It is all too easy for women in their twenties to take beautiful skin for granted. Gone are the teenage days of raging hormones and the dreaded surprise zit always popping up at the worst possible moment. And of course the idea of frown lines or worry wrinkles seems a distant, almost absurd concern at this point. The junk food indulgences, all-nighter study sessions and summers of suntans have probably not even begun to catch up with you—at least not in a way that a bit of concealer can’t fix. However, it is in these formative years that preventative care and early treatment can be most effective in maintaining that precious youthful glow. To help guide your routine towards the fountain of youth, leading New York City dermatologist, Dr. Francesca Fusco, has shared her expert tips and favorite products to treat and prevent any early signs of aging.
Beauty High: What are some of the most common causes of premature aging in young women?
Dr. Francesca Fusco: The two most common causes are cumulative sun damage and (unfortunately) your genetics. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where there are products and procedures that can prevent, slow down, correct, erase and press the “reset” button on an aging face.
When should women begin taking preventative measures and using products like anti-aging creams or serums?
Women who have subjected their skin to a lot of sun damage in the first two decades of life should start immediately! Daily sun protection and serums, creams and lotions with antioxidants will make a big difference.
With so many different products available today, which are really essential to a healthy skin care routine?
The number one product critical to preserving a youthful face is sunscreen. When used on a regular basis, it will slow down the appearance of photodamage related signs of aging like dark spots, wrinkles and lackluster skin. An essential I recommend to all patients is a serum with antioxidants or a particular ingredient to address an individual’s skin care issues. SkinMedica Lytera Skin Brightening Complex, for example, would address brown spots. Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 would address general rejuvenation, texture and wrinkles.
Do you have any favorite products that you use or recommend to patients?
A favorite of mine that is beautifully tolerated by most skin types year-round is Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Oil-Free Energizing Oxygen Gel Cream Moisturizer. It is oil-free, enriched with antioxidants and blends well with foundations, BB creams and makeup.
Rushed mornings and busy schedules may cause women to skip over these extra steps in their beauty routine. Can you recommend any “2-in-1” products with both cosmetic and anti-aging properties to help save time while still giving skin the TLC it needs?
A BB cream would do best in this situation. Women seeking to streamline their morning should consider a BB cream like Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB Cream with Broad Spectrum SPF 40, which acts as a sunscreen, moisturizer, wrinkle-fighter and contains rejuvenating stem cells to improve skin over time.
Are expensive high-end skin care products really more effective than the more affordable drugstore options?
I can honestly say that the price of a product does not always correlate directly to its effectiveness. One can achieve great looking skin with drugstore products. But there is no arguing that some of the pricier double- and triple-digit products have their following. Here is my tip: Save on the “short contact” products like washes and exfoliants, then splurge on one or two of a favorite or new serum or cream.
Preventative care is obviously key, but what are the best treatment options for young women with existing fines lines and wrinkles or other already visible signs of aging?
For at-home care, I recommend the use of fillers and at-home devices that enhance the penetration and effect of topicals. The JeNu Active-Youth Skincare System is one such product. It is an at-home system that combines two clinically proven technologies to achieve a decrease in wrinkles and fine lines and an increase in hydration. Their studies are pretty impressive, showing a 45% decrease in wrinkles and lines after two weeks. For individuals who prefer to address lines with topicals only, look for key ingredients like argireline, hyaluronic acid and ceramics to decrease the appearance of existing lines. In an office setting, fine lines can be effectively treated with neurotoxins, lasers and fillers. Belotero Balance is a fantastic new option for the finest of lines in women because it doesn’t lump or cause a blue hue like some of the other fillers. It can be used effectively on lip lines without creating a “trout pout.”
Neurotoxins like Botox get a bad rap for causing stiff or frozen expressions and are often thought of as too extreme a measure for women in their twenties. Is it unwise to turn to this treatment option early on? What are the pros and cons?
Botox, Dysport and Xeomin—all effective neurotoxins— are tools in the toolbox of anti-aging treatments. Everyone uses tools differently. When I see a patient in consultation for neurotoxins, I take the time to explain my personal aesthetics and how these toxins works. Most patients do NOT want a frozen look and would like to retain some movement. My goal is to maximally smooth the lines at rest, but maintain some movement while emoting. I frequently have the patient return in two weeks for a follow-up appointment to possibly add more of the neurotoxin. You can always add more, but you cannot reverse it. For younger women in their late twenties who are just noticing the appearance of frown lines, I inject what has come to be known as “baby Botox”—just a small amount to an area. This will prevent the lines from worsening. I personally do not inject neurotoxin in an individual if they have no wrinkles and are just looking to prevent them. I believe one should start when the lines first appear. The benefit of this option is that when properly injected, neurotoxins will slow down the progression and appearance of the lines considerably. The downsides are the maintenance and local bruising, which is temporary.
What lifestyle or nutritional habits are helpful for maintaining skin’s youth?
Proper sun protection is number one. Others include eating a balanced diet, getting proper sleep and exercising or meditating to decrease stress. Yo-yo dieting where you are losing a lot of weight in a short period could make lines appear more suddenly from the weight-loss. Wear sunglasses to prevent squinting which causes crow’s feet. Sleep on your back, if possible. Facial exercises that would plump a cheek or strengthen a jawline or neck could be helpful, but I’d caution against exercises that involve frowning or squinting because that could exacerbate forehead lines and crow’s feet.
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