HI EVERYONE! First, thank you for the support I've received from other guides. I appreciate your kind notes.
If you're like me, a Baby Boomer, you're a child of the GREATEST Generation. Be proud of that. Now that we're growing older, we are the generation refusing to LOOK or act old. I am almost 63, a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I can tell you that I am a young 63 and most of my friends are too. Why? We're fighting the signs of aging!
Now older, we've vowed to fight aging so we're seeing a plethera of products with huge price tags, to attain a youthful appearance. This is a virtual diamond mine for those in the cosmetic industry, and it just keeps growing. My research has given me a chance to take a closer look at what we're doing. Personally, I think it's extreme now, but the billions of dollars a year industry striving to help us keep looking youthful has exploded! Each new "break through" product claims we'll look like anyone from Cindy Crawford to a 20 year old model. Baby Boomers, let's get real. That won't happen.
So, let's get to the point. No matter what you put on your skin, older women will not reverse the signs of aging enough to look like Cindy. There is no magic anything out there, I promise. Over the past year, not only have I researched on my own, I've done so by purchasing many of the products that promise to stop or reverse the signs of aging. Some were pretty darn good, others were just jars or bottles of water with a few long named ingredients, that did little if anything but cost a small fortune!
Surgical intervention is the only way to actually do what many of these products claim to do, but many of us, myself included, have made the decision to fight, but not with a knife! There are also injections of fillers and even toxins, that will paralyze/relax small muscles for a short time seemingly erasing lines and wrinkles or plump them up. My decision to avoid needles, toxins and fillers was made when I realized they were temporary just like other "lift" products applied topically though they last longer.
I am pleased to be able to have done this home research so you don't have to. I want to encourage sellers of these non prescription products to keep doing so, but after reading, I hope you will consider what you are selling and maybe change your inventory accordingly, just a little bit. You'll save money, your customers will be happy and save money, AND, if you do a good job, they will be back! If sellers do this right, they will find they are making more money because buyers have saved where savings are most practical allowing them to spend a bit more on your more expensive products.
For buyers, you will also benefit. You can stop spending money on products that do not work and save that money for better products that do.There are no instant products OTC or by prescription that will work over night. That is the truth! I don't believe anything that took 60 years to happen can be erased over night."So, JJ, you seem to be a know it all. Tell me how to save; how to choose products that deliver and avoid those that don't"!
That's fair,though I am far from a "know it all". I've spent time and money for over a year to bring you my opinions based on my own research results. I am only addressing the face and neck and those of us who have decided not to go under the knife or spend thousands on injections. If you've had procedures, you must follow your doctor's recommendations. PERIOD! This guide is not for you. Please keep that in mind.
You can find facial cleansers that are as expensive as a new pair of designer shoes! I choose shoes. Because I did my homework, maybe I can afford them. Think of the length of time it takes to wash your face. A minute? So, if you're paying a king's ransom for a cleanser, WHY? It isn't on your face long enough to do anything but cleanse. It didn't take a year of research to figure that out. My recommendation; save the price of high end cleansers and use the money for products that work because the ingredients stay on your skin longer! A lot of anti aging products come in "kits" complete with "miracle" ingredients in the included cleanser. RULE ONE: Avoid buying anti aging products in "complete kits". You will save money. I will tell you how to buy products individually, that will give you possible real results and real savings.
So, what cleansers do I recommend? Actually I'd like to start with what I do NOT recommend. First, avoid soap. Soap is a no-no for two reasons. First, it's very drying to the skin and secondly, soap is dirty. WHAT? I said, "Soap is dirty." Well why do we use it for a shower or a bath or to wash our hands if it's dirty? EXACTLY! Once a bar of soap is opened and becomes wet, it stays wet for a while and germs can attach. Also, soap dries out itself, so imagine what it does to the more delicate skin on our faces and necks. That's a no-brainer if you think about it. Look at a dry bar of soap in your soap dish and you will see lines and cracks in it, they all do that with few exceptions. That is exactly what we want to avoid; lines and "cracks". Yes but why is it dirty? Most of us wash our faces in the bathroom right? Did you know that when you flush a toilet, if you didn't close the lid first, the very act of flushing spews an invisible "mist" for lack of a better word, quite a distance. It likely reaches your sink and anything on your vanity. In most cases, it isn't all that serious, but do you really want what you thought you got rid of when you flushed, to attach to your soap, the very soap you may use on your face? Of course you don't. So, soap is out, you just can't give me a good enough argument for using a drying product on your face that is likely harboring germs!
