False Hope In A Jar? Dr. Baxt sorts out anti-aging claims for today’s skin care.
23 May 2015
Published April 13, 2015. By Happi magazine
By Rebecca Baxt, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.D., Baxt Cosmedical
There are no firming or tightening products whose results can duplicate what you derive from in office procedures such as dermal fillers, botox, lasers, or cosmetic surgery. There are anti-aging products or ingredients that do perform significantly better than others and can make a profound difference in the skin’s appearance while others are simply “false hope in a jar.”Why don’t most products work the way they claim?
Sunscreen SPF 30 or above is the best antiaging cream you can use. It prevents skin cancer as well as UVA rays that cause loss of collagen and wrinkles in the skin. Reapply every two hours, use a powder sun block and carry in your pocketbook for quick and easy sunscreen touchups. My favorite powder sunblock is Colorescience, and my favorite base sunscreens have titanium or zinc oxide in them as active ingredients.Retinoids work great to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and help boost collagen production. Over the counter retinols are good, Neutrogena makes a good one, or prescriptions such as Retin-A.
Glycolic acid also reduces fine lines and wrinkles and helps fade pigmentary damage from the sun. I often have patients alternate nights with retinoid and glycolic.
Vitamin C is a great antioxidant which reduces free radical damage and is great for anti-aging and helps brighten the skin. I often recommend it in the morning, underneath sunblock, or at night if patients are too sensitive to tolerate retinoids and glycolic acid.
Ceramides are a type of lipid found in the membrane of cells. They help hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and retains moisture. Ceramide levels decrease as we age which leads to loss of hydration, less skin turnover and dryer, more damaged skin. Replenishing the skin’s ceramide levels will help restore moisture and fortify the skin’s natural barrier, helping skin look and feel younger. So use a ceramide containing moisturizer for your whole body daily.
Hydroquinone works to even out sun spots, blotches, and mottled skin. A little hydroquinone goes a long way. It’s the most effective ingredient for bleaching skin. Hydroquinone fades hyperpigmentation by blocking the enzyme that triggers melanin production in the skin.
Green Tea Extract is loaded with nutrients called polyphenols, which have been shown to fight free radicals. Studies have found that ingredients in green tea can reduce sun damage and may protect against skin cancer when applied topically. Using green tea extract under sunscreen can provide an extra dose of protection. Polyphenols in creams and lotions may help slow signs of aging, reduce sagging skin and decrease wrinkles.
The majority of anti-aging creams are still based on moisturizers such as mineral oil. Wrinkles look worse when they are dry, so any kind of moisturizer helps, but its only temporary and doesn’t address the root cause of the wrinkles such as collagen loss, free radical damage, sun damage and environmental factors. Don’t be fooled by the antiaging labels. Unless there is an actual “active ingredient” such as retinol, the benefit is just moisture but nothing else.
B Vitamins Many forms of vitamin B (like B12) can only be absorbed in the small intestine, so no matter how much is loaded into your moisturizer or serum, it’s not going to make a difference. Vitamins like niacin can have an effect on the skin’s texture and color, but your skin can’t absorb them. If you really want to tap into the power of vitamin B to improve your skin’s glow and appearance, stick to eating leafy greens like spinach, asparagus, beans, and peas.
Caffeine. Much like a Starbucks Latte for your brain, caffeine in skin creams can give a boost to your skin, too. Until it wears off. Caffeine can temporarily reduce puffiness, especially around your eyes. But don’t expect permanent results.
Botanical extracts are ingredients extracted from plants (flowers, roots, stems, trees, etc.) for use in skin care for everything from healing blemishes to reducing fine wrinkles. They have been used for centuries and have anecdotal purposes in many cultures.
Rebecca Baxt, MD, MBA, FAAD is a board certified dermatologist specializing in both cosmetic and general dermatology for adults and children. Attending Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Baxt graduated Summa Cum Laude Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English Literature. She continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania for medical school and completed an internship in Internal Medicine. She also obtained an MBA from the Wharton School of Management in Health Care administration.
Upon graduation, she moved to New York to train in Dermatology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, where she was a chief resident and the recipient of the Morris Leider award for excellence in patient care. She continues to teach Dermatology at NYU where she is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology. She joined her parents at Baxt Cosmedical in 2000 in Paramus, New Jersey and most recently opened an office on Madison Avenue in New York in 2012. She is a nationally recognized certified Allergan Botox, Juvederm and Voluma trainer, and was part of the Voluma launch faculty in 2013. Dr. Baxt is on staff at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ, as well as Bellevue Hospital in NY. She also volunteers at Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative in Hackensack in the Dermatology clinic.
Dr. Rebecca Baxt has been voted a Top Doctor for Dermatology in Bergen County, New Jersey for 2012, 2013, 2014 by her peers. She lectures throughout the country on treatment of acne and acne scars and has been on faculty for the ASDS and ASLMS meetings. Dr. Rebecca Baxt maintains many society affiliations. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, New Jersey State Medical Society, Bergen County Medical Society, and the Dermatological Society of Greater New York, as well as the American Medical Association. She is a member of the Skin Cancer Foundation, and always volunteers free skin cancer screenings yearly.