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Anti-Aging Skin Care

Why Your Anti-Aging Products Aren’t Working

If you’re not seeing results from your anti-aging skin care products, you may be making one of the common mistakes below. Keep reading to learn what they are and how to achieve the youthful complexion you want.

You’ve invested oodles of cash into your anti-aging skin care regimen, but the results you hoped for have left you wanting more. It’s a familiar and frustrating story, and unless you know the exact reasons why your anti-aging products aren’t working, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to correct the problem. From user error to product formulation and beyond, we asked dermatologists to weigh in on the most common reasons why you’re not seeing the results you want from your anti-aging skin care regimen.

SPF is Missing From Your Regimen

“You can use all the right products and elect to have all the cosmetic procedures in the world, but if you don’t protect your skin from UV damage then it’ll still break down and expedite aging. Not to mention, it’ll also subject you to developing skin cancer,” says Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC.

In other words, even if the anti-aging products you’re using are working, you’re negating their effects by not shielding your skin from sun damage. Also, daily sunscreen application can protect the actual products you’re applying in the morning, rendering them more effective throughout the day.

Dr. Bhanusali says to wear an SPF 30+ all over your face, neck, and chest, and to reapply every two to four hours. If you’re outdoors or at the beach/pool for long periods of time, an SPF 50+ and hourly reapplication is recommended. Missha’s All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk SPF50+/PA+++ ($26) is a lightweight sunscreen that hydrates while it protects, and Acwell UV Cut SPF 50+PA++++ Natural Sun Cushion ($35) makes for super easy reapplication.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why Your Sunscreen Isn’t Working

Lifestyle Factors Are Negatively Interfering

Certain lifestyle factors can expedite the signs of aging, which might counteract the effects of your products. The biggest culprit is extended unprotected exposure to the sun, as mentioned above. Numerous studies have also shown that smoking cigarettes (and even exposure to second-hand smoke) can cause premature aging, as can excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of exercise, subpar sleep, and even stress. Finding balance in your life is key for not just aesthetics, but for your overall physical and mental health.

The Ingredients Aren’t Cutting It

The skin care market can be very overwhelming with promising packaging claims and overhyped ingredients. The bottom line is that there are only a handful of anti-aging ingredients that have been scientifically proven effective.

Dr. Bahnusali says one of the best ingredients to start with is a retinoid (vitamin A). He also recommends bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinoids with studies demonstrating similar anti-aging effects. A great one to try is Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum ($54).

Other effective anti-aging ingredients include vitamin C (which can help brighten and ward off free radicals), ceramides (which can plump and improve skin barrier function), peptides (which can help promote collagen production), and AHAs (which exfoliate, brighten, and regenerate). Other ingredients are wonderful and can supplement an anti-aging regimen, but to slow down and reverse signs of aging you must use the above ingredients in addition to SPF.

“When in doubt, I recommend sitting down with a skin care professional to identify your specific concerns and the results you’re hoping to achieve. From there, you can customize a routine that focuses on reaching your skin goals and boosting your confidence,” says Sarah Akram, a celebrity esthetician based in Washington, D.C.

Your Products Have Expired

It’s important to keep in mind that all skin care products have a shelf life. This is clearly indicated on either the product itself or the exterior packaging, and this helpful guide can help you decipher expiration dates. At best, expired products will either become less effective or won’t work at all, and at worst can cause negative reactions such as infections or breakouts. Toss out anything past its expiration date and any product that’s changed in color, consistency, or scent.

You Haven’t Been Consistent

Consistency is king if you want to reap the results of your anti-aging regimen. Many ingredients — including vitamin C, retinol, ceramides, peptides, and AHAs — require long-term usage before any significant difference is visible.

“All too often, people will get drawn into buying a ton of products they’ll use for a few evenings, and then occasionally after that. Eventually they will move on to more products they don’t use consistently when the first one doesn’t deliver instant or lasting results,” says Akram.

To help create consistency, write down your regimen and follow it daily. Dr. Bahnusali recommends completing it right after you brush your teeth in the morning and evening so that it becomes second nature. You can even put timers or reminders into your phone so it’s on your top priority list each day. It might take as little as a month to see any results, or as long as a year, so be patient.

Bottom Line

As you can see, many factors contribute to how well your anti-aging products work. The absolute best things you can do is wear SPF daily, maintain a balanced lifestyle, use scientifically proven ingredients, and be consistent in your regimen over many months and years. Keep at it and your hard work will pay off.

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