There is a soap that claims to contain one third moisturizing lotion. You know the one, it's named after a bird. Look, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it's a duck! There may be some properties in that particular "bar" that keep it from drying out your skin as much as others, BUT, remember, soap is dirty! Dirty hands have touched it. Dirty soap dishes contain it, and no matter how much moisturizing product it contains, it's still not the best choice of facial cleansers. It may be the better choice if you insist on soap, but only in that case.
There is a product, brand name, Albolene. It is a petrolium jelly looking cleanser. It's been around for many years and you can even buy it here on eBay! Best of all, it's very inexpensive. You get a huge jar for between seven and ten dollars. It comes plain, unscented, or with vitamins included and now other ingredients, but think of what I said before. Why pay extra for those ingredients when they won't stay on your skin to begin with? So the old stand by original unscented Albonlene will work just fine. It lasts so long you'll probably not have gone through a large jar in a year! BUT, we need to know how to keep our cleanser "clean" so we aren't putting contaminates on our skin.
You can purchase little cosmetic spatulas for next to nothing. They are little plastic scoops if you will, that you use to get the product out of the container without touching the contents of the whole container with your hands thereby contaminating it. This is very imortant because our hands are dirtier than we may like to think and under our fingernails lurk monsters even Steven King hasn't thought of. Albolene (tm) comes in a jar, so it has a large screw down cap. This is great for a couple reasons. First, you can retrieve the product easily with a clean cosmetic spatula and immediately close the lid. Remember what we talked about earlier, the yucky part, that when you flush, a fine invisible mist of what you are flushing can reach most of your bathroom objects? Oh, a little note regarding the brand name Albolene. Anything that has been around as long as it has, must be good for something. We've all seen products come and go. This one has stood the test of time and NO, I do not work for that company or sell that product!
Your little spatula should be kept clean and stored in a clean container to make sure it's not contaminated when you use it. After using it, clean it with an antibacterial wipe, and store it in a clean little container. A small clean empty pill bottle works great. You may find something better, but to date, all the things I've tried for spatula storage fall short of the little clean pill bottle with its tight cap. Once you've gotten the amount of cleanser you want, you can apply it with well washed hands. Just go ahead, slather it on and then you have two choices for removing it. You can use a freshly laundered wash cloth dampened with some warm water if you like, OR, you can use facial tissue. AGAIN please remember the yucky stuff. Never use a wash cloth twice on your face. Once you've used it to wash off your cleanser, it goes back into the laundry, or you can keep in around for other cleansing, just not your face. The other option is to use facial grade tissue. Again, be very alert to the fact that facial tissue is also exposed to the fine "yucky mist" so I'd advise keeping the tissue you reserve for your face and neck in a drawer. That should protect it enough to make sure you're not contaminating your face and neck unnecessarily. You know those nasty little zit wanna be's, the ones that hurt but never come to a head? We all get them from time to time AND we can't seem to keep our fingers off them. They are raised, you expect them to become a pimple, but a head never developes and no matter what, it hurts like heck. DO NOT SQUEEZ! I will tell you later what I found most useful for those. The imortant thing to remember, usually they are caused from an ingrown hair, clogged pores, and even those contaminents you just learned about. Following sanitary cleansing practices will help diminish the number of these adult zit breakouts for a lot of us. If you want them to go away faster, a little antibiotic cream or a dab of a neosporin product with a pain reliever built in will help. DO NOT SQUEEZE. DO NOT USE A PIN OR NEEDLE TO PIERCE THE BUMP. EVER!
What do you do if you perfer to tissue off the cleanser, but you realize you're out of facial grade tissue? First, remember to use a freshly laundered facial cloth that by now I am sure you've decided to store away from the air in the bathroom by putting them in a cabinet or drawer. DO NOT, DO NOT, reach for a handful of toilet paper. PROMISE me you won't do that. Where IS your toilet paper? Right next to the toilet DUH. So you can be fairly certain it is already contaminated and always will be. NO TOILET PAPER ON YOUR FACE EVER! If you have to, write that on a sticky note and attach it to your mirror! Another tip for those using facial tissue, please make sure it contains no "soothing" products like facial tissues often do to make your nose feel better when you are constantly wiping it when you have a cold. You want only plain and good facial grade tissue for removing a product like trademarked Albolene.
