My skincare habit started when I was reading Dolly magazine in the 80s (if you are not Australian wiki it) and my mother indulged me with Clinique, Shiseido and Estee Lauder (for a teen). I then moved onto Dermalogica, MD and a variety of expensive products touted by beauty therapists and the like.
My skin was always good – actually really good – however, I started to get more compliments on my skin than ever before when I chucked it all in and started using Retin A and supermarket products.
And I was well into my 30s.
The path is painful and needs commitment but the end benefits are worth it.
Retin-A is an acne treatment that works to stimulate cell turnover. As we age cells slow down in their turnover which is why we look older and duller and skin gets congested looking. A wonderful side effect is that Retin-A stimulates collagen as well – which gives users that youthful look we lose as we get older as it puffs up your skin, fills out fine lines and wrinkles.
So – why are more people not using this product? And why are there over the counter versions that do not do nearly as good a job? (On the over the counter – they just do not have enough actives in them.)
- Because the first few months are a f-cking nightmare. Your skin peels, your face hurts, you flake, and it takes time. But it is truly worth it. Just push through. I am a Capricorn and we are nothing if not tenacious.
OK – so you have taken yourself down to the doctor and got a script. (Warning – do not do it if you are planning on babies or breastfeeding the next year. Though it is not like the nightmares of the systemic Accutane of the 80s – there is a tiny chance of birth defects – not worth the risk – just like eating sushi). The strengths are 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%. I started with the strongest but it’s best to start with the lowest and slowly build up so you don’t look as if you’ve suffered third degree burns.
And here is how you start on the path to great skin:-
Buy a cleanser – Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser is great. It is hydrating – and you need to avoid any actives in your skin care for 6 months.
Buy a sunblock – I like the Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin – you will need to apply this at least twice a day.
Park your vanity. You will peel. You will be red. This is long term.
Have a cup of concrete and harden up. Let’s go.
- Cleanse your face at night. Wait at least 30 minutes – it must be completely dry before using it. (Do not worry – this is only as you build tolerance – I can whack it straight on now.)
- Put Vaseline around your eyes – (again – this is just as you build tolerance) as they will be a bit crêpe like.
- Put a pea sized amount on your face.
- When you wake up get the flakes off with a washcloth. Then apply sunblock.
- Keep your sunblock application up all day – your skin becomes sensitive and craves moisture.
- Have a night or 2 off.
- You will work up to nightly usage but it is a process.
I have been using it for nearly 4 years and my skin is great, dewy, even toned, and I do not need to really use foundation. Just tinted moisturizer. My friends all ask me what I am using – and it is so cheap.
Now I can use my Clarisonic, rose-hip oil and vitamin c powder but you need to be ready to use no actives for at least 6 months. Back to basics – but so worth it. Your skin needs to be conditioned so be gentle on it.
And persevere – the first few weeks are the hardest and all of a sudden you get – “oh your skin looks great” and you know it is working. It is like an initiation process and once you get there it is amazing. Good luck.
And if this all sounds too hard – go for the easier version – an AHA at night – something by NeoStrata or MD Formulations. Forget hydrating at night. Hydrate in the morning. You need to flick those old cells in order to look your best.
That’s it! So simple, isn’t it? Feel free to ask me any questions below if you have them.
Don’t take this as medical advice and talk to your doctor first about whether retinoids are right for you and your skin in case you have any underlying allergies or are on medication that could cause a bad reaction. As I already said, do not use them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Which skincare products do you swear by to keep your lovely face in check? Have you used Retin A or over the counter retinoids and what did you think of the results? Any advice?
Do you pay more for the brand or do you swear by good old Vaseline on your eyelids at night and lots of water?
Botox or no-tox? Let us know!