This week-by-week guide from dermatologist Jessie Cheung is the cheat sheet you need to put your best face forward.
1. Week 1Olay.com
Start using an exfoliating cleanser to condition your skin and make it more receptive to active ingredients. As we age, our skin cycle slows down and dead cells accumulate at the surface, making our complexion dull and sallow. Chemical exfoliants such as glycolic or lactic acid offer a non-abrasive refresh. Upgrade your daily moisturizer to one with an SPF of 30 to protect against sun damage. And cut processed carbs out of your diet—sugars are aging. Make sure you are eating enough healthy fats to help with satiety and hydration.
2. Week 2Skinceuticals.com
Add an antioxidant serum with vitamin C to your morning regimen. It brightens skin and helps build collagen while defending against UV rays and other free radicals. At night, add a moisturizer or serum with collagen-building peptides to strenghten your skin. Start munching on more antioxidant-rich foods like colorful fruits and veggies and make sure you’re eating enough protein—this is what your skin and hair are made of, and many women don’t consume enough of it.
SKINCEUTICALS CE FERULIC VITAMIN C SERUM, $165, skinceuticals.com
3. Week 3Sephora.com
Time to throw a nighttime retinoid into the mix—now that your skin is receptive, it will stimulate new collagen synthesis. If you’re prone to dry skin, add a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum on top as retinoids can be irritating. Consider checking your vitamin D level if your hair is thinning or if you are fatigued—as we age, we don’t make vitamin D as well, and most adults don’t drink enough milk to maintain their levels. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, helps with healing wounds and barrier function, and protects against eczema. Pow!
MURAD RETINOL YOUTH RENEWING SERUM, $88, sephora.com
4. Week 4Sephora.com
It’s time to address specific concerns. If you have unwanted brown spots, try a brightening cream with kojic acid, azelaic acid, or niacin. Want to smooth out your texture? Add a product with alpha/beta hydroxy acids or trichloroacetic acid—these can be in the form of an overnight cream or peel pads. If your skin is a little stressed, pamper it with a hydrating mask. You can make your own with ground oatmeal and warm water (mix 1:1 or until you achieve a paste-like consistency), and a tablespoon of honey, which has antibacterial properties, or skin-soothing whole-milk yogurt.
DR. DENNIS GROSS ALPHA BETA GLOW PADS, $35, sephora.com