While we discuss cleansing products, I want to debunk a real money pit. Have you heard of a "Melts" or Melt Down" products? They are hyped like crazy on many shopping channels. These are designed to remove makeup and cleanse your face.They come in lovely scents (not necessary for your face, even sometimes cause irritation). They contain lots of "good" things for your skin (though I can't for the life of me figure out why since they are only on your face for a few seconds) and they are expensive. Here is the debunking of the popular sweet smelling "melt downs". THEY ARE NOTHING EXCEPT VERY OVER PRICED COLD CREAMS. No ifs ands or buts here, they are just super expensive cold creams and cold creams are great for cleansing if you follow the same sanitary protocol I mentioned when I discussed name brand Albolene. Cold creams are NOT facial creams meant to stay on your skin. They are for cleansing only, not to be used as night or day creams. Cold creams can clog pores, so exercise care with them.They should always be used sparingly and if you feel you must use them, please use a clean dampened wash cloth or several facial tissues making sure the cream has been completely removed. An astringent used after wiping off cold cream is a good idea. I will talk more about astringents/toners later.
Though they can remove your makeup, practice good facial and neck cleanising when using either cold cream or an Albolene type product. Do not use them as moisturizers. They aren't meant for that, though if your skin is dry, tissuing off Albolene and some cold creams may help form a moisture barrier better than if you removed it with a damp face cloth. They will both remove dirt, makeup, even eye makeup, but exercise care with cold creams, they can sometimes be irritating to your eyes. Just use your judgement, it's gotten you this far. If you get something especially something scented into your eyes, it will sting like crazy. So be careful and apply only a small amount wiping it off as gently as possible. Avoid stretching or pulling the very delicate tissue on your eyelids and under your eyes.
Toners are good if you have oily skin, but likely unnecessary if you have dry skin. Which toners are best? In my book, only ONE is worth it's salt, costs very little and works very well. WITCH HAZEL! You can find it at your super market or big box store or here. It will be near the rubbing alcohol and the peroxide. Again, PLEASE, don't invest in witch hazel with added perfumes or ingredients that hike the price and do little if anything of value. Apply with cottton balls avoiding your eyes. That too will sting like crazy if you're not careful around the eyes. Keep your cotton balls in zip lock bags in a drawer if they are in your bathroom. NEVER GO BACK TO ANY PRODUCT WITH A COTTON BALL YOU'VE ALREADY USED IF YOU WANT MORE! Use a fresh cotton ball each time you go to that bottle.Witch Hazel is usually the main ingredient in most tonners and it works well for those needing astringents. Store it properly and read the lables. Stay away from perfumed products or those with added ingredients that you just don't need! Witch hazel will help make pores appear smaller over time, and it will also help to remove any makeup, dirt or other residue your cleansing method has left behind. Try it if you're curious, it really feels great on the skin, but KEEP AWAY FROM YOUR EYES! Never use alcohol on your face EVER. So don't get the two mixed up.
Ok, now your face and neck are properly cleaned and if desired, toned. It's time for the anti-aging products. You've saved enough on cleansers and toners already to afford better serums and creams! Cool!
This is the toughest part; choosing which serums and creams to use. My best advice, READ LABLES! A serum goes on clean skin when dry. Treat it with the same anti contimanitaion rules as we have already discussed. Many of the serums on the market today go on smoothly and feel very nice on the neck and face. Serums will remain on your face and many will continue to deliver helpful ingredients long enough to be effective. Do not expect immediate results, stick with it. If over time you're not seeing realistic improvement, try another. But be sure to give them anywhere from 28 to 90 days to truly see a difference. Many will contain ingredients you just don't need, but there are several ingredients that you want, and a few you don't. Remember, serums go on first over clean skin and allow to dry. You can then apply a cream. Rememer, serums are more liquid, though not watery, and often come in a pump system or with a dropper. Always shake them a bit before using. Apply to the face, neck and use any remaining product left, on the back of your hands. Serums cost a bit more than creams on average, and some crafty companies have decided to make ONE product that is supposed to be a serum and a cream combined. Stay away from those in the same way you now know to stay away from kits. Why? These "AMAZING BREAKTHROUGH" combination serums and creams are just plain too expensive and don't work the same way as two separate produts. Actually, sometimes combo products contain ingredients that nullify each other.
Maybe Want List in a Serum:
1. Vitamin C
2. Retinol (Vitamin A)
3. Vitamin K is good too.
4. Hyaluronic Acid
(you may know it as Argireline (c)) a peptide but understand that research regarding effectiveness is still ongoing
5. Vitamin E
Remember, do not use a combo serum/cream product. As I stated they often contain ingredients that may cancel each other out. One ingredient can render another ingredient useless.
