Skin Care Routine for Graceful Aging

Thank you! Hope you have a peaceful day

If you prefer learning through listening, you can hear this post on my Podcast 'Slow Down to Heal' Episode 13

In this post, I talk about the health of our skin, and the best way to take care of it in a loving and sustainable way. In our toxic beauty culture, I hope to fuel a conversation about true skin care – holistic health of our skin. While aging is a natural process in nature – what are the 4 things that are actually responsible for the damage of our skin? You will learn the scientifically proven skincare ingredients that actually heal our skin, and the ones to avoid.  I’ll share my real-life skincare routine as a 40-year-old female with breakout-prone skin & melasma. Read to find out about the Vitamin C-serums, what what’s the difference between AHA & BHA, and why we don’t need to invest in another collagen moisturizer

 

First, I want to mention that aging is part of living, and I am all about graceful aging, I want us to be healthy, active, happy, and inspired. I love women, and would never judge one for having plastic surgeries, we shall do absolutely whatever we want. My mission is to help us also add that youthful energy to our lifestyle, not just to our faces. I think preserving a playful step & skip is much more important than a never-aging face while our eyes run out of that mischievous sparkle, lets's cherish that ageless sparkle?!  Ok, here we go, let’s begin with

 

4 Causes of Skin Damage As We Age: 

 

1. The sun, photo aging contributes to over 70% of the damage to our skin. I know…our life-giving star also is killing us little by little.  More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma…(UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen. Ok, did I scare you enough not to get that careless skin burn ever again?

The UV not only causes the dark spots called hyperpigmentation but also breaks down the structural proteins that hold the shape of our skin - collagen and elastin, like springs and the padding of our skin's 'mattress'.  No matter what fancy skin products we buy, and the skin procedures we do, if we do not protect ourselves from the sun - our skin will always suffer.

Now at 40, I really wish someone had warned me that here in California our UV index is dangerous most of the year - I would have started wearing a hat as soon as I moved here 17 years ago. For instance, all this week are extreme UV conditions – 10 very high, and I saw 11 a lot recently, which is called extreme! My skin is very sensitive to the sun – every summer my freckles and sun spots get so bright I look like a baby tiger, don't mess with me, meaws🐱!  Below, I'm sharing my Sun Damage Recovery skincare routine my dermatologist had recently put me on.  Our sun here in California is so strong that I'd recommend you wear a hat AND sun protective clothing. If you want to sunbathe for Vitamin D, you can soak in more gentle, afternoon sunrays after 4 pm when the UV index gets moderate, around 5. I don’t need to tell you the importance of the SPF, I am here to tell you, never rely just on SPF. SPF needs reapplying to actually work, but clothes and hats are your BFF and have absolutely no side effects. If you ever run into me outside - you'll notice I always wear a hat with at least 3 inches rim – I want my neck to be safe too. Hats also, protect our hair from thinning caused by UV damage. You get compliments on hats all the time - so many reasons to put a hat on and protect, protect, protect! 

 

Sun protection is KEY to healthy skin, it truly does matter what products we use if we do not protect our skin during the day from the sun.

2.  Cellular damage caused by the Advanced Glycation End-products  (AGEs), also known as glycation process.  This process was first introduced by Louis-Camille Maillard in 19124 - the reaction is also known as the Maillard or browning reaction. The glycation process leads to a loss of protein function and impaired elasticity of tissues such as blood vessels, skin, and tendons, and even damages our DNA.  We need to protect ourselves from the Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins, which are the molecules that come from excessive glucose in our diet. They are responsible for diabetes, chronic inflammation, and cancer.  Imagine every time we eat more carbs than our body needs, that extra glucose browns /cooks/ your cells from inside, altering their structure and function. This is what ages us from the inside, naturally as our body can't keep up with breaking down the extra carbs we eat, but that AGE's also come in our food. The worst foods that have the most amount of AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are cheese & meats, the more browned, the more damaging for our cells it is.  For instance, grilled broccoli and mushrooms have 260 AGEs, and 3oz of grilled steak or chicken over 5,000 AGES, 20 times more.  Here is the link to Mount Sinai’s research and a table with a list of foods and AGE's content. 

