It’s never too late to achieve beautiful skin!

At birth, we start out with beautiful skin. No wrinkles, no spots, no large pores – and what happens? Excess sun, smoking and poor diet begin to take a toll on the quality of our skin.

For example, look at the inside of your upper arm, which receives little sun, and compare it to your outer arm or forearm. The difference is all about sun exposure without protection.

More sun abuse results in more wrinkles, spots, discoloration, etc.  But, with the sunblocks and skin care regimens available today, it’s possible to maintain healthy, young-looking skin forever.

Younger generations, if their parents encouraged application of sunblocks, already have a good head start, but continued use of these products is not the only answer. A good skin care regimen will help prevent further damage.

Regarding smoking, identical twins have been photographed in their 50-60’s, and the twin that smokes looked 10 years or older than her non-smoking twin.

Even if one cannot afford surgical or non-surgical options, such as lasers, peels or surgery such as eyelid, face and neck lifts, a good cosmeceutical home skin care system can do wonders and even tighten the skin.

With the myriad of skin systems touting claims of “anti-aging,” how does one know which products really do work and which are a waste of money?

First, the system should be “cosmeceutical.” What does this mean?  Cosmeceutical grade systems should have a combination of ingredients that can be as effective as prescription strength and have demonstrated that they do live up to their claims. 

For effectiveness, products should: be anti-inflammatory; repair and regenerate the cells producing your skin; repair DNA; reduce the glycation debris that attaches to your collagen and elastin fibers, which make your skin lose elasticity. Product should also have whole food nutrients that your skin needs to become younger in appearance.

The systems need a good “delivery system,” allowing the ingredients to penetrate the skin to repair skin-producing cells instead of just affecting the top layer of the skin. Since the skin continues to slough throughout one’s life, it makes sense that simply treating the top layers with peels and lasers is a “band-aid” therapy. Only by repairing fibroblast cells can we produce long-lasting, healthy skin. Various peels and lasers certainly jump-start skin rejuvenation, but they do not repair environmentally damaged skin-producing cells.

Additionally, I recommend micro-needling with growth factors, hydrating serums, and other products to maintain healthy skin. We continue to grow older, so a program should be established for those who want to look their best.

How does one choose an effective plan for more youthful skin?   Generally, those products sold at physician’s offices are “cosmeceuticals.” An appointment with a qualified aesthetician or physician would be a good first step.

E. Ronald Finger, MD, plastic surgeon and medical director for New Youth Skin Care and Laser Center, formulated the anti-aging skin care line New Youth Cosmeceuticals. or