Apply serum to freshly cleansed and dryed skin. I guess I better say this, but I think by now it's a no brainer. PLEASE, do not use your existing hand towel to pat dry your cleansed facial skin. Please use a fresh one also stored in a cabinet or drawer and which has been laundered and not used since. You can certainly use it for your hands etc. after patting your face dry, but what touches your face should always be as sanitary as possible.
PROBABLY DON'T WANTS in SERUMS
3. Parabens (will discuss more of this later)
There are other items you may want to avoid. A serum should feel silky when it goes on and dry gently by itself in the air. If you find a serum with a lot of things you can't pronounce or have never heard of, check it out before you buy. There are many good serums here offered by good sellers who will be happy to answer your questions. A word to the wise, any product you purchase here should be listed as NEW and in SEALED packaging. NEVER use a compromised bottle or jar. If there is no safety seal, don't rush to bad feedback, I HATE that practice, just contact your seller, explain that you expected this being a new product, to be sealed and nicely request a refund or exchange, OR, better still, PLEASE ASK before you purchase. Then you will have no surprises when your product arrives. Personally, I am very PRO ask FIRST if there is something omitted from a description rather than complaining AFTER the sale. If something in the description gives you pause, move on. If something isn't listed as new, fresh, sealed or safety sealed, for heaven sake ASK!
After your skin is clean, tonned, and your serum has dried, it's time for a cream. These are as diverse as are individuals. Chose a cream without parabens. Those nasty little parabens are the things that cause your makeup to ball up like crazy. They also clog pores and you just don't want them. Choose your cream to as closely match the ingredients in your serums as possible giving a boost to both. You do not necessarily need two creams, a day and a night, but if you're using Retinol, night use is best as it can cause problems with sun exposure during the day, even indoors.
A FEW MORE DO'S and DON'TS and we're DONE!
Please talk to your doctor/dermatologist if you experience reactions to any products you may be trying. Retinol can be very irritating, so if you experience discomfort, rashes or other side effects, STOP and talk to a professional.
More is not always better. Please use your products as directed. Please remember my sanitary rules. Please consult a professional if you experience problems. Please keep all these products out of your eyes. Remember that creams applied near the eyes, can actually wind up IN the eyes if you perspire or if the cream is too close to the corners of your eyes. Eye creams are recommended because they are specifilly meant for use around the eye. Tap them from outer to inner areas under your eye and at your temples, where crows feet appear and also tap along your brow line. Again, eye creams should contain much smaller amounts of similar products as your other products. Do a little home work yourself where the effective amounts of ingredients are concerned. I can't do that for you. That is up to you, but burning your skin with too high an amount of any product isn't a good idea. Do not use Hyaluronic Acid or Retinol while using tanning beds or during sun exposure. Always apply a day cream with an SPF of 30 or higher. Keep vitamin C creams and all facial and neck products away from your eyes. Only use products designed specifically for eye areas.
So, that about does it. The products I've recommended can be purchased here and they are safe for most people.You now know how to apply and what to look for. You know how to keep them fresh and uncontaminated. All you need now, is to start surfing our great eBay sellers for good prices on products that contain what I've mentioned. They do not have to be the most expensive to be good. Why pay for a big well known name brand when a more generic or less known named product contains the same exact ingredients? Because you have saved so much, put that savings into a better serum or cream with a reasonable price tag.
A few other things that will help us in our quest to never LOOK older than we are, OR at least slow down the process are simple in a lot of cases. The little 11 or 1 between your eyes above your nose is an expression line. It comes from loss of eleaticity of the skin and repeated "frowning" which often comes from simply squinting rather than actual frowning. To help keep this from happening if it hasn't already, or to slow down the deepening of the line or lines, remember two things. Sun glasses and corrective eye glasses. How simple is that! The marionette lines or nasal labial folds are another place we find deeper lines. These are most apt to become deeper as we age physically, because we get fatty deposits in our cheeks that drag down the skin and form "jowels". There isn't much we can do about them except for keeping the area moist and clean. Weight gain or loss will effect this process, so be patient, eat right and avoid sleeping all night on only one side. Try sleeping on one side one night, and switch the next night. If you sleep on your back, you will have less of those particular lines. Your neck will become "crepey" eventually, a good anti aging protocol as outlined above is the best way to naturally avoid making this area worse. No topical regimine will completely reverse this inevitible process, but, in my book, it beats the alternatives of having your face and or neck surgically tightened. Injections are also temporary so weigh the extremely expensive treatments against good skin care. If you smoke, STOP. That will help to keep the little lines around your lips from becoming deeper. Avoiding the use of straws for drinking liquids and the cessation of drawing on cigarettes will make a noticable difference. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water. Yo-Yo dieting will make matters worse, ALWAYS!
