The Downside of Anti-Aging Products continued...
"At first, I liked the idea that I was rubbing something that was practically gold on my face day and night," Duplantier says. "But luxurious face creams hurt your bank account and make your shoe collection dwindle."
A pile-up of rich ingredients can actually cause the biggest skincare woe for young people -- breakouts. "My acne wasn’t improving," Duplantier says. "Instead, come midday, my skin was oily and aggravated." These days, she’s replaced the skin defense cream with a $13 SPF 30 moisturizer, and she says, "I have fewer blemishes and it feels good to sign a bill that’s less than $20."
After Sunscreen, Your Best Skin Care Bets
When Zeichner sees young adults who want to know how they can maintain their still-dewy skin, he suggests they add a daytime antioxidant moisturizer or serum to their regimen. These products contain ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, niacinamide, and alpha lipoic acid. They may minimize the oxidative damage caused by stressors such as sun exposure and pollution.
Friedman believes that after sunscreen, a prescription retinoid or over-the-counter retinol is the next most effective product a 20-something can buy. "I think every young adult should use one," he says. "There is a ton of solid research showing that retinoids work to regulate skin function."
Retinoids can reduce acne, shrink enlarged pores, even out skin tone, treat precancerous skin lesions, and build collagen while speeding cell turnover.
Retinoids, however, should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Retinoids can cause redness, dryness, and flaking during their first few weeks of use. "They should be introduced into a skin care regimen gradually and cautiously," Friedman says.
A Wrinkle in Botox Injections
Not long ago, Friedman's 23-year-old cousin approached him about getting Botox injections. She had heard that injections of the botulinum toxin, which are used to smooth horizontal forehead furrows and the vertical "11" lines between the brows, were also effective in preventing these wrinkles from ever forming.
Friedman turned her down. "I don't believe in treating wrinkles you can't see," he says, "and there’s no evidence that Botox is effective as a preventative tool." He says, "Long-term overuse of the drug could possibly lead to atrophy of the muscles. That can cause the face to appear inadvertently aged, despite the lack of wrinkles."
Zeichner says he sometimes turns away 20-something Botox seekers because they’re seeing flaws that aren’t apparent to anyone else. "We live in an age of photo shopping," he says, "and some young people believe the retouched images of celebrities they see in magazines are attainable. They're not."