Eating a wholesome diet is essential for warding off signs of aging. Clients should avoid processed foods, sugar, salt, and additives and eat super-foods packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Supplements that include collagen, amino acids, vitamins A and C, rose hip, green tea, sea vegetables, and coenzyme Q-10 will help clients look and feel more radiant. Clients can take a daily food-based organic multivitamin that is targeted to their age and gender to ensure that they are receiving all of their required nutrients so that their skin and hair can shine and they can feel their best. They should eat plenty of healthy and antioxidizing foods, such as fruits, dark green vegetables, whole grains, wild caught fish, and certified grass-fed meats; drink plenty of high quality water, preferably eight glasses a day; and pack in super-foods, like chia and flaxseed, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
GET SOME SHUT-EYE
Clients should ensure that they are getting enough sleep. Eight hours per night is the minimum suggested amount of sleep for healthy, beautiful skin. Sleep allows skin to repair and re-energize itself, as well as keep all the organs intact so that the body can eliminate toxicity.
DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY
Maintaining happiness is vital to looking younger. Clients can reduce stress in their life by keeping good company and sustaining friendships and healthy emotions. Anger and depression can cause them to scowl and induce long-term damage to their skin.
The sun's ultraviolet rays account for 80 percent of wrinkles and aging, so it is crucial that clients shield themselves from them! Although people do need a small daily dose of vitamin D – about 15 minutes a day of sun exposure – clients should make sure to always stay covered and protected by using SPF of 30 or higher; wearing a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing; and staying in the shade as much as possible. Direct sunlight should be avoided between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.
DAILY ANTI-AGING SKIN CARE FOR ANY AGE
Whether clients are 16 or 65, their daily routine should resemble the following: In the morning, they should use a gentle, soap-free cleanser and then follow with an antioxidant serum to reduce inflammation and protect their skin from daytime pollutants and environmental stressors. They should then proceed to pat on an eye cream comprised of collagen boosters, such as retinoids with peptides or lactic acid with kojic and emollients. Clients should keep their lips rejuvenated with generous amounts of lip balm containing natural humectants, such as olive or coconut oil, and sunscreen. Their routine should end with a hydrating sunscreen that has a minimum SPF of 30, even if they are staying at home; it should be applied to their entire face, neck, and décolletage. They should be sure to also use the sunscreen on their hands to keep them looking young. Makeup can be used to add a youthful and fresh glow or they can substitute it with a BB or CC cream that will even out their skin and offer more protection, moisture, and color in one step. For extra color on their body, clients should apply a self-tanner uniformly, remembering to first exfoliate with an enzyme-based scrub or dry brush. They can finish off with some bronzer and blush on their face, neck, décolletage, and hands. Makeup goes a long way in both protecting the skin from signs of aging and maintaining a youthful appearance. Clients can seek out suggestions from a professional makeup artist to find colors and techniques that suit their lifestyle at different junctures in their life to preserve a fresh look.
In the evening, clients should opt for a gentle, soap-free cleanser and follow with a retinoid or Retin-A-based cream or serum to encourage skin sloughing, cell turnover, and collagen production; they can combine botanical skin brightening serums to even out their skin tone. If the client's skin becomes too irritated with retinoid-based products, they can use an antioxidant-based serum or cream with glycolic acid or peptides instead. This product should be applied generously to the entire face, neck, décolletage, and hands. They should follow with an anti-aging eye cream with retinol. For dark under eye circles, clients can use a cream with licorice, kojic acid, or soy. A topical retinoid will help fade any build of pigmentation on their hands. Clients can finish their regimen by applying a generous amount of lip balm that combines natural humectant oils, like coconut or olive oils, together with an occlusive like petrolatum.
ENTERING THE MEDI-SPA ZONE
Clients should also consider incorporating more serious anti-aging habits into their routine as signs of aging become more prominent. To soften horizontal lines above the eyebrows and the vertical grooves between them, clients can use prescription-strength retinoids to build collagen, rejuvenate skin, and fight hard-to-reduce crow's feet and frown lines. For more dramatic results, they can utilize botulinum toxin injections (Botox, Xeomin, or Dysport). These injections block the nerve impulses that cause muscle activity, softening wrinkles within days for at least three months. For deeper or more stubborn lines, clients can receive hyaluronic acid fillers (Restylane or Juvéderm) for results that can last up to six months. For discoloration from ultraviolet exposure or hormones, they can try hydroquinone, a topical bleaching agent. This ingredient comes in over-the-counter strength at two percent or as a prescription at four percent. For stubborn discoloration, a professional glycolic or salicylic acid peel can be added after three weeks of hydroquinone treatment or laser treatment. If clients object to using hydroquinone, they can use formulations that are botanical-based; these botanicals include burberry, mulberry, kojic, citrus, and lactic. These formulations are not as potent, but are quite effective when combined with retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and beta hydroxy acids. For thin lips, sagging cheeks, or thinning hands, clients can try hyaluronic acid fillers for added plumpness and lift.
THE STAGES OF ANTI-AGING
Just because the word "aging" has an older connotation to it, creating and maintaining an effective anti-aging routine is necessary for women at every stage in their lives. The most effective practices and ingredients are common for all. When learned at a young age, women are more likely to continue their anti-aging routines as the years go on.
Teenage Years – Creating Good Habits
Clients are never too young to prevent aging. It is important for teenagers to be educated and aware of how to effectively treat acne, how hormonal and emotional changes can affect skin, and how poor eating habits and stress can also affect their skin. Adequate sleep and keeping stress at bay is essential for this age group. Engaging in proper sun management techniques is also imperative to prevent long-term sun damage of their skin. Teenagers should use a broad spectrum SPF 30 with natural zinc oxide on their entire face and exposed body areas. If they must play sports in mid-day sun, ensure that they stay well covered with protective clothing and a hat. Advise them to avoid using tanning salons or spending full days at the beach. They should opt for shade, umbrellas, and self-tanner. They should also use a gentle, soap-free cleanser and be cautious not to over-dry their skin with acne treatments; instead, they should spot treat acne with benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids. Teenagers should begin using a gentle eye serum during the day or night.
Twenties – Protect and Repair
It is important for clients to prevent premature skin aging and repair their skin from the harsh lifestyle of intense studying, late nights, partying, emotional swings, excessive sun exposure, and even addictions. Clients should try to stick to a healthy sleep schedule, as opposed to going to bed at four in the morning and waking up at two in the afternoon. During this time, breakouts now move from the forehead region and midface to the jawline due to changing hormones. The breakout treatments clients once used to use may now be too aggressive. Advise them to change what they are using for a less drying routine. These clients should continue protecting their skin from excessive sun exposure, avoid being out at mid-day, drink plenty of water, and eat antioxidizing foods and juices to make up for late nights!
Clients should remove makeup with hydrophilic oil and cleanse with a mild soap-free cleanser and a sonic brush. They can use exfoliating pads that are appropriate for their individual skin type and chilled beauty globes around the eyes after late nights. They should apply a light eye cream with caffeine and sunscreen daily, and also use a lightweight antioxidizing serum with vitamins C and E and salicylic acid to boost collagen and rejuvenate skin. Suggest that they incorporate ceramides, peptides, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and hydroxy acids into their routine and use a lightweight moisturizer with hyaluronic acid on a daily basis. Clients can double up by using a BB or CC cream to even and correct skin tone. Before parties, they can use a lifting mask with copper or gold for a skin pick-me-up. If they are starting to see sun damage (hyperpigmentation), they should use a product containing retinol and lighteners.
Thirties – Exfoliate and Regenerate
Once clients enter their thirties, they begin to experience slower cell turnover, so regular exfoliation becomes important to increasing cellular renewal; they can use a mild scrub several times a week and a cleansing brush. During this time, wrinkles are beginning to form and birth control, pregnancy, and genetics are beginning to take their toll on the skin. Hydrating, firming, and keeping discoloration at bay all become major skin care concerns. Female clients have estrogen stores that are beginning to lessen, so skin is starting to feel drier. Clients should be sure they are getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids via a daily fish oil supplement and eating weekly wild caught fish.
It is also vital for them to exfoliate without over-sensitizing their skin by incorporating several modalities; suggest that they alternate between a sonic brush, gommage, and alpha hydroxy acids based on their individual sensitivity. Their goal should be to maximize cell turnover without being too harsh on their skin. They should also pay attention to over-exfoliation and redness. Suggest that they use between 10 to 20 percent vitamin C beneath their daily sunscreen and a facial oil to moisturize and add a glow back to the skin.
Now is the time for clients to become serious about their skin care routine. They should incorporate exfoliants and antioxidants to hydrate and promote cell renewal and repair thin eye-area skin using a niacinamide-, caffeine-, and retinol-based serums or creams. For the rest of their face, clients should alternate between using multi-acid complex pads and a higher strength retinol or retinoid cream every other day. They can follow that application with a serum rich in peptides, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins, using it on their entire face, neck, décolletage, and hands. These clients should also schedule a custom-designed facial every four-to-six weeks to stabilize the skin.
Forties and Fifties – Plump and Nurture
It is now time for serious age fighting! At this time in a client's life, they are not only preventing aging, but also attempting to reduce the signs of aging. Clients should focus on plumping up their skin to restore its supple, glowing radiance and reducing fine lines that have appeared on the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. They may also be experiencing hormone-related problems, such as acne and pre-menopausal dryness. As a result, they should switch to a gentler cleansing routine and opt for a milky or creamy cleanser. If clients are still dealing with pimples, they can try a face wash with salicylic acid.
Exfoliation is key at this age to ensure that the skin is continuing to turn over new cells. Advise clients to exfoliate with glycolic acid and a bi-weekly gommage treatment. They should look for a serum or moisturizer that contains collagen, as it helps skin stay supple, strong, and firm, while filling in wrinkles, diminishing fine lines, and plumping up the face. It is also important for them to use a serum rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and E, resveratrol, green tea, or epidermal growth factors to help stimulate collagen production. Now is the time to strengthen the skin around the eyes; they should be using their eye cream religiously.
If they have not been using a topical vitamin A cream, now is the time for them to start doing so. Retinoids will promote their reserves of collagen and elastin and prevent future skin sagging. If the retinoid causes dryness, they should mix it with a moisturizer or a night cream or use it only three times a week. They can also apply retinoid cream up to their lower eyelids. Remind clients to use the night cream on their neck and the retinoid cream on their chest and the backs of their hands. In addition to fighting age, retinoids also reduce the hormonal acne and breakouts that clients may still suffer from at this age. For moisture and skin health, they can incorporate hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides into their skin care regimen. Peptides tell the skin to produce more collagen, counteracting the formation of wrinkles and skin thinning.
To offset signs of hyperpigmentation, clients can add a pigment lightener to their routine that includes kojic acid, licorice, mulberry, vitamin C, and arbutin. Hyperpigmentation can be reduced with creams containing two percent hydroquinone, phytophenol, or kojic acid. These ingredients also fight free radicals, protecting the skin from future damage. Over the serum and moisturizer, clients should always add a layer of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Remind them to also always use their serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen on their neck, décolletage, and hands. For additional sun protection and glow, they can use foundation, powder, bronzer, and blush.
When visiting the spa or medical spa, clients can opt to incorporate plumping and wrinkle-reducing LED, regular microdermabrasion or microneedling, and hydrating collagen and peel-off masks. They should aim to have a custom-designed facial every four-to-six weeks to stabilize the skin. Now is a great time for clients to try injectables and fillers to prevent wrinkles from getting deep. They should put themselves on a scheduled routine to prevent the formation of deep lines. Fluctuating weight due to hormonal changes can leave loose skin on the midriff; they can use radiofrequency, such as Accent, or ultherapy and non-ablative skin rejuvenating lasers, such as Clear and Brilliant, to help build collagen and elasticity. Three sessions should improve minor laxity and crepiness.
Sixties and Beyond – Hydrate and Sooth
Post-menopausal skin tends to become very dry, sensitive, and thin. Sagging and hyperpigmentation are also main concerns. Declining estrogen in female clients necessitates a gentle routine with less irritants and exfoliation. At this time, the client's skin needs copious amounts of hydration. They should seek out omega-3 fatty acids, peptides, collagen, co-enzymes, stem cells, and lipoic acids in their serums and moisturizers. During off days, clients should moisturize an additional time. Advise them to incorporate calming ingredients into their routine, such as algae, aloe vera, olive oil, and coconut oil. They should, however, stick to their regimen of alpha hydroxyl acids and retinols to continually rejuvenate the skin. These clients should also use a barrier cream on their skin with antioxidants such as resveratrol to protect against harsh elements. Hydroquinone or botanical-extracted ingredients will help them eliminate dark spots on their face and hands. Remind them to be extremely cautious in the sun. Laser and ultrasonic treatments will help plump and firm their skin. Recommend that these clients use a BB or CC cream and concealer with anti-aging ingredients. They can also use a hyaluronic filler for smile lines and ultherapy laser sessions for skin tightening. They should schedule a custom-designed facial every four-to-six weeks to stabilize their skin.
Regular in-spa glycolic, lactic acid, or herbal peels will brighten the skin and enhance the efficacy of homecare products.
Whether the importance of a good anti-aging skin care regimen was ingrained in clients when they were younger or those crow's lines that just crept up out of nowhere made them run to their nearest cosmetic counter, anti-aging is a language spoken by all ages. If clients learn the language early, they will enjoy complexion perfection for their entire life.
Bella Schneider, P.M.E., leads a team of more than 200 aesthetic professionals at three premier spas. For more than 35 years, Schneider has traveled the world to bring service providers the best in aesthetic science; as a groundbreaking formulator, successful retailer, and respected educator, her mission is to help professionals enhance their practice and grow their business. Winner of the Nouvelles Esthetiques lifetime achievement Crystal Award for contributions to beauty science, Schneider hosts beginning-to-advanced training in clinical and spa skin care as well as ethnic skin care, peels, and other new techniques at Bella Schneider Beauty's Palo Alto, Calif.-based training center.