Are all the anti-aging products working? We inundate ourselves with all things anti-aging, and retinol seems to be the magic answer for everything. We all want to look forever young, but are we actually making a difference? Could these products be having the opposite effect? If sun protection isn’t a top priority, you may have your work cut out for you.
Without sun protection, an anti-aging regimen can be counterproductive. Retinoids, salicylic, and glycolic acids can cause sun sensitivity, leaving your skin vulnerable to damage. As we know, sun damage causes a whole host of problems, including wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
Retinol is the gold standard, the magical cure known for its collagen-boosting benefits and wrinkle prevention. Because of how efficiently it removes the dead layer of skin cells, it leaves the fresh new cells susceptible to the negative effects of the sun’s rays. Your natural barrier is stripped and a fresh layer is exposed without protection.
Hydroxy acids perform the same function as retinoids. The unfortunate element of these ingredients is that they allow UV light to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, causing lasting damage. The more potent the product, be it AHA or retinol, the more sensitive your skin is to the sun’s intensity.
Is overly diligent anti-aging care doing more harm than good? Not likely, as long as you’re using adequate sun protection. The key is using these two components in conjunction with each other, otherwise you could be neutralizing the anti-aging effects of the retinoid or hydroxy acid. Use broad spectrum sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher for best results.
A few tips to maximize your results are to avoid midday sun, wear a hat, and give your retinoid products a rest if you know you’re going on vacation or will be in the sun a lot. And never ever scrap the sunscreen!