The newest skin-care secrets of 2017 are blazing trails, blowing minds — and changing the face of skin care. Here are the eight most important takeaways from the coolest breakthroughs happening right now.
It may not be the sexiest of anti-aging ingredients, but dermatologists are realizing that cholesterol — a component of the material holding our skin cells together — is one of the most important ingredients to look for in a moisturizer (especially by age 40, when levels can plummet as much as 40 percent). It’s most effective when combined with fatty acids and ceramides, which also help hold skin cells firmly in place so your skin looks smoother and more radiant. Find the trio in __Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum. But no one is suggesting you need to start eating butter by the stick: There’s no evidence that ingesting more cholesterol will do anything for the skin, says Jordana Herschthal, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, Florida.
We’re not throwing shade at walking or lifting weights — they beat sitting on the couch — but if you want smoother, fresher-looking skin, you need to get your heart rate up. In one study, people ages 20 to 86 who exercised at a high intensity (running, cycling, whatever you’re into) for four or more hours a week for at least ten years had thinner stratum corneum layers and more energetic mitochondrial cells than participants who didn’t regularly work out. In plain English: Their skin appeared and acted younger. And it’s never too late to reverse course. Even previously sedentary 65- to 86-year-olds who began moderate aerobic exercise for 45 minutes twice a week had a change in their skin — signs of aging began to reverse on a molecular level after just three months.
“We used to think UV rays were the main culprit for melasma, but data is also indicating that visible light and heat may cause dark patches, too,” says Doris Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York
City. This means that Bikram — or standing over a hot stove — can create inflammation and exacerbate hyperpigmentation. “The risk for melasma is increased for anyone with a job where they’re exposed to constant heat, like bakers,” says Herschthal. In addition to using sunscreen, she recommends incorporating a product that regulates skin temperature into your routine to minimize the damage; she likes Colorescience Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50, which has a marine extract called venuceane. “It’s one of the few ingredients that keeps skin cool for an extended period of time,” says Herschthal. (Studies suggest that applying it twice daily regulates skin temperature.) We also like running the metal ReFa S Carat roller over skin for a temporary cooling effect.
There’s no rule that says you have to use one product on your entire face. In fact, the new thinking is that you shouldn’t. “I have patients who use retinoids only on their cheeks and forehead and prescription Soolantra on their chin, where they’re prone to rosacea,” says Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist in New York City. Another combo she recommends: “Thick creams around the delicate eye area and on the lips, and salicylic acid or glycolic acid products on the T-zone to minimize breakouts” (try Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant). Use anti- redness products only across the bridge of the nose, on the cheeks, and on the chin to soothe areas prone to flushing. (Engelman likes the Eau Thermale Avène Antirougeurs and Aveeno Ultra-Calming lines.)
When the bones in your face shrink with age — yes, it happens — it contributes to sagging and “a generally flat appearance,” says Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. Dermatologists have long turned to hyaluronic acid fillers to make the face look fuller, but inject too much of them in the wrong places and suddenly it’s hello, weird blowfish face. Now dermatologists are learning that injecting hyaluronic acid deeper — onto the top layer of bone, instead of in wrinkles — seems to reverse some of the bone shrinkage. “For chins, if you inject on the top layer of bone, you’re stimulating stem cells and actually getting chin augmentation over time,” says Shamban, adding that the technique appears to work for the cheekbones and jawbone, as well.
It’s an even better anti-ager than we thought. A study published in Dermatologic Surgery (and sponsored by the Johnson &
Johnson Skin Research Center) found that when people applied a moisturizer with SPF 30 daily for a year without any other anti-aging products (in other words: zero, nada, nothing else), they ended up with clinically measured improvement in mottled skin tone (by 52 percent), texture (by 40 percent), and clarity (by 41 percent). And the self-reported results were even stronger, which means those numbers translated to younger- looking skin. It’s some of the best evidence yet that sunscreen doesn’t just prevent aging; it may actually reverse it.
A version of this article on the newest skin-care secrets of 2017 originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Allure. To get your copy, head to newsstands or subscribe now.
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