The I-Just-Turned-30 Skincare Overhaul

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I read an article in the Times awhile back that stuck with me. It was about how identical twins tend to not look so identical as they grow older due to differences in how they age. Apparently, how well or poorly your skin ages is not wholly determined by your genes, but rather one's lifestyle as a whole. Twin research shows that the key to having good, healthy skin throughout our whole lives is to:

  • Not smoke
  • Avoid the sun, and always use sun protection
  • Avoid stress
  • Actively work to preserve your skin by practicing good skincare
I turned 30 (dirty thirty!) at the end of last year and growing up, I always thought I'd feel ancient by this age. I'm pleasantly surprised that's not the case at all. However, I did get to thinking that I should probably start investing some time and dollars into taking care of ze one and only face that my momma gave me.

So I scoured the internet to figure out what is worth investing in. Here's what I found.

  • Collagen production slows down as we age. 
    • Retinol (Vitamin A) is the most potent solution to boosting collagen in the skin. There are prescription grade retinols in the market as well as over-the-counter formulations out there. 
    • Vitamin C also enables collagen production. Look for potent formulations like ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate. Better yet, if stabilized with ferulic acid and vitamin E.
  • Moisture in the skin reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
    • Hyaluronic acid is a skin-identical ingredient that boosts skin's moisture content
    • Vitamin E oil (and oils in general) are excellent for locking in moisture and preventing moisture loss.
  • Exfoliants reveal deeper layers of newer, younger skin.
    • Glycolic Acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It's one of the most stable AHA's and is useful to reduce photo damage and exfoliate the skin.
    • Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is also an exfoliant and skin-clearing agent.
  • Last but certainly not least, protecting yourself from the sun is non-negotiable.
    • Zinc oxide and Titanium Dioxide are the optimal ingredients in your sunblock because it does not degrade in the sun and is the most effective protection against UVA rays. Look for "non-nano" sunblocks. 
So, I did a little skincare haul...

NuFace Lifter Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid Serum Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution
L to R: NuFace Lifter Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution

I knew I wanted to incorporate Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, and Retinol into my regimen. The Dr. Dennis Gross solution is my retinol. It set me back $125 for 2 oz. The NuFace serum is my vitamin C and hyaluronic acid product. It cost $84 for 1 oz. (I recently saw this on for 20% off! Sale ends 1/17/2015)

I selected the Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid & Retinol Brightening Solution for the strength of its ingredients list: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Ferulic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Rhizome/Root, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Arbutin, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Retinol, Hexylreorcinol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Quercetin Caprylate, Disodium Lauriminodipropiante Tocopheryl Phosphates, Ubiquinone, Phospholipids, PVM/MA Decadience Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Urea, Potassium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol

I've called out in bold the ingredients I was most excited about. There is retinol, hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate, along with two chemical exfoliants: an BHA (salicylic acid) and a AHA (glycolic acid, mandelic acid). There is also ferulic acid which will work to stabilize any vitamin C containing solutions I am using. Also exciting is that the formula includes some other powerful antioxidants in the form of arbutin, ubiquinone, various plant extracts, and tocopheryl phosphates. I feel like I am getting my money's worth with this formula.

Same for the nuFace Lifter Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Water, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitol, PEG-8/ SMDI Copolymer, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Dimethicone, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Glycolic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Pyridoxine Dipalmitate, Disodium EDTA, Ergothioneine, Allantoin.

This formula boasts a stable form of vitamin C: ascorbic acid at 14% concentration along with 5% sodium hyaluronate. There are a few other ingredients to be excited about but those two ingredients were enough to sway me.


In terms of regimen, I squeezed them into my nighttime routine which typically goes:
1) Sulwhasoo cleansing oil - good for removing makeup and not stripping skin of moisture.
2) Optional pomegranate wash off mask or single-serving sheet mask with actives
3) NuFace Lifter Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid Serum - apply on bare skin for optimal pH for effectiveness
4) Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution - after giving skin 15 minutes rest to absorb the Vitamin C
5) Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer - just a normal moisturizer. 
6) Jason Vitamin E Oil - oils lock in all of the moisture once all of your moisturizers have been applied.

UPDATE: My current skincare routine has changed as of 6/29/2015. I will always keep my routine updated and current on this page in case you are interested.

nuface vitamin c hyaluronic acid dr dennis gross ferulic acid retinol brightening solution
nuFace vitamin C on the left, dr. dennis gross retinol on the right

First Impressions
Both are clear, runny liquids and I love how refreshing they feel on my skin. So far my skin loves it. I have dry skin, but it has been feeling softer and smoother. I also usually have redness in the cheek area and as you can see, the serums have been doing a good job of calming it down. In terms of fine lines and wrinkles, I have not noticed much improvement so far (around nasolabial folds and eyes).

Skincare Selfie
Eek - never thought I'd post a bareface selfie on the internet!! I just wanted to track any changes in the skin.
After twice daily use, the nuFace Vitamin C serum (1 oz.) lasted 4 months. The Dr. Dennis Gross retinol (2 oz.) is expected lasted me 7 months with liberal daily use.

Check them out for yourself!

Nuface Lifter Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid Serum $84.00 at Sephora

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid and Retinol Brightening Solution $88.00 at Sephora

I hope this was helpful! I'd love to know - Are you into anti-aging products?
What has or has not worked for you? 


If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, see my disclaimer and policies. 

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