That said, glycation is a normal process of aging of our live, fascinating molecular body, and our body has the mechanisms to repair itself. We just have to help it repair and prevent more damage by eating healthier and more veggies and reducing the amount of stress we live with. Stress means no repair possible. Listen to my Vagus Nerve Episode to understand the working of our Nervous system and how mental overstimulation diminishes all our natural repair processes.  If we can implement daily practices to reduce our stress and spend more time in a parasympathetic state - we can help our body repair itself as it does best in that environment.

 

 

3. Chronic skin inflammation and scarring due to auto auto-immune disorders, chronic stress, and all internal disease that cause conditions like acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, rosacea, eczema, and more. Please listen to my gut health podcast to start navigating your internal health as our internal organ's health contributes to the majority of skin disorders. To prevent skin inflammation caused by topicals, we absolutely have to stop using all skincare products that have any perfumes and artificial fragrances, colors, mineral oil, lanolin, S.D. alcohol, parabens, and microplastics. Make sure your cleanser, moisturizers, SPF, shampoo, conditioner, and detergent do not have artificial fragrances. Your detergent is all over your sheets & towels, and that touches your skin, a lot. 

Once you eliminate those – we gotta look within to find a cause of all skin issues. According to the latest medical research, the microbiome is a key regulator for the immune system and maintains homeostasis (meaning balance, I love that nerdy word 'homeostasis', our body’s 'business' of keeping us alive) tissues and organs in a bidirectional manner. While there are many medical studies that show eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis as symptoms of digestive disease, I still cannot believe that doctors prescribe steroid creams and oral medication instead of sending people to an internalist. Please, if you have any chronic skin condition like cystic acne, eczema, or dermatitis - visit a gastroenterologist, or any internal doctor before you visit a dermatologist. Any chronic skin disease is usually a sign of an internal condition that cannot be seen by the eye, and definitely cannot be healed by any steroid cream. Here is the current scientific summary of GI-Skin relationships   

 

I check on my gut health regularly now to keep my skin and hair healthy, I eat loads of veggies and manage my stress daily with daily yoga and exercise. Please make sure to read my Gut Health Post to understand how without healthy GI healthy skin is simply impossible. Over 8 years ago I have had healed my gut pain caused by H.Pylori, and 2 years back I asked my general doctor to order me a test order for bacterial balance, H.pylori, and parasites (just in case) to make sure that all is still under control. I promised myself to do a gut test here and there for preventative wellness.

 

 

4. The final reason for aging skin: Lack of circulation, and exercise. Without daily exercise, we all experience the loss of density in our tissues: skin, muscles, and of course, our bones. This is when we turn to a skin fitness routine, facials, and, cosmetic procedures. Our face has over 50 muscles that our skin holds on to and we can do so many things to improve skin's tone and circulation using any stimulation, massage, cupping, and simple daily exercises which not only help to make your skin glowing, but also reduce our stress and improve our mood. As I turned 40, I added Skin-Fitness Facial Treatment with Facial Cupping to our Glow Spa Menu and have been really enjoying the plumping energizing benefits of facial massage.  Having a regular facial with all stimulating massage, cupping, microcurrent, and other rejuvenating techniques that stimulate cellular renewal is an essential step to having healthy skin, body, and mind.  

 

 

Adult Pimples & Blackheads - What do we do with that? 

 

I want to touch on adult acne, pimples, and blackheads. They are a normal part of being human and happen to absolutely everyone who has oily skin, no matter how old we are or how famous we are.  The last time I was in NYC, I walked by Megan Fox. If it makes you feel any better, she has loads of acne scars and bumps on her face which did not prevent her from being in all those movies:)

Our sticky mineral sunscreens, makeup, our own dead cells, urban pollution- all that clog our pores and cause bumps and pimples. 

What we can do to improve it is to have impeccable skincare hygiene plus regularly scheduled deep-cleansing facials with exfoliation and professional extractions. Just like we go to cut our hair every few months, we need to schedule a facial and take loving care of our skin. 

 

I have always had oily skin and used to suffer from breakouts all the time. For all of my 20ties, I was on birth control and I tried literally everything after nothing worked, and went to see a dermatologist. We tried a few creams without results, and what actually helped me was a Vitamin-A prescription cream called Tretinoin. I cannot recommend it enough - it works amazingly both as an anti-aging agent and prevents breakouts. No retail retinol creams can compare: call your doctor today and begin with the lightest strength, maybe 0.025%. Make sure to use it just twice a week and apply extra moisturizer when you do. It might make your skin flake the first few weeks, but do not give up and little by little build it into your skincare regime. Retinol prescription helps our skin cells turn over faster preventing clogging off the oil glands  -  it works like magic, let me tell you that!  

