The original post from Dr. Kundaria can be found on Quora by clicking HERE.
You can’t stop your skin from aging, but to make it show it’s ageless and to lessen the effects of age, there are many good options. In my facial plastic surgery practice, I spend a LOT of time talking about skin care with my patients, as many of them have the same concern you posted in your question.
- Protect your skin from the sun. It doesn’t matter what skin type you have, just protect it with high SPF (40+) and reapply it after 2 hours if you’re in the sun.
- Use whatever face washes, moisturizers, and non-medicated products you want. There are several good options to choose from, and I would not spend a lot of money on these despite what everybody on this site and Instagram is trying to sell you.
- Use a Vitamin A derivative. This means retinol, and tretinoin (Retin-A). Retinol is available over the counter in its weaker forms, but the prescription strength Retin-A is much much better, and there are a couple of products (Renova and Refissa) that are formulated with an emollient or moisturizer to balance the drying effect that these products have on your face. Don’t skimp on this product. Get a good one and use it regularly after the “break-in” period of getting your skin used to it. I tell my patients to start out with once weekly use for 2 weeks, then twice weekly use for 2 weeks, then every other day use after that. If you can use it more often, then that’s great. Some people can’t do this because they get peeling. Either way, if you’re worried about skin aging, then this is the holy grail product.
- Use a Vitamin C serum on your face. This is applied right after you wash your face in the morning, and there are several good products to choose from. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is “the best” because they have done scientific studies against their competitors and have shown superior results based on clinical studies.
- To treat or prevent age spots, sun spots, or pigment changes, a 4% hydroquinone product works very well. In fact, it is the gold standard skin lightener. The Obagi Nu-Derm system uses this, as do many other products. It is not available everywhere, and it is a prescription product in the USA, so you need to get it prescribed or buy it from a doctor’s office. Weaker strengths of hydroquinone can be found in over the counter products, but do not work very well.
- Microneedling treatments can help stimulate collagen in the dermis, giving your skin a “vibrant” look and feel. It thickens the skin, because collagen attracts water, and by thickening your skin, the fine lines and wrinkles are reduced.
- Laser Resurfacing procedures treat both the deeper skin to stimulate collagen production, and the superficial skin to even out skin tones. They are best done in combination with a medical grade skin care regimen and can have dramatic results. My laser patients are some of the happiest patients in my practice. I have experience with fractional erbium laser resurfacing, as well as fractional CO2 laser resurfacing. Both can give great results when delivered by experienced hands, and can “turn the clock back” unlike any other treatment. To get the most out of it, pre-treat your skin with a Retin-A, 4% hydroquinone, and vitamin C serum, and resume this after treatment. It’s the “magical” 1–2 punch that whips your skin into shape.
- IPL Photofacials can reduce the pink coloration that some people can develop over time. Rosacea can be a difficult problem to solve, and IPL is a great solution that treats this with zero to minimal downtime. They also have the added benefit of treating sun spots, or age spots, and have a modest effect on collagen production to improve skin texture. This is the best option for people that cannot tolerate the downtime from a laser procedure or a medium depth chemical peel, though often times multiple treatments are required.
- Chemical peels work very well by disrupting the skin surface cells and replacing them with younger, more vibrant skin. Superficial peels to keep your skin looking great are for maintenance. To treat the skin, then a medium to deep chemical peel can deliver much better results, though there is a downtime associated with the healing. The deeper the peel, the longer the downtime, and the better the result is. There is no cheating this equation.
I know the list is long, but I wanted to make sure that the information was good and accurate. I try to mention brands as little as possible, as there are many good brands and products. For medical grade products, go to a doctor and make sure you are getting prescription strength. There is a false idea that the “half strength” that you can buy over the counter is “half as good” as the prescription strength product. I have not found this to be the case. Though it’s better than nothing, many times it just isn’t strong enough to deliver the results that you can get from proper prescription strength products, which often times end up being cheaper than the stuff everyone is trying to sell you on Instagram.
Natural solutions are great when they work (in cases like vitamin C serum), but I don’t spend too much time trying to be “natural” with my recommendations when people come to see me for results. I focus on products that work and leave the non-medicated stuff (the “feel good” moisturizers and toners) to my patients.
Check out some results from laser resurfacing combined with optimal skin care below: