Skincare specialist Yoshiko Roth answers your skincare questions.
I am 24-years old, a few months shy of 25, and am beginning to lose the youthful luminosity in my skin. I have been using whitening products for many years now (mostly Shisheido, some Godiva products) to maintain an even tone, use spf 15 in both my daily moisturizer and mineral foundation (and usually avoid sun at all costs), exfoliate once a week, drink plenty of water, try to keep a regular exercise routine, etc. I am also beginning to see some light age spots on my cheeks – both a very faint honey color and some pink spots. My skin is on the dry and sensitive side and so I cannot exfoliate too much or else I get itchy bumps on my cheeks. I haven’t had acne problems, so I use the Shiseido serum to treat my spots but it has not shown any improvement. What can I do? Am I just getting old? Am I losing elasticity in my skin? Thanks!!
Yes, we all get old and there is no cream in the world that will stop aging. However, at age 25, you still have plenty of years of luminous-looking skin in front of you. You may have to work a little harder at it, as the years pass, but you’ll be in good shape if you take proper care of your skin. You are 90% there in terms of maintaining luminosity: You are avoiding sun at all cost. No matter how expensive and advanced of a skincare program you use, no matter how much water you drink, it cannot make up for the damage that sun causes to your skin.
Having said that, you may want to consider a few changes to your skincare routine:
1) What are the key ingredients in the whitening products you use? You may want to switch to a different product that is not necessarily advertised as a “whitening” product but contain powerful ingredients that provide antioxidant protection and increased radiance. Great examples are products containing Retinaldehyde, such as Avene’s “Ystheal Plus” or “Diacneal” or Elizabeth Arden’s “Prevage” (all available at www.dermstore.com)
2) As far as exfoliating, it’s good that you are doing it only once a week. Unlike often believed, over-exfoliating can cause ruddiness and the exact opposite of luminosity! However, you may want to experiment with different types of exfoliators. For example, if you are currently using a scrub to exfoliate, perhaps you want to try gentle alpha hydroxyl peel. Glytone, a brand that caters to dermatologists, has a vast array of different-strength glycolic peel products. Unlike scrubs, glycolic peels (if you can tolerate them), give you more uniform and consistent results. Avene’s “Diacneal”, which I mentioned earlier, combines the benefits of Retinaldehyde and glycolic acid, and is my personal secret weapon for radiant, smooth skin. If you are too sensitive for glycolic peels, I would consider Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish (available at www.sephora.com). The combination of brown sugar, precious plant oils and fruit acids give you instantly glowing, soft skin.
3) When you do your weekly peel or exfoliation, follow with treatment mask that contains hyaluronic acid. My favorites are the pre-packaged masks, available at Japanese, Korean or Chinese beauty shops. They come as pre-soaked gauze masks and are saturated in radiance-boosting botanicals, vitamins and usually also contain hyaluronic acid. These masks are another secret weapon, especially after a long work day or a night of partying.
The skin on my face is really uneven, I have dark circles under my eyes, redness on the lower cheeks, and enlarged pores with oily skin. Is there anything I could use on my skin that would be able to even this out?
I would need more information on your age, your skin’s history and your skincare habits. But it sounds like you have oily, sensitive skin. Oily, sensitive skin is sometimes tricky to treat, since most products geared towards oily skin are also rather harsh. At the same time, products for sensitive skin are often geared towards dry skin types and do not address the problems of oily skin. The key for oily, sensitive skin is to help reduce sebum production rather than stripping skin, and to use products with calming, soothing ingredients.
Eau Thermale Avene’s “Cleanance” range has excellent products for exactly that skin type, from an ultra-gentle cleanser with pumpkin seed extract (for natural sebum protection) to mattifying moisturizers and of course, their soothing Thermal Spring Water in a bottle. Oily, sensitive skin will also benefit from JUARA’s “Milk & Red Sandalwood Facial Mask”, which uses Red Sandalwood for calming and cooling the skin, Milk to gently exfoliate and reduce bumpiness, Kaolin Clay to purify and minimize pores, and Rice Powder to soften the skin. (all available at www.dermstore.com). As a general rule of thumb, stick to products that are oily-free, contain sebum-reducing ingredients, but also absolutely alcohol-free. For example, “old-school” toners for oily skin are often chock-full of alcohol to supposedly dry up excess oiliness, but it will only irritate your skin and exacerbate your issues.
Yoshiko hosts the skincare column here every month. Her skin care line www.juaraskincare.com