 

I do need to make it clear the difference between a few pimples and acne vulgaris - a skin condition with multiple red-inflamed spots. Acne is inflammation and has to be carefully diagnosed by an internal doctor – a gastroenterologist, not a dermatologist.

7-STEP SKIN CARE REGIMEN:

Here is my current 40yo skincare regimen that helps me prevent breakouts and keeps my hyperpigmentation under control. I will share with you my 7 Steps, as well as the exact products I use to make it simple.

I also want to share with you the most essential skincare ingredients you want to invest in, and not buy into any products that are pure marketing BS.

 

Step 1. See your dermatologist every year. I put it in step one because in contemporary dermatologists' offices you can prevent skin cancer, get a prescription cream for sun damage, breakouts, and whatever treatment is best for your skin whatever your concern is. Your doctor can recommend if you have any sun damage, maybe you can be a candidate for laser treatment too.

Speaking of lasers, this summer my hyperpigmentation got so bright, that I was looking into laser treatments. My dermatologist (who also offers every laser treatment possible) discovered that my sun spots are actually a very stubborn case of melasma and that I’m not a good candidate for any lasers as the heat would only make it worse. Apparently, Melasma is a life-long sentence and I’ll just have to manage it, wear hats, and sunscreen. She has prescribed me a mix of Tretinoin (yay, amazing to keep my skin pimple-free), Hydrocortisone, and Hydroquinone and we are currently testing it out. I have been using the cream about twice a week, just I would use Tretinoin and my skin looks great.  I take an hour walk every day, always wear hats and sunscreen, and I am actually very happy with my skin!  

 

Step 2. Daily Skin Hygiene. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle face cleanser, and at night, use a double cleanse to take off all pollution, oil, products, and sunscreens. I use Special Cleansing Gel and a world's favorite Precleanse product by Dermalogica. In the evening I do a double cleanse with a Precleanse, to help break down my mineral Supergoop sunscreen and all the oils before I do the main cleanse.

 

Step 3. Weekly Exfoliation: 1-2 a week. There are two types of exfoliation: manual and chemical. Manual, any physical scrubs I do not recommend doing regularly at home as they can scratch the skin and inflame it. If you want manual exfoliation, I would recommend scheduling a Diamond Microdermabrasion (Smooth and Renew on our Spa Menu) once in a quarter, and let the specialist renew and repair your skin using professional-grade products.

 

Here I want to talk about chemical exfoliation, which is Hydroxy Acids & Enzymes – all are plant-based products that dissolve our dead skin & sebum. There are 3 types of active exfoliants I want you to know about:

AHA – alpha hydroxy acids that are great at un-sticking and removing our dead cells. Its lactic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid. 

BHA - beta hydroxy acid that is great for breaking down oils, amazing for dissolving deeper sebum, blackheads inside the pores, in oily skin. Its salicylic acid is also a great anti-inflammatory agent.

Enzymes – chew up & dissolve dead skin cells. They are the most gentle, great in cleansers and masks. Made of rice enzyme, pineapple (papain), and papaya.

 

Make sure not to over-exfoliate, do it a maximum of twice a week, and follow the instructions. To be most careful, I only use Dermalogica Microfoliant – which is an award-winning exfoliant for many years now. It has it all, salicylic acid, rice, and pineapple enzymes. Please make sure to watch the video on how to use it as it comes in a dry powder to make sure to keep all active ingredients from oxidizing. I adore Dermalogica, they now offer a refill in a pouch to minimize plastic waste.

 

And be careful! If you are using a prescription Retinol cream, you can over-exfoliate easily, that is why you never want to use those more than twice a week. And, is important to mention, that the exfoliation is only done at night, just like the prescription Retinol (Tretinoin), and make sure to use extra UV protection the next few days after exfoliating.

