If you’re anything like me, you’ve been taking what you thought was good care of your skin since your 30’s. Once the 20’s chain smoking, tanning, and intense makeup regimen disappeared – in came the organic green juices, face oils, and annual facials. But when is it time for something more? When I hit 44, and realized all my friends in their late 20’s were already on a botox, filler, and laser regimen, I realized it may be time to up the ante. Gastronomically speaking, the oils weren’t cutting the mustard anymore.
So I made an appointment for the most recommended dermatologist in our area, and got an appointment for 6 months later (hint: women LOVE their cosmetic derms and the good ones aren’t easy to book until you’re a high value customer.) In I innocently (but not really) popped for a mole scan, out I walked with a 2k bill, a shot up face, and an arm full of products. Just kidding, sort of. I wanted the real deal scoop on my skin. This doctor didn’t once tell me how pretty I was or how lovely my skin is, that’s my job (yasss Queen!), she told me frankly what my skin could use (I asked for honesty) and off I set on a big girl skin regime.
I love how she gave me a plan, written out. It made me feel organized and on my way to dermatological adulthood. First things first – I needed a good vitamin C in the mornings, retin-A at night, always a high quality sunscreen, and some botox/ filler – if I wanted, plus fraxel laser once winter hits. At 44 in NYC, not having had botox made me some sort of Chupacabra. I wanted to try it out more out of literal curiosity (I’m a try everything once kinda gal!) so I told her to go for it. I only got a little on the lines in my forehead, which honestly hadn’t bugged me at all til I saw them smoothed out (oooh, pretty!) and the needles really didn’t even hurt. It was a nothing procedure, and I see why people do it as regularly as their manicures. I would go for it again, which adds cash to my annual beauty budget.. but bitch, I’m worth it. I did feel empowered after, which sounds like an oxymoron, but there’s something great about taking aging into our own hands and saying “here’s what I will and will not allow – frown lines, dope – chin hair, nope!” That being said, in the 2 months since I’ve gotten the botox, it’s now pretty much disappeared – I’m looking forward to getting it again!
Things that feel okay to me are botox and laser, but filler in the facial area feels a little less exciting to me. I have seen so many puffed up, but sagging faces, and it just never looks right to me. I love a naturally aging face, but the only thing that can pick up the jowl areas are really natural facelifts. That’s another thing, women in their 40’s are now getting deep plane facelifts or mini lifts to avoid the overly filled look and not have to do as much filler and botox. Don’t know how natural facelifts can look these days? Check out Dr. Jacono’s instagram (!) But not everyone wants to go under the knife or has 100k laying around for a facelift. Not to mention many of my friends are ethically opposed to plastic surgery, which I completely understand and respect. The alternative to getting major results without surgery is a fraxel laser treatment, considered the gold standard of all the lasers, which takes off the top layer of skin (fine lines, brown spots, acne scars, tiny moles – all come off) in a low-commitment procedure which usually costs in the 1k range. There is a bit of downtime for this procedure, but many of my friends have had it and say it’s wonderous. I’m planning it for winter, and I’ll let you know how that goes.
Here are the products my derm recommended for me. Obviously these items were specific to my skin, but I’ve asked around (my friends are pretty dermatologically savvy) and many of my friends in my age group seemed to be on nearly the exact same protocol, plus or minus a few items. That being said, you probably should go to dermatologist, if not just for your annual mole-scan, and get your own protocol locked in. It’s an investment in your skin, and more important than any handbag or pair of shoes.
The cleanser she recommended for me was the Alastin brand. It seems many derms prefer this line for it’s excellent results. A gentle, self-foaming cleanser specifically designed to remove impurities without drying or irritating the skin, that can be used following skin treatments. I use this in the morning and evening before continuing on with my regime.
In the morning, I follow that cleanser with a vitamin C serum. The Doctor said any of the brands I said I already had at home worked. Here’s one I really like.
Then she stressed the importance of constant SPF, which is the hallmark of all dermatologists closing remarks. She recommended the Alastin, which I’ve found great. It’s tinted so it takes away the need for me to put on concealer or foundation which is nice. It’s also nice and thin, and doesn’t feel like anything is on my face.
Finally, at night she told me to use the AlphaRet Overnight Cream and to start every 2-3 nights, and then gradually work up to nightly. I do think my skin looks much clearer since starting it, and apparently this cream has won every award for best night cream. This skincare cream features a unique ingredient that is made up of a retinoid combined with an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that provides visible skin rejuvenation with little-to-no irritation. Unfortunately – you DO need a prescription for this cream – so you may have to head to a derm afterall.
I trade out these products on occasion for my pre-derm schedule with my OG favorites like Tata Harper, Dr. Barbara Strum, Macrene Actives, Wildbloom Skincare, Kind-ri Oils, Youth To The People, Esker Beauty, Vintner’s Daughter, Dr. Hauschka, and so many more!
Rael makes excellent patches for post period pimples, yes I still get those in my 40’s.
And although I’m now no longer a major suntanned lady, I still love myself with some bronze. St. Tropez makes – without a doubt – the best self-tanner on the planet. It’s never orange, and smells gorgeous. There’s a reason everyone splurges on this brand.
I love beauty products, and I think it’s fun to switch it up and see what works (and what doesn’t!), but having a Doctor oversee your regimen is a good thumbs up that you’re taking the best possible care of your skin that you can. Are you in your 40’s and have found something that truly works? Leave it in the comments below so I can try it!
This is me post-derm, feeling myself.
Chloé Jo Davis is a Mom of 3 boys, and the founder of GirlieGirlArmy.com. You can find her on social media across all platforms as @girliegirlarmy