As I turned 50, I saw the beginnings of some cheerfully sweet smile lines near my eyes and sometimes started waking up with a dry, tight feeling face. It was time for some guidance to help improve the look and feel of my changing skin. My skincare routine needed some updating.
I sat down with Dr. Tina West, board-certified Dermatologist, whom I’ve known for twenty years, to talk about how to keep skin soft, clear, and glowing! Here’s our first conversation about skincare maintenance.
What is your background (Were you a psych major? Did you love art history?), and how did you become so passionate about skin, making dermatology your life’s work?
Growing up, I loved science and art. Dermatology encompasses both of my passions! I completed my internal medicine residency, but dermatology had everything: diagnosis, surgery, and pathology all in one. In its infancy, when I trained, cosmetic dermatology was the icing on my cake because it incorporated the thrilling artistic aspect of medicine. I was on the front end, pioneering the practice of many of the now-ubiquitous lasers, neuromodulators, and dermal fillers.
What is the number one aging issue your patients want your help addressing? Does this fit with what YOU think is the most crucial skin issue for women over 50?
Every patient has her own concerns, and there is no, one, single issue. I give my patients a mirror and ask them to tell me what bothers them. One person may notice fine forehead lines or brow furrows that don’t go away, while another woman may be bothered by brown spots and not be concerned about her deep frown lines. It’s just personal.
One thing is universal; every patient has a beautiful feature that stands out and can be highlighted. Most importantly, people look like themselves but they do not look tired, angry, or sad when they feel great! My goal is to help people face the world every day, feeling confident, and with a subtle and natural effect.
I’m one of those women who likes my laugh lines (“French woman chic”), but I don’t want wrinkles everywhere. Can we still prevent wrinkles after 50?
Yes! You can use topical products (even some over the counter!) combined with various in-office treatments to reverse sun damage and soften wrinkles. Sunscreen prevents this damage, and you can use it at any age. After 50, there are undoubtedly beneficial treatment options for lines, textural and pigmentary changes. When it comes to products that improve your skin’s health, I want to give you three categories to remember: sunscreen, antioxidants, and retinoids.
I wish I were a wizard and could stop time, but I can’t, so my skin keeps on changing. It used to be oily, then I got acne, and now, it’s dry. What are the necessary daily steps to help my skin age gracefully considering age spots and freckles and texture?
Sun Protection: Every day! Effective sunscreen has mineral ingredients – zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Don’t look too long at SPF because it only addresses half of the sun’s potential damage to your skin. Mineral ingredients block the UVA rays that can penetrate window glass and the UVB rays, the ones that cause sunburn. If you’re not using a zinc/titanium based product (minimum 6%), you’re not getting adequate sun protection. Apply layers of it!
Antioxidants: Used in the morning, antioxidants help protect against free radical damage that your skin is exposed to in the environment, in addition to reversing the damage from rays that got through your old sunscreen.
Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, use retinoids at night to reverse sun damage and other factors that cause skin aging.
What should my over 50 daily skincare routine look like?
You need a morning and evening skincare routine.
Morning: Focus on skin protection and include a gentle cleanser or micellar water, like Ceravie Hydrating Facewash, followed by an antioxidant serum. You might possibly want to include a lightening agent, depending on your skin’s condition. SkinBetter Science Even Serum, or Restore 10x work well. Last, use a clear or tinted zinc oxide/titanium dioxide sunscreen like Perfect Shade by West Labs, or Intellishade by Revision. Moisturizers and foundations claiming SPF aren’t enough.
Evening: Focus on reversal and regeneration of your skin. After cleansing, apply a moisturizer (need product here) and a retinoid, like SkinBetter Science Alpha Ret Overnight Cream, or Flawless Face Stronger with retinoid and growth factors. Follow these with an exfoliant and/or lightening agent like Phytoceuticals Olive Serum, or SkinBetter Science Alto Defense Serum.
What are the best Over The Counter Products you like?
Best OTC Skincare Product with Antioxidants: Skinceuticals Vitamin C, E + Ferrulic
Best OTC Sunscreen: Elta products are zinc-based and available in several different formulations, including for acne-prone skin.
Best OTC Moisturizer: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, and retinol to reduce fine lines and plump skin. My personal favorite is Neutrogena Hydroboost, which contains hyaluronic acid, and is great for all skin types other than severely dry skin, including acne-prone skin.
Best OTC Product for Pigmentation: Aveeno Positively Radiant contains soy as the active ingredient, which helps reverse sunspots.
What can’t you leave the house having not used?
I use mineral sunscreen every single morning … and for even more benefit, underneath my sunscreen, I love a topical vitamin C serum.
Okay, What is your superpower, and how do you use it?
I can make women (and men) feel more confident! I have always had a “great eye” and can see what they need clinically and aesthetically to help them achieve a healthy, fresh-looking version of themselves, improving their overall quality of life.
Get Ready for More Beauty Interview on Botox and Filler:
Now that a solid program is in place for daily skin care, I will share with you what Dr. West suggests for longer lasting aesthetic options and what they can do for that rested look. I’m talking Botox and fillers! Get the list you need to look your best!