 

4. Use moisturizer and serums as skin food.  Know what ingredients to look out for and what to avoid.

Ok, here is what you want to see in your products: serums & moisturizers. You want to put actual antioxidants on your face – the more the better. Meaning actual vitamins and amino acids from flowers & seeds:  medically proven antioxidants that actually guard our cells against damage, and help repair our cells.

YOU WANT IN YOUR DAILY PRODUCTS: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Niacinamide (Vit B3), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Aloe vera, and pretty much all flower and seed oils like rosehip, sunflower, jojoba, rosemary, turmeric, chamomile, lavender, grapefruit, and so many more plants.

 

Vitamin C is an incredible antioxidant, but in its original form as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic Acid, its very unstable breaks down fast & often irritate the skin. Originally ascorbic acid is colorless, and when ascorbic acid breaks down it turns orange - when it happens you should throw it out.

The best Vitamin-C Serum for the skin is made of stable derivatives that have ‘ascorbyl’ and ones that have Vitamin E in the bottle as well. So, you absolutely must have Vitamin C Serum or moisturizer to nourish and guard your skin.

Vitamin B3, Niacinamide, and Vitamin E are incredible anti-inflammatory agents too, make sure you have it in one of your daily products too.

I make my own RoseHip Oil Serum where I add Turmeric oil, Lavender Oil, and a pure form of Vit -E from sunflower seeds.

I use daily: Biolumin-C Serum, Skin Smoothing Cream and my own Rosehip Oil Serum. I use the same skin-food products in the morning and night as I like to keep my skin nurtured 24/7, and I do not use eye-specific creams. I use the same product all over my face and neck.

I want to mention here that I am not affiliated with or paid for by Dermalogica, I just love their fragrance-free products packed with vitamins and actives, and I love the founder’s mission. her commitment to sustainability, and their world-class esthetician’s education. They invest an enormous amount into research and innovation, and I've been impressed with the results of their product for over a decade, and that is why we use their professional line in our Glow Wellness Spa.

What NOT to buy as your moisturizer or serum:  

absolutely anything with perfume, artificial fragrances, or colors. American Academy of Dermatology has identified fragrances and the most common allergens and requires product manufacturers to disclose if any are present. Products that are packed with fragrances cause inflammation on the skin which actually speeds up aging.

Another thing you don’t need to invest in is any skincare product that markets collagen products or hyaluronic acid. While the products could be harmless, there is no evidence that those ingredients can help our body synthesize (create) its own collagen or hyaluronic acid. It’s like while we do need to build protein, rubbing steak into our skin is not going to build our muscles. is just a marketing scheme. It's best to eat a variety of foods to help our body produce both, collagen and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been found to be a great moisturizing agent, but so is aloe vera, which comes with many more health benefits.

5. Sun Protection is KEY to preventing sun damage. I love using Invisible Physical Defense by Dermalogica, and if I want a tinted effect, I add Supergoop CC Tinted Sunscreen on top of that. The Supergoop CC acts as my daytime foundation – together with mascara, it’s my daily face updo 😍

 

 

6. Mmm, Spa days, my favorite, professional regular facial rejuvenation. My skin needs a clearing facial with extractions around about every other month, and I book a facial massage with cupping every month. If I had all the free time in the world  I would definitely schedule our skin-fitness facial massage with extractions, plus a full body massage every week - wouldn't that be just amazing?

 

7. Actual Skin Fitness! Facial and neck exercises. I have a specific 10-minute facial and neck fitness routine to relax overactive muscles and strengthen under-active muscles. I took a few facial fitness training over the years and developed my own routine that makes more sense to me. Below are a few of my techniques. And, I did put the most time-intensive techniques into our Skin-Fitness facial massage which is a 50-minute treatment – come in to relax >

 

 

Ok, I didn’t expect I have so much to share about skincare.. To finish this, I have a message: never compare your skin with anyone else, especially people you do not see in person: on social media and TV things are edited and that’s ok. Remember this: you are so beautiful, unique, literally like nobody else. Our skin is our biggest organ that protects us, and keeps us safe from pathogens! It gives us an incredible amount of information, signals us when something is broken inside of us, it gives us sensory pleasures. Close your eyes, take a deep inhale, and feel the clothes gently caressing your back. Imagine stepping into a warm bubble bath… feeling the bubbles ticking on your feet.

Let’s love our skin, appreciate it, cherish it, and nurture it.