How to keep my skin looking young and fresh?!
December 29, 2014 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I am in my late 20's and I am starting to notice my pores getting bigger, I have some acne scars, I am starting to notice small brown spots on my cheeks and have fine lines around my eyes. I have been getting Botox since I was 24 (crows feet), I have had 1 microdermabrasion, and I have had a couple facials (which felt like a waste of time). I would like to try some type of chemical peel but am nervous because I have sensitive skin. Also, since my early 20's I have developed Cystic acne around my chin before my period, which are the worst, and last for a couple of weeks. Anyways, I am looking for some advise on ways to keep my skin looking young, healthy and fresh.
posted by jk9119 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I used to get very bad acne, mostly around my chin, which my doctor explained was hormonal. (I was not using the pill for birth control.) My dermatologist suggested I try Spironolactone, and my skin has dramatically improved. I have been taking 100 mg a day for a few years, and I've only had a handful of pimples since, when I've been working or traveling a lot and inconsistent with taking the medicine. I haven't experienced any side effects from the medicine and (if you're in the US), it has been either very cheap or free, depending on my insurance coverage.
posted by Caz721 at 11:11 AM on December 29, 2014

Sunscreen, every day. And retinol/another form of retinol.

Check out SkincareAddiction on Reddit as well.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:14 AM on December 29, 2014 [9 favorites]

sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen

read The Original Beauty Bible: Skin Care Facts for Ageless Beauty by Paula Begoun
posted by Jacqueline at 11:16 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sunscreen every day. Some sort of AHA, I like Paulas Choice (the brand of the author Jacqueline recommended)as a brand, have never had a bad product, but if you do they have a easy return policy. They have a selection of different formulas to so you can find one that you like. or if you ring them up they'll even work out the best products for you, in a low pressure way. I'd also look at a Vitamin C serum, to help fade the dark spots as well. Remember what ever products you use will take time to show results, anything that promises overnight results is lying. If you use any products with retinols or AHA/BHA's etc you will have to be even more strict about sunscreen.

But if you just want one thing you can do a good physical sunscreen that stops both UVA & UVB.
posted by wwax at 11:19 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

My wife is from Japan, and she says she cannot understand how any woman (or any man for that matter) older than, say 25, spends time out in the sun without covering up.

When we go to the beach in the summer she is totally covered, and wears a sun hat, a cotton cardigan, and capri pants. And sunscreen - lots and lots of sunscreen. As a result she has retained collagen in her skin which means no wrinkles and no freckles.

She also uses moisturizer and avoids any kind of exfoliation or anything else that damages her skin. No facecloths and so on.

She looks great.
posted by Nevin at 11:22 AM on December 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

A clarifying moisturizer might work ok for your pore issues as long as you're not prone to dry skin breakouts. I used to love philosophy's Hope In A Bottle but they inexplicably discontinued it and replaced it with a variety of things that don't even work half as well. Right now I'm using Murad's Skin Perfecting Lotion and it's close enough but I still have to do some kind of clay facial once a week to tidy things up.

As for sunscreen it's a very good idea to wear one daily but I can't recommend the ones that come in a moisturizer-sunscreen combo because they don't work for me personally, every single one I have tried has caused breakouts. But try some and see if they work for you.

ALSO definitely do not neglect the upper chest/cleavage area if you are prone to wearing v-necks or low-cut shirts in the summer, because of all the places my skin is showing sun-aged looks, that area is hands down the absolute worst.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:24 AM on December 29, 2014

I also have sensitive skin and cystic acne on my chin. One thing that has helped me is using a BHA exfoliant to keep my pores clear, as described here. But if you can, you should see a dermatologist to talk about other options, like Accutane.

In general, daily sunscreen use and a good, consistent skin care routine are both hugely helpful. I recommend reading through some of these articles on skin care basics. They really helped me address some of my skin issues.
posted by neushoorn at 11:25 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sunscreen and don't mess with it too much. A little exfoliation is fine, I recommend Vtiamin C (make it yourself for Mac effectiveness) lymphatic drainage massages, Cerave for a moisturizer and being gentle. Don't scrub or poke at it, don't touch it more than you have to. Don't use irritating products or makeup and be very gentle removing eye makeup, I basically dissolve mine then blot it off, no wiping ever.

Don't do a chemical peel for the reasons you mentioned (very small signs of aging) on sensitive skin. Its basically a burn, there are risks and its not worth it for that. If you do get it done anyway go to a doctor, a real one.

Definitely don't get laser on your skin, it has a very high rate of side effects.

And, for the love of all that is holy, don't start getting fillers until you're in your 70s maybe. I know a LOT of people who get fillers. Without exception, you look great for about 5 years and then you turn into The Joker. Don't do that to yourself at your age.

Botox is fine, I notice people who've been doing that for 15 years have nice skin.

It seems like these days, half the trick is not to mess up your face with weird treatments.
posted by fshgrl at 11:41 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Salicylic acid 2% will reduce your pores. I like Paula's choice brand.

Vitamin C serum and hydroquinone will reduce the brown spots. There is a DIY C serum on the reddit skincare page mentioned above.

And Always Wear Sunscreen. Even in winter. ESPECIALLy after microdermabrasion facials.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have some acne scarring from cystic acne in my early twenties and I wish I had taken some sort of heavy duty medication at the time. Probably the best thing you can do for your skin in terms of scarring is getting a prescription for Accutane, birth control or spironolactone.