Did you know that thirst is most often overlooked as the reason for feeling hungry? Drink some water or other non caffine product when you feel a bit hungry. You may be surprised to find that you weren't hungry at all, just thirsty! Use a sun block during the day, even in the winter. Stay out of tanning beds and booths. One good sunburn and you are well on your way to both skin cancer and excessive and avoidable lines and wrinkles. Get plenty of proteine in your diet. You'll stay satisfied longer and proteine is good for you. When dieting, avoid cutting out an entire food group. Proteine, fat and carbohydrates are all important for adults just as they are for children. As we age, we need more protiene and calcium. Milk in my opinion is not the answer for us though. Milk is afterall, intended for babies be they human or animal. Milk in my opinion is not a great idea for adults, especially older adults. There are many good calcium products on the market including cheese, yogurt and even some chewable or tablet suplements. Make sure your tablets are marked as easily absorbed and contain Vitamin D. If not, you might be surprised to learn that some calcium pills can stay in your stomach for days without disolving and calcium is also ineffective without Vitamin D. Drink plenty of water, back off the caffine, watch processed foods, but don't deprive yourself of an occasional endulgence.
Always think CLEAN! And, if all is said and done and you still have a few laugh lines around your eyes, remember, for each line, a smile occured. It's a record of happiness. Be careful with hair spray, it is designed to dry quickly so your hair will not be wet. Getting this on your face will dry it too. Don't even THINK of sleeping in your makeup or before washing your face and neck. While you are applying products, think of it as a gentle massage each time. It feels great.
Your pillow case should be clean and changed daily if possible. It too becomes contaminated by sloughing skin cells and creams. Keep your hands OFF YOUR FACE! A lot of facial touching goes on every day and you don't even realize it. You tap your cheek when you're thinking, you use your hands to wipe of persperation and sometimes, you rest your chin on your fist or in your hands. Your hands need to be re-trained to stay away from your face.
If you feel you absolutely need to speed up the cell recovery process (which occurs naturally), by exfoliating, be doggone careful! You can actually scratch your skin and leave abrasive products behind without realizing it. Be very careful with peels and exfoliants. Remember, the sloughing of skin cells does indeed happen naturally. That clean pillow case I mentioned earlier, is your newest best friend helping with that too. If you feel you must use a facial hair remover, BE CAREFUL. They can be, and often are, much more irritating than the hype. Anything strong enough to melt hair, well do I really need to say more? Also, if you must, PLEASE do not use any products on a hair removal area until any redness or the package directions say it's safe. Never use hair removal creams for other parts of the body, on your face.
DO NOT use anything that will cause scratching of your facial skin. Our skin is our body's largest organ. It is designed to protect us. It's amazing if you think about it. The most delicate of skin is protected by nature. Don't do anything to compromise natural protection. Once the skin is compromized by breaking, tearing or scratching it, infection is possible. Think of your facial skin as the most precious skin you have. Think of a baby's skin. Would you do anything to that perfect skin to cause it damage? Of course not. Just because we've chalked up more years, doesn't mean we should pay less attention to keeping our skin in tact and free from irritants. If we'd all do that, there would be no need for a guide like this. But since we're only human, want to look our best, we do use products which unfortunately can do more harm than good. The BEST way to start any skin care regimine is to start with a visit to a dermatologist. Sometimes that just isn't possible, we're real here, so considering that seeing a dermatologist isn't likely for many of us, at least follow these simple guidelines to protect yourself. You only get one face. What happens to your facial skin over the years is directly the result of how you care for it. You're never too young or too old to begin protecting your best asset, the part of you that you present to others first. The part that looks back at you from your mirror and photographs. Don't apologize for taking good care of your skin. It's not something to apologize for, it's something to be celebrated! ONE MORE THING. The naked human eye cannot see a wrinkle. Did you know that? It's true.What you see, is actually a shadow cast by the wrinkle. I hope this has helped you, I've enjoyed writing it for you, and I hope you've learned something new.
Hugs and stay young and beautiful through all the stages of living,