Why in this order?
Based on state-of-the-art medical knowledge, I have identified six phases of skin care that you will need to complete every night to successfully address the eight visual signs of aging skin.
The cleansing phase is an important first step and I do not recommend using soap. The pH of soap can dry your skin. I also do not recommend water-free, leave-on cleansers, which can clog your pores. A good cleanser has a pH close to that of the skin and will not dry out your skin. After cleansing, I recommend using toner to remove the dirt the cleanser missed.
CLEANSER: The best ingredients to seek out in this product are alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, which are excellent cleaning agents, and other beneficial additions, such as vitamins C and E. However, the key isn't just the ingredients—you rinse them off very quickly—but finding a good cleanser that doesn't leave your skin feeling tight and dry. You should judge your cleanser based on the condition of your skin after you've washed, rinsed, and dried. Your face should feel fresh, clean, and comfortable, not dry or pulled.
TONER: The same criteria apply. An effective toner will have a gentle astringency, yet it should leave your face feeling soft and refreshed. If your skin doesn't feel pulled and dry after you've applied it, it's the right product for you.
The exfoliating phase is critical if you want flawless skin. Exfoliation stimulates cellular turnover and may improve skin thickness. It also removes dead cells on top of your skin, allowing skin care products to transport key ingredients to their destination. The exfoliating phase also provides one final opportunity to open up clogged pores before you move on to the other phases of your skin care routine.
Try our glycolic acid peel pads, the Advanced Firming Facial Pads, with a 10 % strength solution. Clinical studies have shown significant collagen-stimulating and skin-thickness-building action at the right glycolic concentration at the right pH levels. Our Advanced Firming Facial Pads are made to these exact specifications. These pads also exfoliate your skin to perfection which is critical if you want flawless skin.
Microdermabrasion Cream: You need this product for additional exfoliation once a week, or twice, if your skin has the tolerance for it. A good microdermabrasion cream should have a rich texture and contain abrasive particles—aluminum oxide or pumice is ideal—but the particles should be very small. Avoid products that contain large grains of any rough or sharp particles. The purpose of this step is to micropolish your face, not scratch it. And the cream should feel good. When you rinse it off, your face should not feel tight or dry, but rather smooth, soft, and soothed.
SKIN-STIMULATING SERUM: The skin-stimulating phase encourages the skin's own collagen-building machinery and repair mechanism to soften the look of lines and wrinkles. This is ideally done with a thin water-consistency serum, rich in ingredients that easily permeate the skin. This step does not feel particularly moisturizing and it may leave your skin feeling dry and tingly.
SKIN-BUILDING SERUM: The skin-building phase helps restore skin barrier functions via delivering essential nutrients to the skin. This is ideally done with lipid-based serums and contains high concentrations of lipid (fat) soluble vitamins, ceramides, antioxidants, retinol and essential fatty acids.
With this regimen you are layering your face with all the rich ingredients that are so effective in fighting the signs of aging. You are rebuilding the all important skin lipid barrier to protect your skin from drying out and generating wrinkles.
The skin-building phase helps prevent water loss via sealing the top layer of the skin with emollient lipids (step 4) while the skin-sealing phase (step 5) moisturizes and prevents water loss by sealing the skin. This is done with a cream with the right balance of lipids and humectants to help maintain and balance the moisture level in the skin to protect the skin from dryness.
This final application of cream is to seal the skin and rebuild the lipid barrier. First and foremost, a cream should feel good. It should not leave your skin feeling dry and your skin should not remain shiny for hours after you've applied it. Look for the right level of lipids in the cream that is satisfying to your skin. Ceramides, EFAs, retinol, vitamins C and E, and hyaluronic acid are all excellent ingredients for this last step in your skin care program.
The skin-protection phase consists of using SPF 30 sun protection daily in the morning and throughout the day, rain or shine, every day of the year. Sun exposure is the most common cause of aging and with use of a good protective product, aging from sun damage can be reduced.