You may have been told for years that the key to fixing your skin issues lies in fixing your wrinkles. And it makes sense. Your fine lines and wrinkles are easy to pick out and see—they're little inconsistencies on your face that you’re taught to look for starting from a young age. But here’s a fact to give you pause: they’re not the biggest issue making your skin look older than it should. In fact, lines and wrinkles only account for 5% of the skin issues associated with the appearance of aging skin. Dealing with the other 95% of your skin issues is where you can really make a difference and take years off your skin, but it takes a little bit of knowledge and proven ingredients to get the results you want. Luckily for you, Dr. Neal Schultz, a leading dermatologist in New York City and founder of BeautyRx, has taken the results from 10,000 patient visits a year and decades of experience to bring you up to speed and bring your best skin to the surface.
What Is Making My Skin Look Older?
So many people are unhappy with the appearance of their facial skin when they look in the mirror. Sure they can recognize a line or a wrinkle but usually they don’t recognize what it is that they’re seeing that makes them unhappy with their appearance. That’s simply because nobody’s ever taught them what components contribute to the appearance of facial skin. Dr. Schultz explains, “When people come into my office and say to me, ‘I need a pickup,’ what they’re really saying is they’re unhappy with what they see in the mirror. Then they say, ‘I need a Botox treatment,’ and I say, ‘I can give you a Botox treatment but it’s not going to make you happy.’ And what I’m saying is, fixing lines and wrinkles alone will not solve the problem that you’re seeing in the mirror.”
To keep it simple, you can understand the appearance of skin aging by understanding these three categories: colors, textures, and contours. Everybody understands the contour issues like lines, wrinkles, and creases, but interestingly those only account for 5% of what you’re seeing in the mirror. The other 95% is the combination of color and texture. Colors mean discolorations like reds and browns in your skin’s complexion. The reds can be due to either broken capillaries or red blotches. The browns can be individual brown spots like age spots, liver spots, or even brown blotches on your face. And then we have the all-important texture issues. Texture issues rob your skin of brightness and luster, causing it to be dull, matte, flakey, and large-pored. They end up diminishing the smoothness of the skin. Dr. Schultz uses this example of the relative importance of color and texture issues compared to issues with lines: He says, “Think of a pilled, stained, wrinkled shirt and then iron out the wrinkles. What are you left with? A pilled, stained shirt. So the next time you look in the mirror I think you’ll have a much better understanding of what you’re seeing, and you’ll realize it’s not just about wrinkles.”
How Can I Make My Skin Look Younger?
Know Your Skin Type
Is your skin dry and flaky or is it oily all-over? What if it’s a combination of both? The first step to getting the best results for younger-looking skin is knowing your skin type. That way, you can decide which products are best for you. Using the wrong products can make your skin concerns worse. For example, if you have dry skin, you want to make sure your products add moisture to your skin, giving it that buoyant, youthful texture. If you use a product that eliminates all excess oil, you may find your skin drier than before. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, you want to steer clear of products that are oil-based as they’ll simply amplify your current oil overload. If you aren't sure of your skin type, take this quick quiz.
Exfoliation Will Help Color, Texture, and Contour Issues
As you get older, your skin will not rejuvenate as well or as fast as it did when you were younger. As a result, dead skin cells will pile up on the outer layer of your skin. This causes your skin to look dull, lifeless, and older. Exfoliating gently breaks down that layer of dead skin to reveal your gorgeous, glowing skin underneath it. Dr. Schultz says, “You already have gorgeous, glowing skin. But you can’t see it because it’s covered by a layer of dead cells that make your skin look dull, tired, discolored, large-pored, and just older.” With daily exfoliation using next generation exfoliants like Tetrafoliant®, your skin will appear more radiant than ever and will more effectively absorb all of your other skincare products.
Antioxidants Will Help You Achieve Brighter Skin
From pollution to the sun's UV rays, there are many elements that cause discoloration and texture issues to make your skin appear older. In addition to exfoliation, another incredible product to help protect against those elements—known as free radicals—is the antioxidant vitamin C. Dr. Schultz says, “Vitamin C is the most effective antioxidant at preventing the signs of skin aging and free radical damage. The purpose and role of antioxidants, especially topical antioxidants, is to absorb that bad energy before it can hit the DNA and the collagen; absorb it and protect the important parts of your skin and your body.” When free radicals slip through the cracks, antioxidants are the superheroes who help get rid of those “bad guys.” Sunscreen plays defense and helps block the UV rays that the sun throws at your skin, but it doesn’t protect you from all of it. Some of the damaging ultraviolet light breaks through and can still cause damage. Antioxidants neutralize the damage done by sacrificing themselves to the free radicals in place of your skin cells. This helps repair your skin and protect you from wrinkles or discolorations from sun exposure.
The Right Ingredients Will Help Reduce the Look of Pores
Even if you haven’t broken out in years, enlarged pores can wreak havoc on otherwise healthy skin. They often appear on the nose, so there is no hiding their presence at center stage on your face. Instead of trying to conceal them with makeup, learning how to reduce their appearance can help your textural issues and take years off the look of your skin.
Enlarged pores are caused by excess oil and dead cells mixing together to form a clog in your pore—a mixture Dr. Schultz has termed “pore sludge.” While you can't make pores disappear altogether, there are ways to minimize them. “It is a combination of physical and chemical exfoliation,” said Dr. Schultz. Using exfoliants will remove dead surface skin and ultimately prevent the mixing of dead cells and oil in an open pore. Try using a physical exfoliator at the end of your shower by massaging it into your skin for ten to fifteen seconds before rinsing it off. A granulated exfoliator should be gentle and applied on and around your nose.
Following your shower, use a specifically formulated chemical exfoliant to actually get inside the pore and remove the “pore sludge”. The combination of the physical and chemical exfoliant should be used every day, once a day. In two weeks, you will begin to see a reduction in the appearance of your pores.
Dr. Schultz Explains Why It’s Not Just About Wrinkles
Watch Dr. Schultz explain why only dealing with wrinkles won’t get you to the youthful-looking skin you crave. See what he recommends instead.
What If You Still Want to Focus On Wrinkles?
Although it’s not all about wrinkles, there are certainly times when fixing fine lines and wrinkles is your main focus. Once you get your 95% in order, fixing the 5% won’t be too difficult. Read up on Dr. Schultz’s advice for getting rid of fine lines, wrinkles, and even deep creases in your skin’s surface with our guide to wrinkles.
Your At-Home Regimen
Now that you know your older-looking skin can be fixed by focusing on color and texture in addition to contours, you’ve got an easy path to achieving the freshest, most youthful skin you’ve ever had. First, make sure you’re exfoliating daily. Protect yourself with antioxidants (and of course, sunscreen). And finally, for those pesky pore issues, use pore-specific ingredients to eliminate the look of enlarged pores.
When you look in the mirror, you should be thrilled with the way you look. Your skin will age because we all age. But you can glow gracefully over the years, not just by preventing further skin aging, but by actually transforming your skin today into skin that looks better than it did ten years ago. That kind of transformation is possible with consistency, proven products, and just a little bit of knowledge. This means your beautiful, glowing, younger-looking skin is just a couple weeks away.