When it comes to fighting the signs of aging, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Some of it comes from savvy businesspeople trying to earn a dollar selling you a product or program that promises miracles. Some of the myths and misinformation simply stems from old wive’s tales or "facts" passed down from one generation to the next, without any proof.
Whether you’re just beginning to fight the signs of aging on your face or have been using products for years, it helps to be able to separate fiction from reality. You’ll not only know what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be able to save your pennies for treatments and products that can actually help.
If It Hurts, It’s Working
Some of the ingredients found in anti-aging skincare products do cause a bit of irritation. For example, retinols tend to cause some redness and flakiness of the skin, especially when you first start using the product. But constant irritation or a face that looks constantly flushed isn’t a good thing. If the product you’re using on your skin is causing you pain, it’s a good idea to see your plastic surgeon and discuss your options. It might be that you need a different formulation or that you need to try a different ingredient.
Facial Exercises Will Keep Wrinkles Away
Certain muscle movements in the face, such as furrowing the brows or squinting, can lead to permanent lines and creases over time. Products such as Dysport and Botox are designed to block the nerve signals to certain muscles, so that you don’t make the movements that lead to certain wrinkles.
Despite the fact the some wrinkles are actually caused by facial movements, a number of people believe that certain exercises, sometimes called face yoga, will keep wrinkles away. There’s little proof that working out your face will actually help keep away wrinkles or improve its elasticity over time. If you’re concerned about wrinkles, you’re better off learning more about injectable fillers and other treatments that can help smooth fine lines.
Daily Exfoliation Is a Must
Cell turnover, or sloughing off dead skin cells, is an important step when it comes to fighting the signs of aging. Those dead cells have a tendency to build up on your face, making your skin look dull. They can also clog pores, leading to problems with pimples or overly large looking pores.
While you want to exfoliate or banish the dead skin cells from time to time, there is such as a thing as too much exfoliation. You’ll usually be able to tell if you’re being too rough on your skin. It will feel dry and more sensitive. You might also have more redness and irritation. If you are going overboard with exfoliation, take a step back. Try using your facial scrub or brush just once or twice a week, to see if you notice an improvement.
It’s OK to Skip Sunscreen
While it’s true that much of the sun damage to your skin takes place before you leave your teen years, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to skimp on the sunscreen during your adult years. The sun is one of the leading extrinsic causes of aging, which means you want to do all that you can to reduce your exposure to it, whether you’re 21 or 61.
Get in the habit of wearing sunscreen every day, even when it’s raining or cloudy. And, make sure you’re using enough of it. You want to put at least a teaspoon of sunscreen on your face. If you’re relying on the sunscreen found in your foundation or other cosmetics, you might not be using an adequate amount.
A Facelift Will Freeze Time
If you decide that a facelift is the best way to tackle your aging concerns, it’s important to understand that the surgery may turn back the clock when it comes to your appearance, but that it won’t press stop or pause on the aging process.
It might not stop time, but a facelift does have a number of benefits. For one thing, it can take about a decade off of your appearance. The results also last much longer than the results from non-surgical options. In many cases, the results from a facelift can last for more than a decade.
It’s important to remember two things when it comes to fighting the signs of aging. One is that it’s possible to try to do too much and to cause more damage to your skin than help. Another is that there’s no one size fits all solution to the aging process.
Dr. Jessica Kulak is an aging face specialist at the Naderi Center in Virginia and Maryland. She can help you determine which products and treatments are ideal for you and can help you sort through common myths about the aging process. For a consultation with Dr. Kulak, call (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland.