I had horrible skin most of my life. For years, I searched for products that could fix it, trying dozens if not hundreds of products before finally putting my Yale Biology degree to use, searching for anti-aging research to find the most technologically-advanced, scientifically proven products. That led me to three skin care brands that I think should be part of everyone's consideration set.
Then in 1997, Consumer Reports landmark survey of anti-aging skincare contained three remarkable findings that confirmed what I'd learned by trial and error:
1. Nothing you apply topically will ever do what a surgeon's knife will do.
2. Everyone's skin is different, with different needs. Products that worked for the largest percentage of panelists didn't work at all for others, and some people responded best to the products rated lowest overall.
3. Price is not indicative of quality.
That last part struck me, because usually you get what you pay for. And then it hit me: if the price of the products doesn't correlate with quality, maybe the price of the research would! Wouldn't it make sense that the companies that spend the most on research have the best products?
Now when I say "best" here, I'm talking best against the signs of aging. When it comes to my face, I'm willing to give a little on my general preference for things organic/natural in exchange for more effective technology. If you agree, then your consideration set should include brands made by Proctor&Gamble, L'Oreal and Avon. Here are the ones that I use:
Cleanser: Anew Reversalist Foaming Cleanser
My combination skin likes this moderately aggressive cleanser. The foaming action leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped. I use it with my Clarisonic Mia cleansing brush. It gently cleans better and increases the absorption of the products that follow.
Toner: SK-II Facial Essence
SK-II was developed in Japan by scientists who noticed that the old women working in the saki factories had very youthful hands, which were bathed daily in Saki. The brand is now owned by Proctor&Gamble, who also make the highly-rated Olay. I haven't found an Olay product I liked in years, though I used their foaming cleanser for a long time) SK-II's technology is fermentation-based, and while the brand is somewhat pricey, but not as expensive as La Mer (the other well-known fermentation technology brand) and with the Facial Essence , you're buying just the concentrated technology. Water-like, it's quickly absorbed, and leaves no residue. I use it after cleansing my face day and night.
Daytime Moisturizer with SPF: In the winter, I use Anew Reversalist Day Cream, but when it starts getting warmer, I need something with a less moisturization, and I switch to L'Oreal Youth Code Daily Lotion. DNA-based technology is the latest advance in anti-aging -- and this provides it in a light weight, non-greasy lotion.
Night Time Treatment: Anew Platinum Serum
So this is marketed to women in their 60s, who typically suffer from decreased levels of paxillin in their skin. (Paxillin is a structural element -- if you think of your skin cells like tents, paxillin is like the poles, keeping them from collapsing.) I think maybe one of the daily meds I'm on was causing those deep "parentheses" lines perpendicular to my mouth. Anew Platinum seems to make them disappear.
Night Moisturizer: Anew Genics
This is also a DNA-based product, in a heavier moisturizing base. Our skin rests and repairs like the rest of our body while we sleep, and the extra moisturization facilitates that. (And i don't care if I'm greasy while I sleep.)
Eye Cream: Anew Ultimate Eye Contouring System
This is a Sirtuin-based technology. Sirtuins are a class of seven different "youth proteins" that extend the healthy life of individual cells. (google it). It's two parts -- a cream for the upper and lower lid, and a "concentrated elixer" that goes only on the lower lid, only at night. It really helps reduce my under-eye baggage.
2-3 Times/Week: Anew Clinical Retexturizing Peel
A self-neutralizing Glycolic Acid lotion I sweep over my face a few nights a week, after washing and before putting anything else on. Glycolic Acid (one of the alpha hydroxy acids) is one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients. Dead skin cells build up on the outermost layer of our dermis, congregating around the ridges of wrinkles and making them appear more prominent. AHAs dissolve the bonds between those dead skin cells, helping them slough off to reveal healthier younger looking skin.