The First Line Of Defense Against Aging: Healthy Skin

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Written By: Rebecca Brady, RN at The Medical Spa by Dr. Juan A. Brou 

All of us have had that moment, where we look in the mirror and realize the years of tanning beds, iodine, and baby oil have taken their toll on our skin. Our faces look dull and lackluster. We run to the stores in search of help and find literally thousands of products that all promise to repair your skin damage, acne, and wrinkles. But do they really work? The truth is, probably not.

     When you’re ready to start turning back the clock, the first line of defense is an effective skin care line. There are a few guidelines I encourage my patients to follow when trying to find the one that best suits their skin needs. Foremost, the line should have medical-grade, prescription products that you can only get at a physician’s office. If you can find it in the stores or buy it online, most likely, it will give you mediocre results. Second, you must be willing to use your products consistently to achieve the results you’re after. I can give you all the products in the world, but if you do not use them, you won’t have much success.

     In any skin care line you choose, there should be several components in it that all work together to reduce damage. I personally put all of my patients on the OBAGI Nu-Derm System. This line possesses everything you need for dramatic results. The workhorse in the OBAGI line is the potent powerhouse, Retin-A. It will help correct fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and sun damage. It has been well documented that Retin-A has profound regenerative effects on the skin cells and should be started by patients even in their 20’s. Another integral part of the line is hydroquinone, which is found in 2 products in this line. Hydroquinone will lighten any sun damage, blemishes, and freckles to improve and even your skin tone. Many of my patients have tried products that have claim to have these ingredients in them without successful results. Keep in mind that Retin-A and hydroquinone come in various strengths that will produce various results. The products in the OBAGI line have high amounts of these impressive ingredients and can only be purchased at a physician’s office.

     Beginning to utilize Retin-A and hydroquinone is a great start, but there are supporting products that are equally as important in the long run. A good toner, for example, is something most people ignore to use. Toner balances the pH of the skin for increased penetration of the prescriptive products. Without it, you are only achieving about 30% of the result you could by adding it to your regime. Another piece that many patients don’t know about is an antioxidant c-serum. OBAGI boasts an impressive line of Professional C-Serums that use stabilized L-ascorbic acid- the only form of vitamin c that can be absorbed by the skin. It provides maximum daily antioxidant protection against free radicals, which cause premature signs of aging including fine lines and wrinkles. I think of this product like insurance for your skin. Why spend the time and money to correct your damaged skin and not continue to protect it from the elements?

     Of course, this will lead me to discuss the mother of all supportive products: sunscreen. We have been told since childhood that we should be using sunscreen to protect ourselves, but an astonishing number of us don’t use it daily. It is so important to get into the habit of using sunscreen everyday, especially when using Retin-A. Again, all sunscreens are not created equal. Many of the brands from your local stores are bogged down with fillers that won’t protect you.  It is also a myth that if the sunscreen has a super high SPF, you are more protected. You truly only need a 35-50 SPF for daily use. The higher priority here is what ingredients the product has. Ideally, you should choose a brand that contains a high percentage of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and octinoxate. There are several sunscreen options available, including matte and tinted versions, and it is strictly chosen by my patient’s preference.

     Past the fundamentals of the OBAGI line, I use other products to treat other skin problems such as wrinkles around the eyes, rosacea, and acne. There are instances when skin care will not repair all of severely damaged skin by itself. I might opt to use a combination of treatments to achieve the desired result including peels, lasers, microdermabrasion, and Botox. At any rate, no one treatment plan will work for every person, but anyone can knock years off their look by making your skin healthier. It is important to choose a practitioner that is knowledgable and well-trained to guide you through your transformation safely and effectively. I would be more than happy to visit with you about any concerns you may have about your skin and create a treatment plan that will work for you.

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Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon