Achieving and Maintaining Your Skin of Your Dreams

October 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Skin Care

Few can deny that regardless of your start­ing point, well-rounded, high-quality, consistent skin care is the most crucial factor in achieving and maintaining the skin of your dreams. Your genes might have predeter­mined your skin type, but this doesn’t mean you have to live with skin that is less than flawless.

Admittedly, designing and ultimately stick­ing to the ideal skin care regimen is a pretty tall order. We live in a time when newness is valued above all else, relegating today’s hot ingredient into tomorrow’s old news, often long before you’ve had a chance to find out what all the fuss was about in the first place. Skin care has also changed dramatically: classics like cleansers and toners have been joined by a multitude of prod­ucts that claim to exfoliate, purify, detoxify, lighten, and even amplify. Sometimes a single product professes to do all these things on its own! Factor in the countless brands of skin care products crowding department store shelves, each promising to be the latest and greatest innovation, and you can see how picking the right skin care products can become an exercise in utter frustration.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Buying mounds of products that don’t deliver on their promises doesn’t have to be an accepted occurrence. Neither should perpetual confusion over what types of products will produce the best results for your specific skin type. The past twenty years have brought about significant advances in the skin care industry, and here’s a news flash—a lot of them actually come through on their claims. Narrowing it all down is a matter of determining what actually works and what is just selling a pipe dream.

If I were to peek into my patients’ medicine cabinets, I’m sure I’d be greeted with enough skin care products to moistur­ize a small foreign nation. Statistics reveal as much: a stagger­ing $1.2 billion was spent solely on moisturizing products in the year 2000. Yet if the endless stream of questions thrown at me by my patients is any indication, a lot of women are still searching for the perfect product that truly works. While I don’t think there is such a thing as a magic elixir—aging is inevitable, after all—I do believe that preventing flaws is far easier than fixing them. To that end, it’s crucial to select skin care products according to basic criteria, such as seeking out ingredients that are proven to improve the skin, properly assessing the condition of your skin, and, most important, determining which goals are within reason. If you are in your thirties, for instance, maybe it’s time to stop wishing for the skin of a teenager.

As a dermatologist, I have a lot of tools at my disposal to help the skin look its best, but contrary to popular opinion, I’m not a magician. Rather, I like to think of myself as my patients’ partner, educating and guiding them toward an effec­tive routine that will keep the skin as healthy and radiant as possible. We’ve come a long way in developing office tech­niques that can easily and dramatically rejuvenate the skin, but they are only half of the program. What a patient puts on her skin day in and day out is crucial—so much so that I can easily differentiate between my patients who are faithful to their cleansers, moisturizers, and eye creams and the rest who disregard my advice, usually on the assumption that I can eas­ily fix everything. But honestly, what’s the point of those pricey visits to the dermatologist and to your beloved facialist if you aren’t maintaining all their hard work at home? I like to compare it to maintenance of the teeth: you continue to brush and floss long after a visit to the dentist, right? The same com­mitment should be devoted to your complexion.

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