The dreaded day finally came. You looked in the mirror one morning and there they were.

Crow’s feet. Sagging skin. Frown lines.

Those signs of aging shouting loud and clear that you are no longer a spring chicken.

Now, before you run to Sephora to find the latest miracle cream that’s trending, beware: the vast majority of their products are nothing more than perfume in a jar.

And you can forget those home remedies, too. No amount of aloe vera or flaxseed oil, almond oil or olive oil is going to prevent or reverse anything. DIY is not your friend here.

The sad truth is that cosmetic products are not regulated in this country. Which means cosmetic companies are not required to prove their products will do what they claim to do.

Get rid of fine lines and wrinkles? Puffy eyes? Discoloration? These companies are not required to prove results!

Don’t despair! While your neighborhood beauty store may not hold the answers you’re looking for, your local drugstore and dermatologist will.

Wear Sunscreen

One of the biggest, overlooked secrets to anti-aging is sunscreen. I wish I knew about the harm of UV rays when I was younger. I was raised to believe sunscreen wasn’t important because my skin is brown and won’t get sunburn. THAT’S A MYTH.⁠⠀


⁠I could tell you all about how UV rays cause skin cancer but I don’t think people are going to mind that, as important as it is. But you know what you DO care about? That the sun AGES SKIN!⁠

UV rays cause 90% of skin aging. 75% of that damage happens by the time you’re 20 years old. To protect your skin from the sun, you need to wear sunscreen. The earlier you start, the better. Babies can start wearing sunscreen as early as 6 months.

You need an SPF of at least 30 and YOU NEED TO REAPPLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Studies have shown that people are not wearing enough sunscreen to give them the adequate daily protection they need.

To protect against skin aging (and skin cancer!), wear sunscreen every day even if:

  • It’s raining outside
  • It’s winter
  • You have dark skin
  • You’re indoors all day
  • You do not burn easily
  • Your daily moisturizer contains SPF
  • Your makeup contains SPF

Basically, unless you are planning to spend the rest of your life living in a room with no windows and no artificial light source 24/7, then you need to wear sunscreen!

Retinoids

The second skincare product proven to reverse the signs of aging are retinoids. These are adapalene, tretinoin and tazarotene. Decades of studies show that retinoids can treat both wrinkles and acne. Also, an added benefit of these long-term studies is evidence that retinoids are both proven to work and have no long-term adverse side effects.

Adapalene was recently approved as an over-the-counter product that can be found at your local drugstore as Differin. While it is primarily treated for acne, because it is a retinoid, it most likely has an impact on wrinkles. However, more evidence is needed to support that.

Tretinoin definitely does help with wrinkles and other signs of skin aging. It only comes as a prescription so make a visit with your dermatologist. If you’re like me and you don’t have one, try a tele-health service like Apostrophe.

A word of caution about retinoids: don’t go H.A.M. with these. Slow and steady wins the race. Start with a lower strength and gradually build up your tolerance. It will take at least three months to start seeing the benefits and up to two years before you’re in maintenance mode. People with more severe skin damage will see more noticeable results. Peeling, flaking skin and redness are all possible when you start off with retinoids. It will get worse before it gets better. The stronger the prescription, the more severe the side effects.

I repeat: go slow.

Takeaway:

If you’re looking to prevent or slow down your skin’s signs of aging, stop wasting your time on products at the beauty counter. The only anti-aging products that have been proven to slow down or even reverse wrinkles, sagging and discoloration are sunscreen and retinoids. There’s no such thing as wearing too much sunscreen. However, when it comes to retinoids, a little goes a long way and you need to be patient.

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