Anti-Aging Skin Care

Full disclosure, I am not a dermatologist or aesthetician. I do have a background in chemistry and am a beauty enthusiast. At 59, I am frequently asked what I do for my skin and am writing this blog to share with friends or those interested.

In addition to the following skin care regimen, know that the food you eat and the lifestyle you follow makes a difference in how your genes express the information coded in your DNA. One of the strongest accelerators of aging is inflammation. A healthy diet and lifestyle combats the inflammation and subsequent damage. Focus on eating foods that are anti-inflammatory: fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, and avoid fried foods, sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates. Eat six or more servings of produce since it contains lots of skin-protecting antioxidants. For a list of specific foods go to this blog.

Everyone’s skin is different. So I advise you to see a dermatologist or master esthetician to further guide in in choosing the routine that is best for you. My skin care regime is designed with the goal of antiaging. If you’d like to see what I recommend for acne issues, see this blog. 

These are the steps I follow morning and evening. I even keep this list in my bathroom for reference:

In my research I have found that there are key ingredients that should be part of an overall skin care routine. My personal goals are to prevent acne, improve skin texture, discourage whiteheads and blackheads, get rid of and prevent hyperpigmentation and age spots, minimize wrinkles, reduce pore size and prevent further aging.  

If you have acne and would like a researched regimen for that go to this blog. And this blog discusses the diet and acne connection.

So here are some of the key ingredients that can help with those goals.

Proven acne treatment ingredients include: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, retinol, and zinc pyrithione.

Ingredients that help fight skin aging include: retinol, glycolic acid, green tea antioxidants and vitamin C, and broad spectrum sunscreens.

Ingredients that work for hyperpigmentation include: broad spectrum sunscreens, retinol, vitamin C, glycolic acid, hydroquinone, and some botanical lighteners such as kojic acid.

Moisturizers. The ingredients to look for: hyaluronic acid, ceramides, sodium PCA, glycerin, glycerol, silicones, petrolatum, salicylic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids.

Hydroxy Acids are compounds that exfoliate surface cells and encourage cell turnover, helping skin to look and feel younger. There are 2 main types: Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs).

Salicylic is a BHA. Beta hydroxy acid penetrates into the pore which contains sebum and exfoliate the dead skin cells that are built up inside the pore. This helps minimize clogged pores. So, if you have blackheads and whiteheads, also referred to as noninflammatory acne, try Salicylic acid. It is often marketed for acne in general, but it usually works best on noninflammatory acne. It naturally exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells that can lead to blackheads and whiteheads. Look for it in cleansers, toners, and moisturizers. I use AlphaRet Clearing Serum. 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs exfoliate surface cells and encourage cell turnover. The AHA Glycolic acid is small and get into the skin. It boosts collagen production and elastin production; also removes waste and dead skin cells. AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin. Sunscreen MUST be applied when using an alpha hydroxy acid product. I use Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic. 

Just like we need to eat antioxidants to defend our bodies against free radicals we need antioxidants in skin care products to help protect the skin from deterioration and defend against environmental assaults that lead to signs of aging. Antioxidants: Green tea extract, ferulic acid, grape extract, resveratrol, quercetin, vitamin C, vitamin E, epigallocatechin-3 gallate, superoxide dismutase, willow herb) extract, feverfew extract, and licorice extract.

These are the products I am currently using. There are lots of great products and even more worthless ones. I trust for their reviews. Look there for recommendations or to research what you are currently using. Don’t rely on Amazon’s reviews which are just users and not skin experts. Look the product up on Beautypedia and there you will find expert reviews.






Use an antioxidant serum under your sunscreen. Sunscreen ingredients like Octinoxate and Avobenzone produce free radicals when they absorb UV rays. and you need the serum to counteract them. Antioxidants IN sunscreen formulas don’t work as well as layering an antioxidant serum plus sunscreen.


Night Moisturizers







I alternate between these three face sunscreens. Use on face, neck and chest. All have zinc without the chemical sunscreens that can cause cancer. Zinc acts as a physical shield between skin and the sun. That should be in all sunscreen. DO NOT USE the chemical sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone. For more info research that on EWG.Org. Okay chemicals to use are: octinoxate and octisalate.  Zinc PLUS Titanium can cause breakouts.  Octinoxate PLUS Zinc is a grat combination. I also apply a lip sunscreen with SPF all day long. I like this lip balm because it contains zinc, a mineral that blocks the sun. This product does not turn your lips white. And it doesn’t contain the harmful chemical oxybenzone.
I also use a body sunscreen on hands and any other exposed skin during the day even if I am not going outside.
Wear sunscreen even if you are not planning on going outside. UVA rays inside a building cause wrinkles and UVB (B for beach or burn) causes skin cancer and wrinkles. So yes, you do want to use a sunscreen even if you are not going to the beach.
I use a gentle Bufpuf twice a week to gently exfoliate my skin. This removes some of the unhealthy, built-up skin cells on top of the surface. The Bufpuf has to be kept exceptionally clean. If you don’t bacteria can grow on it and these bacteria will spread to your face and potentially cause a breakout. After you use the Bupuf, wash it with soap, rinse, shake it out and let it air dry.
Links to the products I mention are below if Amazon has them for sale.

