IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE
Every Australian knows this. Even doctors know this.
Best thing you can do
To keep you looking young
Is slop on goop slap on a hat
And keep out of the sun.
But let me add: the sunscreen has to be comfortable enough for every day use, and the fact is that, for most people, a SPF30+ moisturiser is more comfortable than a pharmacy sunscreen, especially the water-resistant ones which perforce must be oil-based.
Also, protection and prevention includes protection from the harmful effects of smoking, alcohol, lousy diet. And, frankly, some Australians might prevent some skin damage by actually reducing certain exercise forms. There is such a thing as “runner’s face”
This is next because it is easy simple safe and inexpensive. But mostly because it works.
Young skin has a THIN epidermis that is smooth and allows light to readily pass through. Hence the colours of the dermis are clearly apparent, and the skin can glow.
Old skin has a relatively THICK epidermis that is rough. Old epidermis is a little opaque, lending the skin a certain greyness, a dullness. The dermal colours are obscured
Exfoliation, by scrub, by microdermabrasion, by having hydroxyacids in your skin care, or by chemical peeling, all thins the epidermis back to a more youthful pattern. Smoother. Brighter.
Furthermore, young skin has a thick strong dermis with lots of collagen.
In old skin the dermis is typically thinned and with less collagen (excepting in the specific case of actinic elastosis). Some, a lot, of the thinning is inherent in ageing. But some of it is due to lack of abrasive stimulation: a lack of ‘exercise’ of skin repair mechanisms, if you will.
Exfoliation by whatever means prompts dermal repair and thickening as the fibroblasts respond to the measured stimulus of the exfoliative process. Just as lifting weights promotes muscle strengthening, so microdermabrasion promotes skin strengthening.
After protection, after exfoliation, come active agents especially vitamin A.
The effect of topically applied vitamin A to reverse ageing effects on skin has been known at least since Kligman wrote about it in 1986. Topical vitamin A will bring about more rapid cell turnover through the epidermis, strengthening the living cell layer whilst diminishing the dead cell layer. Irregularities of epidermal pigment are thus reduced. Smoothness improves. Meanwhile, dermal collagen formation is stimulated. Skin strengthens. Oil production diminishes. And fine lines diminish: this has been well documented over 20+ years.
Other actives have a role, notably vitamin C and copper. But it continues to amaze me that more people are not using vitamin A in their skin care.
Cleansers are much less important than many people think. They can be more important when combined with agents such as hydroxyacids in order to get some exfoliation during cleansing. Obviously it is important that cleansers are not harsh. And it is true that actives work better when applied through cleansed skin rather than dirty skin. So, yes, there is a role for cleansers.
Hydrators, aka moisturisers, are not very important. They plump up superficial epidermal cells whilst the hydrator is present, but when washed off the skin rapidly returns to the way it would have been had the hydrator never been applied.
So, that’s it…