To my mind, prevention and repair are two different anti-aging skin care strategies. Prevention is typically for those in their 30s and 40s with the emergence of fine lines. Of course, there are some people in their 50s and beyond who do not have many wrinkles and do not need to focus on their repair (I am not one of these fortunate folks). In any case, something like AQ Serum or ReLuma with repairing stem cell cytokines is probably a waste of money. However, a really good regimen that focuses on prevention is going to be one of the best investments you can make.
Antioxidants are the essential component of a prevention regimen. Antioxidants protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Although the body makes some antioxidants, we rely primarily on external sources — namely a diet of fruits, vegetables and grains. Topical antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase, vitamins C and E (tocopheryl), alpha lipoic acid to name but a few join a host of plant extracts with a proven track record of protecting skin cells.
The preventative cleanser
An antioxidant-based beauty regimen can start with a great cleanser: La Vie Celeste Restorative Mother Of Pearl Exfoliating Cleanser ($40 in the shop). Mother of pearl contains a keratin-like protein to hydrate skin cells and promote their metabolism. Antioxidants are in the form of tea, apple, gingko biloba and ginseng extracts.
For a heftier pore closer, there's suki exfoliate foaming cleanser ($32.95 in the shop). Gentle enough even for sensitive skin, it deeply cleanses and exfoliates with alpha hydroxy acids, helping to unclog pores, scrub away dead cells and resurface skin. Antioxidants are in the form of sweet orange peel, chamomile, calendula and lavender extracts.
Preventative toning and moisturizing
Appropriately named Sevani Rose Hyaluronic Age Defying Tonique ($39 in the shop) is a toner that is not just a refreshing treat, as it imparts some useful anti-aging ingredients. There’s antioxidant pomegranate and acai fruit and a magic mushroom called tremella that has water-retention capabilities (as well as being a source of vitamin D) and is supposed to be an antioxidant that enhances the body's own superoxide dismutase.
A lovely new find is Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Time Release Vitamin D Moisture Mist ($39 in the shop). Fabulously moisturizing, it has alpine rose extract which is supposed to increase skin's resistance to environmental stress while shiitake mushroom is a rich source of vitamin D.
The lynchpin of the preventative regimen is a great serum. Ideal for 30 and 40-somethings is Medik8 Pretox Infin8 2nd Generation Triple Peptide Gel ($135 in the shop). This serum has a focused formula of essential peptides: those that inhibit expression lines forming (acetyl octapeptide at a whopping 20%) and Matrixyl 3000 for boosting collagen. Medik8 Pretox Infin8 is a powerful Botox-alternative for light to moderate wrinkles.
A moisturizing serum may be needed for dry skin types (and could even be layered over the Medik8). You could use as an excuse to catch on to some of the buzz for bee venom with Royal Nectar Moisturizing Face Lift ($55 in the shop). In addition to the standout ingredients of bee venom and manuka honey, there's avocado, vitamin E, apricot and rose hip. Plus, there's marshmallow, which has an inhibitory effect on hyaluronidase, the enzyme that degrades hyaluronic acid in our skin tissue.
Preventative eye cream
If fine lines are setting in, it is time to consider an eye cream with peptides. Lumavera Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($80 in the shop) has the power peptide combo, Matrixyl 3000, soluble collagen and a farmer’s market of veggie extracts. For those who like their beauty products natural but potent, Lumavera is a worthy brand to turn to.
Preventative face mask
A once or twice a week face mask that will brighten the complexion as well as deliver antioxidants is a must. Kat Burki Hibiscus Antioxidant Face Mask ($78 in the shop) was the winner of the Truth In Aging Best New Product Launch of 2013. Hibiscus is a natural exfoliant and it joins glycolic and lactic acids to polish the skin. A fabulous cast of ingredients includes cayenne pepper, periwinkle and Oregon grape.
Note: This article was last updated on February 26, 2015.