Back in the day, my skin was super sensitive, had a tendency to rosacea and was on the oily side. Now at the age of 53, my skin is super sensitive, has a tendency to rosacea and is on the oily side. And I have wrinkles and sagging to contend with. My point being that we all have a basic skin type that never really goes away and so our anti-aging products need to take them into account. So for all those readers who have written in saying “Hey Marta, the next time you recommend an anti-sagging serum can you bear in mind adult acne/very dry skin/large pores/whatever…" these anti-aging recommendations are for you.
Acne and breakouts
A secret weapon for both acne and wrinkles is vitamin B, especially B5, which is an anti-acne treatment that also hydrates, encourages blood flow to skin tissues, and keeps the skin pH balanced. Two good serums that are strong on vitamin B and don’t skimp on the hydration (with sodium hyaluronate) are Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Skin Rehydration Solution ($80) and Your Best Face Hydrate B Concentrate ($40 in the shop).
Snail slime is said to be the secret sauce in Michael Todd True Organics Knu Anti Aging Face Lift ($69). Before you dismiss this as silly, or gross, or both, know that snail slime heals acne scars and rebuilds collagen as well as binding with copper peptides (also in this cream). Acne sufferers will also appreciate that sugarcane exfoliates with AHAs. A slew of anti-aging actives include collagen-building palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 (the combo known as Matrixyl 3000) and epidermal growth factor.
Red, flaky skin
Skin that sees red needs to calm down and chill out. That’s easier said than done when everything that goes near it makes things worse. Try M.A.D Skincare Redness Rescue ($36). A clear, thin, odorless gel that can be applied on clean skin any time of day, it has peptides and some very useful botanicals, including anti-microbial Epilobium Angustifolium. Mistletoe is a powerful antioxidant, as are hops and fennel.
For an anti-aging serum that somehow seems to have a bonus effect on red, rough skin try LiftLab Lift & Fix ($95). LiftLab’s anti-agers come from the sea and are able to withstand extreme cold by preventing cell death. There’s licorice root to combat redness, antioxidant eggplant and anti-inflammatory turmeric.
On the positive side, oily skin types can often take anti-aging ingredients that dryer and sensitive skin types can’t touch, such as retinol and vitamin C. Prana Reverse A ($48 in the shop) has, in addition to retinyl palmitate, alpha lipoic acid, which produces energy in cells; and l-Carnosine, which flushes toxins from the body. In addition, botanical sage, horsetail and chamomile have calming effects and may help with broken capillaries. For a good dose of vitamin C, try Medik8 CE-Tetra ($140 in the shop) with 7% vitamin C in the form of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate.
I recommend Your Best Face Balance ($45 in the shop) to those who have the irksome combination skin that is both oily and sensitive. Balance contains tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA), an ingredient that regulates sebum. It has B vitamins in the form of niacin and B5 as well as anti-aging carnosine.
Dry skin types benefit from heading straight for a night cream and using it during the day. I particularly like the Skin Nutrition Night Cream ($75), which gets results on tough wrinkles (as you'll see from these before/after pictures), and the skin-plumping and softening Biao Beauty Rejuvenating Night Creme. La Vie Celeste Extra Rich Crème ($75 in the shop) is nourishing, anti-sagging and pragmatically formulated for day or night use. And there’s always SenZen’s heavy-duty Infinity Never Ending Moisturizer ($95).
If your skin seems permanently dull as dishwater, then there are serums that do double duty. Sevani Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Crème ($68 in the shop) is a serum that exfoliates as well as brightens the skin. In addition to the sugars and fruit acids responsible for the gentle exfoliating action (and the citrusy smell), there are brighteners in the form of willow bark and licorice. Antioxidants are plant derivatives of bilberry, cactus pear, green and red tea.
A heavy hitter with a light touch is how I think of La Vie Céleste Éclairage Restorative Serum ($98.50 in the shop). Dominating the ingredients are skin brighteners with, most notably, alpha arbutin, a tyrosinase blocker, and bearberry leaf extract, which is a source of arbutin and has properties that can protect the skin from sunlight, and B-White, a combination of amino acids derived from a growth factor (TGF-b). There are tons of other ingredients chosen with meticulous care, including LVC’s signature anti-sagging ingredient ChroNoline.
As a long-time sufferer of rosacea (now mostly under control), I can happily share some of my latest rosacea solutions.
Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Molecular Repair ($125) is primarily an anti-aging seven-day treatment. Then Osmotics told me that it really helps rosacea (and Osmotics claims that its other Blue Copper products do too, although I haven’t personally tried them). So, following this recommendation, I used it with red LED light (see below) and found that it did take down redness. Just used to target rosacea ekes a much longer life out of these ampoules making them more economical.
Red LED light is a huge help for rosacea. Red light helps against inflammation. And if you want the nerd’s explanation, it’s all about something called TNF-a. TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor) stimulates many of the cytokines and enzymes involved in the inflammatory process and in the tissue destruction caused by rosacea. Therefore, decreasing TNF-a levels should theoretically help. Options include Truth in Aging's Ultra Renew Plus ($159) and Baby Quasar Plus ($399).
One serum that I have found particularly soothing for rosacea is E’shee Serum Cellular Repair ($179 in the shop). I think this is due to a combination of horse chestnut, which is supposed to strengthen veins and capillaries by blocking an enzyme called hyaluronidase, and the FGF1 growth factor.