Monday, June 25, 2012

Anti-Aging Skin Care

Salutations S+SR Readers!

I come to you today with a requested blog post from a dear friend of mine. Today's topic is "Anti-Aging."  Now that all my friends and I are hitting our late 20's and early 30's we are starting to think about this area of beauty products.  So what do we need to know?  I think it is good to remember that we all have different skin with different needs.  Some people might see wrinkles in their 20s, while others don't until they are in their 40's.  No matter what, do what feels right for your skin**!  This being said, I have a few general things first.
Seeing as this is more a discussion than about specific products, it seemed like a great opportunity for another silly stock image!  I have a great time looking for these cheesy stock images.  Anyway, like my last stock image, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if whoever owns it throws a hissy fit

General Anti-Aging Tips:
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Wear sunscreen, hats, and generally protect from the sun (though 10-15 minutes of sun a day lets your body produce vitamin D which is a good thing.)
  • Eating healthy helps too because it promotes healthy shedding and regeneration of skin cells.
  • We are all different!  Genetics plays an important role in aging.  Some skin types are more sensitive to damage from the sun than others. There are also just some people that get really lucky and don't develop wrinkles as easily. While your years of life are a general indicator of steps you might take to prevent aging, make sure you try and adjust for your specific skin type!
"Blah blah blah...drink water, sunscreen,  eat heathy...blah blah blah.  I want to fight wrinkles with an army of products and spend some money!"  I get it, quick fixes are quite appealing, but they are also costly and some don't even work. I'm staying far away from the plastic surgery debates (who really wants to get sliced open anyway?) This is what I have come up with as reasonable steps one can take without spending too much money.

I  broke this out into approximate age ranges so that you can better adjust for your own skin:

