Don't Believe the Hype

Hype or Hope? Most skin care products promising anti-aging benefits are simply variations on moisturizer and sunscreen. Look at the ingredients, not the marketing ploy.

To help navigate through the often muddy waters of choosing the skin care product best suited for your personal needs among the blinding array of options, I'm here to help. That is why I created Surface Deep.

It takes two key steps:

1. Know what ingredients to look for to suit the problem you are trying to fix

2. Adjust your habits and behaviors related to your skin for the best outcome.

1. Select ingredients and check the label
Do not purchase expensive creams, products, or gimmicks without doing some investigating. Most skin care products that claim to reverse aging are simply variations of moisturizers. There are only a handful of proven ingredients (that is, medically proven with rigorous clinical testing and years of experience in use) that actually benefit the skin. Consumers need to pay much more attention to what is contained in a product. The following list of ingredients will help guide you in what to look for in over-the-counter products. These skin-boosting ingredients would be listed as either the "active ingredient" on the label, or they may appear among the complete list of ingredients found in the item. (In a later blog post, I'll go over some items to make sure do not show up in your product, depending on your skin type. That's a whole different discussion.)

Product ingredient:

Salicylic acid

Alpha hydroxy acid (aka glycolic acid)

Antioxidant

Vitamin C

Zinc oxide

Hyaluronic acid

Petrolatum

Retinol (aka retinoic acid)*

Use it for:

acne, oily skin, clogged pores, flaky skin

fine lines, clogged pores, dull skin, mild brown spots

sun damage, brown spots, dull skin

red skin, spider-like capillaries, acne, rosacea

skin protection from ultraviolet light

moisturization

lubrication, skin protection from chafing, irritation

exfoliation, fine lines, brown spots, acne, dull skin

*most dermatologists agree this is the gold standard of ingredients for most types of skin

2. Avoid skin sabotaging habits.
Before investing in an expensive product or procedure, ask yourself certain questions: Is what I am trying to improve about my skin something I can prevent from happening in the first place? What is causing this skin issue? Do I abuse my skin without really knowing it? A highly educated patient of mine, who is a PhD and therapist, posed the following to me during a recent visit: She asked me if I thought it would be OK if she went to a tanning salon to get a "base tan" prior to going on an upcoming vacation. She then asked what she could do to get rid of brown spots on her face and hands that she hates, inquiring if laser treatments could help. Do you see the problem here? The base tan she is seeking from the tanning bed is part of the very cause of those spots she doesn't like. My advice was not to spend thousands of dollars on laser unless she is fond of tossing money into the wind. No laser on earth can prevent brown spots, which make the skin look aged. Keeping the spots from occurring in the first place is the key.

 
 
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