Most of us get to a certain age and—bam!—we look in the mirror and tug at our face, wondering what we can do to look younger. We'll try just about anything—lotions and potions and creams. But do they all work? We asked New Jersey dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., and dermatologist Patricia Farris, M.D., coauthor of The Sugar Detox, to weigh in on some common anti-aging advice, and separate the facts from fiction.
Why it's not true: We smooth it on and expect moisturizer to just wipe our wrinkles away. But that is not what moisturizer does."Only using sunblock prevents wrinkles," says Dr. Downie."Some moisturizers can make wrinkles harder to see, other moisturizers really don't do anything to affect wrinkles one way or the other." What moisturizers do is lessen the appearance of wrinkles by hydrating your skin. In terms of wearing sunblock, "for sunblock to be effective in preventing wrinkles it must be a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or above," says Dr. Downie. And you should reapply it every two hours and use it year-round even when it's not super sunny.
Why it's not true: First off, if you think that putting on foundation and blush and other makeup somehow creates a layer of protection for your skin against the sun's rays, you'd be wrong. There's nothing in traditional makeup that protects you from the sun. "Even if the makeup has an SPF 30 or above in it, make up is put on thicker in some areas and thinner in others," says Dr. Downie. To really protect your skin, she suggests using separate sunblock SPF 30 or above every day prior to putting on your make up.
Why it's not true: It's not about the cost, says Dr. Downie, it's about products having a lot of science behind them. "Products tested in double-blind clinical trials typically work better then the ones that have a lot of fluff behind them," she says. Are those products more expensive? Sometimes, but not always. "Many inexpensive products found in the drugstore are good," says Dr. Farris. "Stick to major consumer brands like Neutrogena, Roc, and Eucerin for good products that are backed by good science."
And, say both physicians, pay attention to ingredients and how the products are formulated. If you don't know what to buy, talk to your dermatologist and ask for product recommendations or ask what ingredients and formulations you should be looking for, so you can compare products.
Why it's not true: Google "facial exercises" and you'll find pages and pages of different moves that supposedly help you tone your skin. But according to Dr. Downie, "facial exercises don't work at all." Though they're touted as a way to strengthen muscles and tighten skin, there is no research supporting their effectiveness. "Gravity, genetics, sun, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep all contribute to poor facial aging patterns," she says. If facial exercises worked, she reasons, our faces would look younger simply by chewing our food.
Why it's not true: It's not about how much you use, it's about tailoring your skin care regiment to the type of skin you have. "If your skin is oily, more lotion and cream can make you look shiny and greasy," says Dr. Downie. Simple skincare regimens are also easier to follow, says Dr. Farris. "In general, antioxidants followed by a broad spectrum sunscreen in the morning will protect the skin, and a cream with retinol or peptides in the evening to repair the skin."
The only time more really is better? "More sunblock is always better than less sunblock," Dr. Downie says.
Why it's not true: "Nothing accentuates wrinkles more than filling them with make-up," says Dr. Farris. "You can’t spackle the cracks!!" Instead, she suggests using light powders and softer colors as you age to make you look younger. If you need help, take a look at this video on the best ways to apply makeup if you're over 50.
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