Before 25 years old:
Note that the corner stone of anti-aging products is extra moisture and promoting skin renewal.  Before 25 you skin is regenerating quickly and probably is not lacking that much moisture.  Caking on the anti-aging products at this point might actually make your skin worse by making it extra oily or extra dry.
  • Prevention is really the key for you.  That water, sunscreen, eating healthy?  Yes, that is you.  You are young and growing.  Your cells are regenerating rapidly as a result.  You are stressing out about love, life, and who you want to be.  You really don't have to add aging to the mix!
  • If you insist on doing something to prevent aging at this age, moisturizing is your friend.  Most facial lotions SPF will do just fine, if you want to pay more for that lotion to say "anti-aging" you can, but it most likely is a waste of money.  You can also remember to exfoliate with a scrub or mask to promote skin regeneration.
  • Many acne products actually will help prevent aging, so do not feel like you need to double up acne products and aging product.  For Example: "Salicylic Acid," "Glycolic Acid," and "Benzoyl Peroxide" are all ingredients that promote skin peeling.  These chemicals increase skin turnover to clearing pores, reducing bacterial count, and are anti-microbial.  This also works to turnover skin cells to prevent aging.  For more information see my report on effectively treating acne. Acne can happen at any age, but I figured I'd throw this point here.
 Between 25-35 years:
You can probably start to add some anti-aging products to help ramp up your war against wrinkles.  I would focus on the most at risk areas (eyes and around the mouth).
  • There are a host of brands that want to sell you a million products but I suggest just finding one eye cream and one face cream.
    • You probably do not need a deep wrinkle/collagen heavy eye cream at this time.  Moisturizing (I like Burt's Bees Queen Bee Jelly Eye Cream*) or ones for fine lines are just fine (no pun intended!) for now.  
    • The main difference between day and night creams is that day creams have SPF and less moisture than night creams.  Night creams tend to be so heavy in moisture that they can leave your skin oily.  I suggest that your one face cream be one that is worn during the day.  It will mean that you get extra SPF protection and you can just use your favorite regular moisturizer at night (avoiding the more expensive anti-aging night products)
  • A great alternative to anti aging face cream is making your foundation (if you wear it) an anti-aging foundation.  You eliminate a product step in the morning and have one less product you have to buy!  There are many brands that offer "age defying" foundations.  I personally prefer using a BB creme (like ones from Skin79-I use the "Super VIP Gold") that has anti-aging properties.  I love BB cremes because they have so many benefits in one.  Anything to save time!  
After 35-40 years: 
You are now in the market for all the best in anti-aging care and there is a lot to pick from.  There are companies that boast instant solutions and sky high prices for itty bitty jars.  It is really confusing.  The fact of the matter is that with out surgery, you are still dealing with the same corner stones: quickening your natural exfoliation process to generate new skin, and adding extra hydration to try and defy gravity.   Below are some tips to keep in mind when selecting your regimen.
  •  Love your skin, first and foremost, while it might be nice to not have wrinkles or fine lines, it is also a result of living life and growing older which is an amazing thing.  Life is about the journey and you should never feel insecure about your skin.  You shine and sparkle from the inside!  Heck, this bullet belongs in all the age categories...
  • The above bullet is important because once you have wrinkles, there is no magic cure.  All anti-aging products can do is help reduce their appearance and prevent future skin damage.
  • Moisturizing is an easy way to plump up saggy skin cells. Any moisturizer that works well on you earlier in life is still just as valid today.  Moisture is moisture, so I do not think expensive anti-aging moisturizers are necessary as long as you are also using sun screen.
  • Active Ingredients:These are normally going to be the things that promote skin renewal.  Pay attention to what they are an in what % concentration.  There is no need to have a million products with the same active ingredients. I would like to direct you to this Mayo Clinic-Guide to Winkle Cream Ingredients. In this article they break down (in easy language) the differences between retinols, hydroxy acids, coenzyme Q10, copper peptides, kinetin, and tea extracts. All the other stuff in XYZ's "Super Ultimate Fantastic Signature  Anti-Aging Cream of The Century" are going to be moisturizers, fillers, anti-oxidants, fragrances, and dyes.  I personally prefer products to be as free of fragrances, dyes, fillers, parabens (basically preservatives) as possible, but no matter what, the active ingredients are what are going to make the biggest (if any) difference.
  • As long as you are aware of active ingredients, I suggest trying different products to see which work for you and your budget.  You can either have a few products or a bunch.  If you want to add, experiment, and have fun with your beauty routine, be my guest! There are tons of fun anti-aging masks, washes, foundations, and all manner of things to try if you'd like.  If you are more of simple beauty routine person or a product junkie, you are sure to shine and sparkle! 
So I hope this helped you navigate the wide spectrum of anti-aging products a bit better.  And as always...

Shine & Sparkle!  

 *I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions. 

**Take my advice at your own risk...that being said, I think it's great advice! Consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications or may/are pregnant.  If you don't, "it said so on the internet" is not a great explanation to St. Peter.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yes to Cucumbers-"Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes", Revlon-"Colorburst Lip Butter", and Almay- "Clear Complexion Concealer + Treatment Gel" Review

Happy June S+SR Readers!

This is my first official product review report on my lil' Wallgreens* haul.  It is a rainy day in June (what gives!?) and my lunch break consisted of indoor walking around the nearby Wallgreens.  I really think there are some great (and not so great) products out there no matter if they are from a drug store or a fancy boutique.  At Wallgreens, I bought some new items I have been very excited to try.  Not only was I excited to try them, but I was thrilled that they were all pretty good! (unlike Almay: "Oil-Free Make-up remover wipes which are terrible).

This lil' haul included the following items (prices are approximate since I coupon and shop sales):
  • Yes to Cucumbers: "Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes" $7-10
  • Revlon: "Colorburst Lip Butter" $6-9 each
  • Almay: "Clear Complexion Concealer + Treatment Gel" $9-10
Note: All ratings are on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being "I might marry it" and 1 being "you are better off flushing your money down the toilet".