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The Best Acne Treatment Routine

Who doesn’t want beautiful glowing skin?  As a registered dietitian, I feel paying attention to eating a whole-food based, Mediterranean-style diet with lots of antioxidant rich plant foods, and drinking half your ideal body weight in fluids is the best way to make sure you’re eating a healthy skin diet. If you are eating a healthy diet and acne persists, there are a number of specific skin treatments to treat acne and give a boost of glowing good health to your skin. For more on diet-acne connection go here.

This is an aggressive acne treatment routine that I developed for my son who has acne. I am not a dermatologist but my strong science and chemistry background and interest in proven ingredients in skin care products has led me to do extensive scientific research on evidence-based ingredients in skin care products.

The ingredients I have selected for this acne treatment consist of well-researched acne-fighting ingredients: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid and retinol. In addition, I have researched the best, high-rated products for the money and have links to them within this article so that you can duplicate the routine.

prodWhy These Ingredients Work in an Acne Treatment Routine

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps skin to shed dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and inside the pores helping to keep the pores clear. BHA is best ingredient choice for blackheads and acne or enlarged pores. It also has antimicrobial properties.

Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and also helps unclog pores. Benzoyl Peroxide helps boost the acne-fighting results of salicylic acid.

Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the surface of skin and causes the top later of the skin to peel. You must use a sunscreen if you are using glycolic acid.

Retin-A is a prescription product and retinol can be found over the counter. Both help to unclog pores. Clogged pores lead to a pimple since bacteria thrive and multiply in clogged pores. Sunscreen MUST be applied liberally and often when using a Retin-A or retinol product.

A Word About Sunscreens

I recommend a sunscreen containing the mineral zinc oxide since it acts as a physical block to the sun’s rays. Zinc oxide used alone at high concentrations or combined with the chemical sunscreen ingredient octinoxate works very uniquely with the zinc oxide and is the best broad spectrum sun protection.

Do not use sunscreen products that contain Oxybenzone. The Environmental Working Group has rated oxybenzone an 8 on their toxicity rating scale, meaning it is one of the most toxic ingredients found in cosmetic products. The EWG and other toxicology experts are concerned about the compound because it has been linked to hormone disruption and has the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer.

This is a great sunscreen. Micronized zinc means it won’t leave a white sheen.

Acne Fighting Morning Routine

1.       Wash your hands and dry with a clean towel. Everything that touches your face including your hands and towels must be clean and bacteria free.

2.       Wash with Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser 10%  or Jan Mari Duality and dry with a clean towel.

3.       Swab the skin with 2% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Pads. Wait until it air-dries.

4.       Apply a thin layer of Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cream 2.5%5%. Carefully avoid the delicate area around the eyes. Do not rub. Just allow your fingers to glide over your skin, spreading it around and letting it absorb on its own.

5.       Apply additional medications, an oil-free sunscreen, a moisturizer or makeup after the cream has dried.

6.       Sunscreen MUST be applied liberally when using a Glycolic Acid product.

Acne Fighting Night Routine

1.       Wash your hands and dry with a clean towel. Everything that touches your face including your hands and towels must be clean and bacteria free.

2.       Wash with 2% Glycolic Acid/2% Salicylic Acid Cleanser and dry with a clean towel. If you need a stronger formula try this 10% Glycolic/2% Salicylic Cleanser.

3.       Swab the skin with 2% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Pads and wait until it air-dries.

4.       Apply a thin layer of a Retin-A or Retinol Cream. Carefully avoid the delicate area around the eyes. Do not rub. Just allow your fingers to glide over your skin, spreading it around and letting it absorb on its own.

5.       After putting on Retin-A or Retinol Cream wait 15 minutes before moisturizer to let it absorb.

6.       Apply additional medications, an oil-free sunscreen, a moisturizer or makeup after the cream has dried.

Exfoliate gently every other day to remove built-up dead skin cells, revealing new skin. You may use a clean Buf-puf or Clarisonic at night when you wash with the cleanser. Make sure you keep these clean and that they dry out between uses since they can harbor germs.

It is normal for the skin to become flaky and somewhat dry due to the irritation of the medicated products. This regimen can be irritating to the skin. If irritation develops, discontinue use and contact a physician.

Try this routine in the event there is too much dryness:

Discontinue the routine and only use a mild cleanser to wash and apply an oil-free  moisturizer.

Once your skin has returned to normal, use the mild cleanser, pads and cream (steps 2, 3 and 4) only once every other day and use the mild soap and moisturizer the other times you cleanse.

If no dryness develops, increase to once a day for steps 2, 3 and 4. If your skin remains free from dryness, you can go back to the routine twice a day.

If it ever becomes dry, go through this process again until it normalizes, then resume again.

The pads are the most drying.  You may be able to tolerate the pads in your tough oily areas of the forehead and around the nose and mid chin.


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