My Essentials for Healthy Skin
Cathleen A. Olson, Aesthetician; Edina Skin Care Specialists, Minneapolis, Minn.
As an aesthetician, I recognize the importance of smart skin care choices—and that means adhering to the same routine that I recommend to my patients. Just like the rest of the body, our skin requires daily maintenance. It’s important to use products on a daily basis that can effectively hydrate, protect and help improve collagen production. By preventing the signs of aging and treating existing damage, we can make a significant impact in the health of our skin.
Routine exfoliation helps to remove excess dry, dull skin and makes it easier for skin care products to do their job. I prefer chemical exfoliants, as they are less likely to scratch or damage the skin the way that a scrub can. To avoid over-stimulating the skin, aim for exfoliation two to three times per week. Patients with rough or oily skin may also benefit from a resurfacing product containing alpha hydroxy acids, such as the SkinMedica® 15% AHA/BHA Cream.
My must-have cleansing step is the Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing brush. Its oscillating action not only deep-cleans the pores and removes makeup better than manual cleansing alone, but it also encourages better absorption of any creams or serums applied afterward. I’ve seen a huge change in patients’ skin when they pair the skin care brush with topical products.
I simply cannot overemphasize the importance of daily sun protection, regardless of the weather or climate. Sun damage leads to sagging, wrinkles, roughness and laxity. Many of my patients also have discoloration caused by sun exposure. Even after an in-office treatment to reduce their appearance, these unsightly brown spots can reappear after just 10 minutes of sun exposure.
I suggest an aggressive approach to daily protection with a regimen that combines SPF and topical antioxidants. Think of antioxidants as virtual “shields” that protect your skin cells. Antioxidants tackle free radicals—which are known to cause collagen breakdown—and work synergistically with sunscreen to protect the skin against damaging UV rays.
I arm my skin each morning with SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum® prior to my sunscreen application. This all-in-one serum combines full-strength growth factors, potent antioxidants and anti-aging peptides to help support collagen production; it also helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and existing sun damage.
Take advantage of your skin’s natural repair mode as you sleep. This is a prime time to rejuvenate skin and fight the signs of aging with a product containing retinol. Known as the gold standard among anti-aging ingredients, retinol (along with its prescription-strength counterpart, tretinoin) increases exfoliation and help support collagen production. Though it takes up to three months to see the benefits, they are indisputable: smoother texture, increased clarity and skin tone
I also use a moisturizer and nourishing eye cream to fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Look for ingredients like peptides to help support collagen production and hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin and give it a plump, healthy appearance.
Regardless of the routine you choose, don’t forget to listen to your skin. It may need more moisture in the cold winter months or require additional exfoliation in the summer. Find a good skin care specialist who can guide you through your skin’s ups and downs. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ: Treat it with care.