Yes to Cucumbers: "Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes" 
Effectiveness: 10 of 10
Smell: 10 of 10
Packaging: 8 of 10
Economic:  5 of 10
Good for Sensitive Skin**: Yes
Overall Rating: 8

These are by far the best facial wipes I have ever tried.   Most other wipes: can leave a sticky residue; are harsh on skin and eyes (Almay wipes make my eye burn! Not good); or smell like chemicals.  These leave sparkling clean skin with no sticky residue.  They are hypo-allergenic and very soothing on the skin.  The packaging is pretty convenient with not only a locking plastic lid, but a resealable sticker over the hole where you remove the wipe (this is also superior to the Almay wipes that just have a resealable sticker over the opening that leaks...).  This being said, I think that the hole cut under the lid is way too small to remove just one wipe.  I had to rip it open a bit more, thus rendering the sticker useless.  The price is pretty average for make-up removal wipes, nothing particularly good or bad about the pricing.  Lastly, as a sensitive skin person, I give it my stamp of sparkle approval (unlike Almay make-up remover wipes...can you tell I really hate those?!)

Revlon: "Colorburst Lip Butter"
Left to Right: Red Velvet, Sugar Plum, Pink Truffle

Effectiveness: 8 of 10
Smell/Taste: 5 of 10
Packaging: 8 of 10
Economic:  7 of 10
Good for Sensitive Skin: Maybe
Overall Rating: 7

These little lip butters are seriously flying off the shelves.  It has been a few months since I have been able to find a fully stocked display case.  The idea is that these wear more comfortably, like a lip balm, but have the same fun color as lipstick.  I have been using the cheaper equivalent "Maybelline: Baby Lips" $3-5 (which are fantastic for the price-only comes in 4 colors), while waiting for these to be more readily available.  Now that I have tried the Revlon version, I get what the hype is about.  The product glides on like a much more expensive one.  They are a better version of "Baby Lips" and come in more colors.  They do not have SPF like Baby Lips, but are very moisturizing and are moderately pigmented (so you don't look over the top with lip color).  They are great to go with a dramatic eye make up look because they are subtle pops of color and last a surprisingly long time (still visible after devouring a slice of pizza, but needed a touch up).  I feel that at the $8-9 range they are not a great deal, but I got them on sale for around $6 which was reasonable.  Compared to some of the $14+ lip products at Sephora, they fare quire well.  They have no particular smell or taste, but are not offensive either.  Lastly, they do not make any special provisions for those with sensitive skin, but I did not experience any issues (Note: I have not historically had any sensitivity to lip products).

Almay: "Clear Complexion Concealer + Treatment Gel" 

Effectiveness: 7 of 10
Smell/Taste: N/A
Packaging: 4 of 10
Economic:  7 of 10
Good for Sensitive Skin: Maybe
Overall Rating: 6

I am not normally a concealer person.  I find that the limited color options mean that you always have to do a full face of make-up and foundation over it for it to not look like you have a weird section of flesh colored goo on your face.  That being said, totally at war with this big blemish on my forehead, I bought this product out of desperation.  To my surprise I didn't hate it!  The treatment gel is active with salicylic acid.  I find this to be one of the weakest acne fighting chemicals but it is better than nothing on the monstrosity that is living on my forehead.  The concealer (in the medium shade) actually blended well into my skin to hide the offending zit so I didn't have to do a full face of make-up (I put some under my eyes with the same results).  The product did not react poorly with my regime (for more details see my report on fighting acne) which is another bonus.  For an acne product, I'm not thrilled that the application is in stick form.  The bacteria from your face will stay on either side of this product as soon as it touches your face.  You can try to use a clean brush on the concealer side (you will still probably double dip and contaminate, but it is better than directly applying to the skin). The treatment gel stick is inevitably going to collect bacteria.  That can be minimized by making sure you clean your face prior to application. 

I hope you all enjoyed my first product review report!  Feel free to comment with any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Shine & Sparkle!

  *I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions. 

**Take my advice at your own risk...that being said, I think it's great advice! Consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications or may/are pregnant.  If you don't, "it said so on the internet" is not a great explanation to St. Peter.