In terms of wrinkle prevention advice that is medically legitimate, peer reviewed, etc. etc. not smoking and wearing sunscreen daily is what is going to make your skin look awesome in twenty years. But you are twenty something. The realities that are coming are that 1. you will age and 2. you can't really stop it. Enjoy being young :-) And wear sun screen and don't smoke. I spent too much time in my twenties wringing my hands over things I couldn't control and feeling old at, like, age 29, which is silly. I'd also go easy on the botox, but that's just personal preference. I have pretty imperfect skin and feel much better about my appearance (and am more wrinkly!) in my thirties than in my twenties.
posted by mermily at 12:13 PM on December 29, 2014 [5 favorites]

In her mid-50s, my mother had the youngest looking skin of anyone I knew her age.

- never tans, always wears a hat/sunscreen
- drinks lots of water
- never uses makeup
- washes with soap and water
- suffered from acne into her 30s (more oil in her skin)
- was overweight (thus fewer wrinkles)

Okay - not all of that is possible or desirable (especially overweight - much worse in the long run).

But I have pretty good skin and people often think I'm 10 years younger than I am (37). Partly, this may be genetic (see above re:mom - we both have relatively thick skin and tend to slightly oily skin), but also I also wear makeup only occasionally, don't intentionally tan, drink lots of water, and wash my face with either just a washcloth and water or a gentle scrub (walnut shell pieces in a moisturising scrub).
posted by jb at 12:21 PM on December 29, 2014

One thing that really helps my skin more than facials ever did is using a Clarisonic (I use the sensitive brush) and, in my case, lots of Cetaphil moisturizer. Your skin may be different, but this made a huge difference in how my skin feels and looks. Also nthing sunscreen and a hat/staying out of the sun when possible.
posted by three_red_balloons at 12:22 PM on December 29, 2014

Echoing sunscreen. You can't stress it enough. My dad who has had more skin cancer spots removed than any ten people should said his dermatologist said most of the damage showing up as cancer in his 60s was done in his teens and 20s.
posted by cecic at 12:23 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

For the kind of acne it sounds like you have, I had great results with Epiduo, which is a prescription topical made up of adapalene a milder synthetic retinoid than Retin-A (so it works as both an anti-acne thing and age-fighter - easier for sensitive skin to tolerate than Retin-A), and benzoyl peroxide. (Personally, I would stay away from Accutane because of the possible side effects, but that's a cost-benefit analysis for you to make.)

2nding an exfoliant - AHA or BHA (salicylic acid) - that link above also explains what they're supposed to do.

2nding a Vitamin C serum to help brighten skin tone and offer antioxidant protection from damage - it may help with the dark spots, a bit. Kojic or mandelic acid treatments can be more effective for melasma, but the Vitamin C is good to use daily. Hydroquinone does work, but it can have some weird side effects.)

Nthing sunscreen. You'll especially need it if you use the other stuff, because all that makes your skin photosensitive and will invite more dark spots, otherwise. A lot of sunscreens are cloggy, though. Two that haven't broken me out (of the dozens I've tried): La Roche Posay's Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60 for a chemical option, very protective and sits nicely under makeup - not sure if it's available in the States, though, as it's got Mexoryl (which works really well), and Derma-e's Antioxidant Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 Oil-Free Face Lotion (16% zinc). It's untinted and "non-nano"* so leaves a very slight white cast - if you're a WoC, you might want to try one that's tinted. (See this on chemical vs. physical sunscreens. I've switched to that physical now, because, well, I'm a worrier.) A lot of people have reactions to sunscreens with titanium dioxide (I did), and do better with zinc.

*There was some concern around the safety of nano-sized zinc particles, but it looks like people are less worried about it than they were.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:19 PM on December 29, 2014

Yes, this might be obvious, but moisturize every single day. I also have sensitive skin and I use one with oatmeal in it.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:23 PM on December 29, 2014

Two relevant books are "Feed Your Face", and "The Hormone Cure". Both will help you make diet changes that should help the cystic acne and melasma. I don't get cystic acne but I get monthly breakouts like clockwork and have been looking into diet-related answers because I'm tired of slathering my face in chemicals to control them and I don't want to be on the pill.

Nthing a good broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen. Borage oil is a good supplement for wrinkles.
posted by lafemma at 2:47 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am a sunblock devotee, and have always worn cover-ups in the sun. But that stuff is not sure fire magic. I've worn more sunblock in my life than anyone I know, and I still have all of the signs of aging that you mention. I'm a 32-year-old with serious crow's feet.

Not saying that sunblock is useless. Definitely use it. But over 20 years of sunblock devotion has not halted my aging that much. Some of this is your genes.

Retinoids are pretty great, though. If you can tolerate them.
posted by Coatlicue at 3:46 PM on December 29, 2014

Spironolactone made a huge difference for hormonal acne. I was scared to take it because of the list of potential side effects, but I haven't had any that would make me go off it.

Also, Paula's choice 2% BHA liquid makes a difference that other people can see.

I also use sunscreen, have tried Vitamin C, retinoids. Sunscreen is probably working, but I can't test that on myself. The Vitamin C and retinoids made no noticeable difference for me.

Good luck!
posted by pizzazz at 3:56 PM on December 29, 2014

One more thing: wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat whenever possible, don't squint.
posted by fshgrl at 4:52 PM on December 29, 2014

Please do NOT wash your face with soap. The ph is much higher than your skin's and can destroy your skin barrier. Soap is not made for the face. Use a gentle, ph-neutral cleanser that doesn't foam too much. (Foam can be drying.)

She also uses moisturizer and avoids any kind of exfoliation or anything else that damages her skin. No facecloths and so on.

Vigorous physical exfoliation is certainly bad for the skin, but gentle chemical exfoliation (which is what retinal, glycolic acid etc. do) is good for cell turnover and can help keep your pores clean if you are acne-prone. Please read up on all this somewhere. I highly recommend (for the second time) Reddit's SkincareAddiction forum.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:37 AM on December 30, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you for all the responces !
posted by jk9119 at 8:10 PM on January 5, 2015

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