for getting the active ingredient into the skin. These additions are the main difference between generic Retin-A and the pricier name-brand versions (a large tube of a name brand will run about $150 versus about $80 for a generic). ( I google a Retin A coupon code and fill the prescription at Walmart for half the price).

But in every case, patience and common sense are required. “You need to take six weeks to ramp up very slowly, but people will glob it on every night from the start and then call their doctor in a panic that their skin is red and peeling,” Dr. Beer said.

Doctors generally recommend using no more than a pea-size dab for the entire face. They advise using the product once every three nights (or once a week if skin feels irritated) for a couple of weeks, then every other night, eventually working up to every night if the skin can handle it. (Seriously, no more than a pea size on a freshly washed clean, and dry face. I wait 20 minutes before I apply my Retin-A then I add my moisturizer).

Dr. Cohen cautions that Retin-A is not recommended for pregnant women or people with rosacea (a condition that causes skin redness). He said it is wise to limit its use with other potential irritants, like glycolic acids and vitamin C. Many doctors recommend applying a moisturizer over Retin-A (especially the generic versions) to help soothe skin, but suggest first waiting at least 20 minutes for the product to be absorbed.

Doctors also warn that newly irritated skin requires vigilant sun protection, and there are some concerns that waxing while using Retin-A may tear the skin.

OTC retinoid products include Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Intensive Eye Cream, RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, Avon Anew Line Eliminator Neo-Retinol Line Plumper SPF 15, MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel and SkinCeuticals retinol 0.5 and 1.0 formulas, Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment.

MORE EXFOLIATES, AND IT LOOKS LIKE A LIPSTICK!

Ever wonder why guys look much younger than women? Because they shave, and shaving is a form of exfoliation. And by the way ladies, Vellus hair—endearingly known as peach fuzz— we all have it, and if you took a zoom mirror and checked out your profile, you’ll know what I’m talking about. While it’s often barely noticeable, there is a pretty way to remove it. “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, shave my face”?! I know, it freaked me out too, but even Marilyn Monroe shaved her Vellus hair. And no, it doesn’t grow back thicker or longer. That is a huge misconception. Trust me on this! I did a lot of research and I’ve worked in spa’s my whole life and watched all the girls doing this, and it grows back the same. Another reason why to rid your face of peach fuzz, (another spa girl beauty wonder) your make-up will go on flawlessly. Otherwise the foundation will just sit on top of the hair. Makes perfect sense, right? I buy the pastel blades online or at TJMAX or Marshalls and the Finishing Touch Flawless available online or BedBathAndBeyond. GAME CHANGER LADIES!

CHEMICAL DEFOLIATORS, AHA’s

Are they different? YES!

A AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliate can make a world of difference in your skin’s appearance.

AHAs (alpha hydroxy acidsglycolic and lactic acids) and BHA (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) act to “unglue” the bonds holding dull, dead skin on the surface. Once those bonds are broken—gently and evenly—skin naturally sheds. So, although you won’t actually see your skin exfoliating, you’ll soon see the smoother, younger-looking skin hiding beneath.

Retin-A and alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, work to boost your skin’s natural collagen formation while increasing its elastic fibers to improve your skin tone and minimize wrinkles. Because they perform different functions, using the two together improves your skin more effectively than using either product on its own. For example, Retin-A irritates skin while alpha hydroxy acid is an anti-inflammatory that balances the effects of Retin-A.

The best AHA I have tried to date is the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial   This stuff is the Bomb! Check out the reviews, it really does what it claims. Pricey, yes. But, if you have a Sephora in your area, ask for a sample. Or, some of the kits from Sephora ‘Favorites’ will include the drunk elephant baby facial. I bought this kit, however, it’s no longer available online but might be in stores. It’s the ultimate for winterizing dry skin.

HOW TO USE

Timing is everything, and use your skin as your guide. I use my Retin-A at night (but not on the nights I use my AHA), and glycolic acid twice a week. (Never use them together, or any type of Vit C ingredient. It’s too irritating).  I love the  Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. The nights I use the Drunk Elephant facial are Sunday and Wednesday evenings, and I apply a good moisturizer (I love the one by Lancer in this kit)  and a facial oil (in kit) afterwards. This facial does sting a bit, but that means it’s working.

LINKED PRODUCTS I USE

Kale Green Tea Cleanser

RETIN A  (PRESCRIPTION NEEDED) Coupon Code

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil 

 FINISHING TOUCH WOMEN’S HAIR REMOVER

Smiles from Jessy

Aging gracefully has never been more fun!  In fact, as an over-50 gal, I feel more confident now than ever! I’m having a blast!

Feel free to email me about any questions. I’m happy to help!

I hope you have fun trying my skin routine. I have much more to share but that will be on a later post.

Here’s to glowing skin!!!

Jo-Anne xo

Sources-

 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/30/fashion/30skin.html
http://www.retinol.com/retinol-tretinoin-glycolic-acid-kojic-acid/