The skin is our body’s largest organ and, obviously, the most exposed. When you think about it, the skin is remarkably resilient. Here at Truth In Aging, we devote resources to minimizing the wear and tear caused by aging, but even the best regimen can come unstuck by vexing skin conditions. You know, those annoying lumps, bumps and strange itchy things that beset us all. Since I seem to have done something in a former life to deserve more than my fair share, I consider myself something of an expert and have decided to share my solutions for annoying skin conditions. Read on to learn how I have successfully treated issues like eczema, milia and large pores.
My mother suffered terribly from eczema, but fortunately I inherited relatively mild tendencies. Typical symptoms are dry, sensitive patches of skin that can be very itchy. I find that Exederm Flare Control, which can be found in any drug store for about six bucks, is very helpful. The active ingredient is hydrocortisone acetate USP at one percent. For anyone leary (with good reason) of cortisones, which are steroids, note that Exederm’s formulation is very gentle and non-addictive.
Although I didn’t set out to make an eczema solution when I created Truth Vitality Treatment Gel ($49 in the shop), it turns out to be very effective and can be used as a face mask or treatment for the body. One Truth In Aging community reported that it cured patches of eczema on her shoulders not long after use. The skin-soothing ingredients are milk thistle extract and oxygen-boosting perfluorodecalin.
Also known as milk spots or oil seeds, milia are tiny, white bumps that tend to congregate under the eyes, on the eyelids, around the nose, or around the lips. Although they may look a bit like whiteheads, they are actually keratin-filled cysts that are formed when skin cells become trapped under the epidermis. Milia around the mouth can be caused by toothpaste allergies. Around the eyes, the culprit can be an eye cream that is too rich and applied with too heavy a hand.
Always apply eye cream with a light touch and consider switching to a gel formula, such as Skin 2 Skin Revitalizing Eye Gel ($49 in the shop) or SkinOwl Eye+ ($46 in the shop). Gentle exfoliation is extremely important and the milia-prone should consider a retinol-based eye cream. Properly formulated, this can be gentle, effective and, of course, anti-aging. I like Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic & Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum ($68 in the shop). Whatever you do, don't pick or scrub at them.
This is the posh name for lumpy, rough spots on the arms (sometimes chest, legs and shoulders) that can become red and irritated. They are one of those things that are often dismissed as hereditary, a term that implies that there is nothing to be done. Well, there is plenty to be done for keratosis pilaris, although it requires — as with most beauty regimens — a consistent approach. And one that may seem counter intuitive.
These bumpy rough spots are clogged pores where skin cells have become hardened inside the pore and inflammation occurs. Dry skin can make triangular, pyramid-shaped bumps, or “accuminate papules.” The keratin on top is shaped like a sharp spike, which is why the skin feels rough. People assume that keratosis pilaris is some form of acne and don’t moisturize enough, keeping the skin dry and making things worse.
The best solution is to both moisturize and exfoliate, and I have just the multitasker to do just that: ASDM Beverly Hills Glycolic Acid Complex Lotion ($35) is an exfoliating body lotion that is formulated with 15 percent glycolic acid, five percent lactic acid and vitamin E.
According to research conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of L'Oréal, nearly one in three women find pore size to be a cause of concern. Pores can become clogged with oil, dirt and dead skin cells, making them appear enlarged and leading to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. While you cannot physically shrink the size of your pores, you can lessen the appearance of them by cleansing, toning and exfoliating.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and say to myself, where did my pores go? I credit that to Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels ($88 in the shop). I use the “original” strength, but they also come in ultra-gentle and extra strength. A long-time community favorite when it comes to exfoliating is Your Best Face Prep ($80 in the shop), a mask and scrub that is packed with antioxidants.
Moisturizer is also very important, as the right type will hydrate the skin without building up excess oil. Sevani Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Creme ($68 in the shop) is a multitasking moisturizer, skin brightener and pore-closer, containing natural fruit acids, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory botanicals.
Broken blood vessels
Prolonged exposure to the sun is the primary source of broken blood vessels on the face. Load up on sunscreen (we like Prana Reishi Mushroom Shield for skin that is prone to redness; $42 in the shop), then seek treatment from products with ingredients like caffeine, niacinamide, grape seed oil and perfluorodecalin. Try Medik8 Redness Corrector Advanced Neutralising Cream ($105 in the shop).
Redness and rosacea
Although rosacea is a specific condition to which I am prone, many of us are often the victims of flare ups of redness without full-blown rosacea. I have come to ignore lifestyle advice to avoid strenuous exercise or spicy food and focus instead on scrupulous skin care. I really like Medik8 Red Alert ($60 in the shop), which is based on one cutting edge ingredient that works on the telomeres. Another very useful product is Difinsa53 Skin Protectant Lotion ($62.50 in the shop). This unusual and effective cream was designed by a team of doctors to soothe and repair troubled skin. It uses the active compound in milk thistle, silybum.