Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey answers your anti aging skin care advice questions. Hi Dr. Bailey, I am 50 years old and currently using your Anti-Oxidant Kit along with tretinoin 0.5% at night. I really like it very much. I recently introduced the Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Professional Treatment Serum. I am finding this to be somewhat drying and I'm wondering if this is a normal reaction to this product? Also, I've started out by using it every other day. Will I still reap the benefits by using it this way or is every day the way to go?
Another question I have is about the Facial Exfoliation Sponge. Can this be used every day? I am using the Bamboo Scrub twice a week which is quite the work horse! I have somewhat sensitive skin so I have to be careful not to overdo.
I love your site and your blog! The information has been incredibly helpful.
This is a great practical question. You’re using the best and most powerful anti aging skin care products made. The dryness you describe sounds like what I see when these products push up against the limits of what a person's skin can currently handle. By taking little breaks in how often these products are applied, the skin can gently adjust. When the skin is ready, it will probably be able to handle more regular use.
Occasional dryness and irritation happen to almost everyone using strong anti aging products. That’s because both vitamin C and glycolic acid have an acid pH which means they’re sort of like lemon juice. Add to this the fact that tretinoin (Retin A and Renova) and glycolic acid both powerfully exfoliate dead skin cells to uncover the underlying soft new cells and you can see why an acid pH can occasionally cause chapping and dryness.
Here’s the advice that I give my dermatology patients who are experiencing dryness or irritation from their professional anti aging skin care products:
If the dryness occurred after adding a new product, or increasing the strength of a product, then stop just that one product until the skin goes back to normal. This may be a few days or as long as a week or two. When the skin is ready, resume using the product just once or twice a week. Slowly increase to everyday use as the skin adjusts. If the skin again becomes dry and chapped then take another break until the skin settles down, then restart. The trick is to find that application frequency and product strength for your particular skin.
When a person’s skin is really chapped, sunburned or broken out with a rash for any reason, they need to entirely stop most of their anti aging products until the skin has entirely returned to normal. In this case, I recommend washing with a gentle cleanser, applying a really good moisturizer and hypoallergenic zinc oxide sunscreen.
Dermatologist's tips to help you sooth chapped facial skin and have success with powerful anti aging skin care products.
like Calming Zinc Bar Soap or Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser. I then have them apply Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy right after toweling skin dry. This helps to sooth any irritation and the skin just loves this product. We top that with a gentle deeply hydrating moisturizer like Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal or Dry to Normal Skin. During the day a hypoallergenic facial zinc oxide sunscreen is applied on top of this routine.
When their skin is totally back to normal, they can very slowly resume their other anti aging products-as tolerated.
It’s important not to apply vitamin C, tretinoin or glycolic acid to irritated skin because it makes the irritation worse!
Will you benefit from vitamin C if you don’t use it every day for anti-aging skin care?
This is a question many people ask me and the answer will surprise you. Interestingly, vitamin C anti aging products such as my Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Professional Treatment Serum don’t need to be used every day. This is because tests have shown that 50% of the high skin concentrations obtained from applying professional vitamin C products are still present in the skin after 4 days. I tell my patients to apply my Vitamin C Professional Treatment Serum at least three times a week, and especially when they’ll be in the sun; vitamin C is a great second defense against free radical sun damage- and we want that.
Your last question is about the additive benefits (or problems) from multiple exfoliation products is also great.
Can you use more than one exfoliation product at the same time?
Yes, you can and yes you can overdo it. You have to figure where that perfect amount of exfoliation is for your skin. Exfoliated skin is soft and luminous, but it’s more sensitive and requires special care. For most people I find that using my Bamboo and Clay Thermal Exfoliation Scrub (which I love) twice a week OR gently washing with an Exfoliating Facial Sponge every day is usually just about right.
I hope this information is helpful. Thanks for sending me a great question that brings to light something many people experience with professional anti aging skin care products.
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist
Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.