Every single day we wake up, we are one day older and our skin ages one more day. It is important to employ prevenative measures to our skin to minimize the appearance of aging.
Yes, there are genetic factors that are predetermined which delegates how we will age. But a lot of our photodamage and skin aging comes from environmental factors such as UV exposure, cigarette smoke and environmental pollution. Other factors such as poor nutrition can accelerate our aging process as well.
When discussing damage from the sun and wrinkles of the skin, the two most important products that can be used are topical sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. Opt for a zinc/titanium physical blocking type of sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen. This is a must have to be worn every worning after you wash your face with a gentle cleanser (and maybe apply an anti-oxidant such as Vitamin C serum, with my favorite being Skinceuticals C/E/Ferulic, www.skinceuticals.com ).
Reapply sunscreen if you are active outside and will be outdoors through out the day.
At night it is important to use a retinoic acid (such as generic tretinoin). Tretinoin will increase cell turnover and re-establish the cell cycle which tends to be sluggish and cell turnover increases as we get older. The shortening of this cell cycle will allow for dead epidermal cells to gently slough off. Tretinoin also helps minimize the degradation of collagen and elastin and boosts the production of these two important proteins in the skin. It also has anti-oxidant properities and is not expensive.
There is a website (www.goodrx.com) that can show you what the cost is of tretinoin 20 gm in your area.
It is important to start with tretinoin conservatively, maybe twice per week at nighttime for the first couple of weeks and then go to every other night. Give yourself breaks here and there for a couple of days if the skin sloughs too much, but the skin regulates quite quickly to the topical application of tretinoin.
With all the products out on the market, these two categories (sunscreen and retinoic acid) are must haves.