In the first four parts we laid down the rules of effective skincare. To be an effective coach, less is best. A mild cleanser or two, a moisturizing choice that avoids addiction. Observation is key. We then explored the world of very active ingredients, like Vitamins A, C, B3 and the amazing 302 molecule.
If your skin says “I love this” AND there is a visible improvement immediately, then reduce the frequency of application. Go to no more than 1x per week. Think of an exfoliating acid. It will immediately improve the surface look of stable skin, and your skin will feel softer and more supple. If you keep applying the acid, day after day, you will have very unstable skin. You may find that 1x per week is too much. In fact, 1x per month is the limit for an exfoliating acid.
The vitamins and 302 are more forgiving. As a rule, 1x per week is a good call.
You need to keep in mind that the skin takes 30 days to reveal the new you. During that 30 days if you keep applying The Wonderful Amazing Acid Product (or any other) you could suddenly find yourself inflamed when all was going so well.
This 30 day lag to reveal the true new you is what creates a lot of confusion, and why as your own skincare coach you need to be very observant to small changes as you plan a regimen that will become easy peasy.
The skin reacts to anything applied and as we age, especially after age 30, that reaction usually goes in either of two baskets: inflammatory or minimal.
This second basket of “minimal” has given rise to a skincare industry that slathers on every conceivable substance in hopes of eliciting a reversal of the look of aging.
Alas, that practice ends up usually with us in the “inflammatory” basket. Despite the many hundreds of ingredients available only three or four have any direct “anti-aging” effect – defined as a visible, sustainable, cellular reversal of chronologic aging.
Almost anything applied will produce more cells in the skin. The quality of those cells is generally poor, however, often with fragmented proteins and uneven architecture. Exfoliating acids produce very poor quality cells and skin architecture and of course, this means more exfoliating to eliminate the look of poor skin!
Layering on skincare products at best simply wears the skin down, giving it a drab, poorly textured look. A lot of skin energy is wasted on processing unhelpful ingredients, resulting in chronic breakouts and random blotches in addition to drab looking skin.
The barrage of skincare claims has now reached peak madness and seems to have generated a school that says Do It All and All At Once and Cover It With Makeup – Lots!
It is not uncommon for a dozen skincare products to be in play on the bathroom counter. This may satisfy social anxiety, but over even a short time such saturation bombing does only bad things to the skin.
The genetic predisposition to an aged look is a key factor but not as key as skincare critics claim. There are now ingredients and ways to overcome the cards you were dealt. The notion that a moisturizer, a sun block and a cleanser is all you need or will do anything worthwhile is silly. You only ‘need’ one of these (the cleanser) and it should be chosen carefully to avoid problems.
“Actives” describes a group of key ingredients or products designed to elicit a specific response and are capable of significant, positive biologic activity in the skin. These truly have ‘anti-aging’ capabilities. Understand that applying these does not change your biology in any permanent sense. Aging is not a disease to be cured of, despite a trend toward wholly experimental endocrine interventions in hopes of becoming immortal. There is no topical product that will reverse your skin to embryonic form and not also have a very good chance of killing you.
Actives key on specific skin receptors OR as in the case of the 302 MOLECULE, key on cellular organizing factors.
There are three primary, standalone ingredients, “Actives” that should be chosen to evaluate first. Ideally they are in solution with very few other ‘vehicle’ ingredients. These are Vitamin A, 302, and Vitamin C. Vitamin B3 is another but needs a separate discussion. All of these products are available from 302 Skincare to evaluate. The “Drops” versions are preferred by the Skin Dork.
All of these will provide a noticeable response, more or less. You will determine which.
- Choose the most potent version if choices are available.
- Use nothing else during the evaluation of one week, other than a mild cleanser.
- Use a number key from 1 to 5 with 5 being “Wow!” and 1 as “Meh.”
- Wait two weeks before applying the next test product.
Vitamin A is in many forms. The ideal skincare form is RETINOL. It comes in various concentrations and the highest is found in A 1.0 DROPS or A 1.0 SERUM. It should be applied only once or twice a week. More frequent application will lead to flaking and other very unwanted results. Avoid the sun for 24 hours after application.
Vitamin C is in many forms also. It is a very unstable molecule and is best applied in ester form. Skin cells in the dermis have specific receptors for vitamin C that is sourced through the bloodstream. It can also be applied topically and should be done only once or twice per week. More frequent application will shut down the receptors. See 302 Skincare’s C 12.5 DROPS | C12.5 SERUM or C 25 DROPS | C 25 SERUM. Avoid the sun for 24 hours after application.
The 302 molecule ingredient is in only one form, a very light lipid or oil. It is unique in skincare (see 302 DROPS or 302 SERUM). It is derived from the avocatin-A molecule that comes from specific tropical avocado varietals. Avocatin-A is not desirable at all as a skincare ingredient and also is a very unstable molecule. But the 302 naturally derived molecule has great benefits in targeting the organizing activity of skin cells. It should be applied once or twice per week.
After this month of evaluating, you will take your highest score and use that LESS. Like once per week. Another important factor is to reduce all skincare product applications during the rest of the week. If you, for example, routinely apply a moisturizer, set it aside and use much less often. See the TRAINING MODEL for an explanation of this approach.
Finally, these three actives should never be applied during the same week. In other words, don’t apply Vitamin A on Monday, Vitamin C on Tuesday and 302 on Wednesday. This practice will, collectively, wear out your skin. As Saleiri said of Mozart: too many notes.
At this point you have become a coach who recognizes there are only a few, but very powerful, tools at your disposal and while the desirable visible change seems like watching a glacier move at first, a good game plan WILL day by day bring about a profound reversal to the look to your aging skin. The cost will be low, the results elegant, and you will be working in synch with nature, not fighting a battle with stability.